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Unique literary venues of London

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 14:30
From Paddington Bear to Sherlock Holmes, bleak Dickensian stories to dystopian fiction, London has been home to some of the world's most well-known and well-loved literary characters and has acted as the backdrop to a huge number of novels. While Shakespeare may be the country’s most famous writer, the capital has also produced a host of brilliant novelists that have shaped the way the City is viewed by the public both past and present. Here’s just a few of our member venues that are known for their ties to literature and learning, all of which would make a spectacular setting for any event.
 
British Library

A literary lovers paradise, the British Library is the second largest in the world according to items catalogued and houses some of the world’s most significant treasures including the Magna Carter, Shakespeare’s first folio, Lewis Carroll’s manuscripts of Alice’s Adventures Underground and handwritten music by famous composers.
 
Just a stone’s throw from Kings Cross, the British Library is a smorgasbord of literary works and thought-provoking exhibitions to inspire . Think of a book and it’s there; the library is a great place to spend an afternoon getting lost in the musings and works of some of the world’s greatest authors, musicians and historical figures. The rare collections, the serene reading rooms, sprawling piazza and interesting exhibitions are a must for anyone who loves literature, libraries and learning.
 
Reading Room at Wellcome Collection

Reading Room at Wellcome Collection is an innovative library and gallery space that’s designed to encourage conversation and indulge the imagination. With 1000 books and 100 objects from contemporary art sculptures to medical artefacts, the room is an open invitation to dig a little deeper into what it means to be human.
 
Whether you want to settle down with a book on a comfy sofa, contemplate life whilst looking at art or strike up conversation with a stranger, you’ll find plenty to inspire you in this quirky room. Events such as poetry readings and discussion are all advertised in-house on the day so be sure to check if there’s something going on when you visit.
 
Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey

Founded by Edward the Confessor in 1065, Westminster Abbey holds monuments and tombs of everyone from Queen Elizabeth I to Charles Darwin. Though the church and the cloisters are worth exploring, writers will gravitate to Poets' Corner where a high number of poets, playwrights and writers are buried.
 
The tradition of interring or commemorating people at Poet’s Corner is in recognition of their contribution to British culture. Here you’ll find the grave of Geoffrey Chaucer as well as memorials to many of the country's most celebrated writers, including Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and John Milton.
 
Whether you’re trying to battle with writers block or inspire yourself, Poet’s Corner is a fantastic hotspot that pays homage to many of the greatest literary figures of England.
 
Shakespeare’s Globe

Crafted with as much historical detail as possible, the venue provides an authentic Shakespearean experience with plays presented as close to real settings and conditions as those found in the Elizabethan era. As well as showing Shakespeare’s classics throughout the season (spring to early autumn) the theatre also hosts  a diverse programme of talks, lectures and readings  but if you’d like to get a feel for the Globe without having to see a play, there is the option of a  guided tour. You’ll hear 16th Century stories about the original venue and discover how it was reconstructed in the 90s. A visit to the Globe is an inciteful look into the time and life of one of the greatest writers in the English language.
 
The Old Hall at The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn

Lincoln’s Inn Fields was close to Dickens’ home and as such features prominently in his literature. The Old Hall appears in the opening scene of Bleak House so it’s only right that we include it in our list.
 
“London. Michaelmas Term lately over and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall….Fog everywhere.”
 
Although the hall is mainly used for private hire and events now, the hall is steeped in tradition and grandeur and is definitely somewhere to visit if you are a literature lover.
 
For more information on all of the fantastic Unique Venues of London member venues, click here.