Visiting London? Dickens fan? Have an hour and forty-five minutes and £10? Then spend it wisely by taking this tour in the heart of London’s Borough district. This is a walking tour of some of the places important to Dicken’s life and stories.
The tour is given by author, broadcaster and Blue Badge Tourist Guide, Richard Jones. Richard is wonderfully friendly, patient and extremely knowledgeable in all things Dickensian. Not only is he well versed in Dicken’s life and works, he is also familiar with London and can give you advice on what to see and what to do while you visit. As someone who owns a copy of Richard’s Walking Dickensian London, I was really looking forward to taking the tour.
The tour starts off at Borough tube station beside the Church of St. George the Martyr, also known affectionately as “the Little Dorrit Church”. The Church stands beside the remaining wall of the infamous Marshalsea Prison, where Dicken’s father was incarcerated for debt. Scenes from Little Dorrit revolve around this church and Richard pointed out that the it houses a small depiction of Little Dorrit in the East window of the church..
The walk then moves on to the Marshalsea and we were regaled with stories about the prison, Dickens horrible experience working at the blacking house, his father’s imprisonment and Dicken’s life just across the street from the Marshalsea. Richard gave some great insight into Dicken’s personality, not just as a celebrated author, and some of the personal issues he struggled with due to his own perceived abandonment as a child.
The tour then moved along to the famous George Inn, a pub that has been around since the late sixteenth century and was mentioned by Dickens in The Pickwick Papers. We wound our way through a garden Dickens helped support, to Borough market and then along the Thames while gathering bits of interesting information about Dickens and London’s history.
This particular tour doesn’t enter any buildings so it is dog friendly for those of you wondering if you can bring along your furry four-legged friends. There are several London tours showing different areas so it is best to check before embarking but for the Borough based tour, there was a man with a dog and it wasn’t an issue. It’s not a tiring walking tour, it’s set at a leisurely pace with plenty of stopping for rest breaks while you listen to the story of each location. You won’t see a million different places in an hour and forty-five minutes but when you combine the stories, Richard’s vast knowledge and the sites the tour brings a part of Dickensian London to life. It was fun, informative and enjoyable, suitable for any age and a great way to see some of Borough and Southwark.
Tours depart promptly at 11:30am from Borough tube station. For more information on upcoming dates, please visit: www.london-walking-tours.co.uk