Literary London, London
The George Inn is mentioned by Dickens in Little Dorrit.
This inn is located on the south bank, where at one time there were many coaching inns that lined the road out of London heading south. They were located here because coaches were not allowed into The City, so here is where travelers often stopped for food, drink, accommodation and entertainment. The George Inn is the last of these galleried inns still standing. In front of the inn is a good sized courtyard where performances took place; they say Shakespeare likely performed here too.
The building is now a National Trust property, but it is still run as a pub. You can get your pint and a meal here and enjoy either the inner rooms or the courtyard.
If you are even remotely interested in history, art or literature, then the British Library should be on your list of places to visit. The National Treasures rooms have priceless books and documents on display, including ancient bibles from places like Egypt, Greece and Armenia; old editions of classic English authors, sheet music and related items (The Beatles original drafts and scores are fascinating) and other documents. The digital interactive document exhibits are a great way to see inside of dozens of texts.
Once an extension of the British Museum, the British Library now merits its own center.
In the first Harry Potter movie "HP and the Philosopher´s stone", Hagrid takes Harry to London in order to buy some magical equipment in Diagon Alley, the wizard shopping street. Hagrid and Harry are shown walking through Leadenhall Market, a covered market gallery before entering the "Leaky Cauldron" The location that represented the entrance to the "Cauldron" is also situated there (see next tip).
In the first Harry Potter movie "Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s stone" Harry does first-time magic in the Reptile House of the London Zoo, when he frees a Burmese Python and traps his Dursley cousin within the abandoned cage. A plaque at the filming location reminds of the film, it is right after the main entrance. The inhabitant of the cage is no longer a Burmese Python but a highly poisonous Black Mamba.
oh it all happens right here at the The British Library, what could you possibly not find here hehehe!! The website that I listed below will open the door for you to see and know things that you never believed possible! It only costs a couple of pounds to have an extensive tour of the place but boy is it ever worth it, it's so magnificent, however very charming at times possibly a bit too much .. The structure itself makes you think hmmmm is this even a library??!! oooh yes siri bob, you betta it is!!! One thing that may be bit devastating is that they close a bit early on the weekends to better be quick and get on top of that cause you don't want to miss out on your booking times!!!
The entrance to the "Leaky Cauldron" (in the movie "Harry Potter and the Philosopher`s stone") is in Leadenhall Market, Bulls Head passage. At the time when the movie was filmed, the store was abandoned. Now it is used as an optician shop ("The Glass House").
This is where some of the exterior scenes of the second Harry Potter-movie ("Chamber of Secrets") where filmed - to be exact, the scene where Ron and Harry fly with the magical Ford Anglia to Hogwarts after they missed the Hogwarts Express. The exterior of the station is a fine example of Victorian architecture, yet inside some renovation is needed.
Australia House - the Australian Embassy in London - was the place where the scenes from Gringotts Bank ("HP and the Philosopher`s stone") where filmed. The interior must be remarkable but unfortunately there are no guided tours to the best of my knowledge. So you need a bit of imagination to believe this building actually is Gringotts.
Many homes of famous authors have become museums, but this is not so frequent with literary characters. One of the few is Sherlock Holmes's home.
221b Baker Street is certainly one of the most famous addresses in the world, so it does not seem strange to me that a house in that street, which was registered as a lodging house from 1860 to 1934, consistently with the times of Holmes's adventures, has been turned into a museum of that famous character.
Apart from the interest for Arthur Conan Doyle's sleuth, the place is extremely interesting because it is full of objects that really belong to the late 19th century, from Holmes's chemical tools to the toiletries in his bedroom. For those who are interested in the lifestyles of the past, like me, this small museum is fascinating.
It is open every day from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm. Entrance tickets are sold in the shop of Holmes memorabilia located on the ground floor.
Harry Potter fans will know that students at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry catch the Hogwarts express from platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station. And how to get to such an odd station? Well, push your trolley through the barrier of course!
This museum contains a lot of interesting books and manuscripts from ancient times onwards and from some really famous people. Notable displays (for me anyways): various copies of the bible spanning centuries, Darwin's writings, and rough drafts of Beatles songs.
Hours M, W, Th, F 9:30 am-6 pm; T 9:30 am-8 pm; Sa 9:30 am-5 pm; Su 11 am-5 pm
Kenneth Grahame is well known in the UK (at least) for his children's book "Wind in the Willows" which is about animals living along a river bank - a mole, a water rat and a toad all feature predominantly if memory serves me well. Well actually the toad was a bit of a rich playboy and lived in Toad Hall, but you get the idea.
As I don't know how well known this book is outside the UK, it's hard to say how useful this tip will be to 'foreigners', but if you do know the book, then you can find this house at 16 Phillimore Place, which is a road that runs parallel to Kensington High Street (you'll need to go down Argyle Street to find it). Best tube is probably Kensington High Street.
It's near to Bill Wyman's Sticky Fingers restaurant, so you may wish to go past that whilst you're in the area.
"HG Wells woz ere", well I can imagine that he would have probably written it a little more eloquently than that! I doubt that HG Wells needs any introduction, having written books such as the Time Machine and War of the Worlds.
You probably won't want to go out of your way to see this sign, but if you come out of Bakers Street station and turn right (instead of the usual left to Madame Tussauds), then take the very first road on the right (which is Baker Street - better known for the fictional character Sherlock Holmes) and look up almost as soon as you turn, you will see this sign. You'll probably walk past it if you are heading to Regents Park, or to the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
You must stroll down Charing Cross Road if you love books... there are bookshops that serve all possible tastes... and when inside leave your bag at the counter and descend beneath the streets of London for some basement browsing... I'll add further tips on my favourite....
Quinto (pictured) is good if you're after second hand or antiquarian books - pick a bargain or a a rare edition... they change their stock every few weeks... always worth a repeat visit.
This is a must for all those Harry Potter fans.
King's Cross, Platform 9 does exist - but J.K Rowling forgot that it is in fact located inside a rather dull train shed on the side of the main station used for commuter trains to Peterborough / Cambridge.
There is however a plaque that has been put up and you can also look at platform 4 where the film sequence was actually shot.
If you combine it with a visit to St. Pancras next door (a Gilbert Scott Masterpiece) then there is plenty of Architecture to keep adults interested as well.
You might also want to check out other film locations in London used for Harry Potter like LedenhallMarket , Australia House and London Zoo.