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Many of London’s Christmas traditions date back to the Victorian era, so why not step back in time and explore Christmas as it was for Charles Dickens – the writer of the much-loved classic A Christmas Carol.
See A Christmas Carol on the stage
Many theatres and venues stage their own production of A Christmas Carol every year. There’s a star-studded narration at the Southbank Centre, a ‘chilling and contemporary’ take by the Old Red Lion Theatre, a family-friendly show at the Museum of London, and many more.
If you fancy something a little more dark, try Sikes & Nancy at Trafalgar Studios – retelling the story of two of the most famous characters in Dickens’s Oliver Twist.
Walk in the author’s footsteps on the Charles Dickens London Walk
Every Friday (except 26 Dec), London Walks leads a tour into the underbelly of the City of London – the tiny alleys, nooks and crannies where Dickens himself lived and worked. The walk begins at Temple Tube station at 2.15pm.
Enjoy a Dickens of a Christmas at the Dickens Museum
Given the strong connection between Christmas in London and Charles Dickens’s work, it’s no surprise the Dickens Museum has one or two things planned for the festive season. Under the A Dickens of A Christmas umbrella, you can be entertained at A Very Dickensian Christmas Eve, explore Dickens’ former home by candlelight, learn about the darker side of Dickens’ festive works on Bah Humbug Tuesdays, and much more.
Have a festive drink at The George Inn
The George Inn is not only the last galleried coaching inn in London, but also where Dickens himself used to go for a drink – he even wrote it into Little Dorrit. The pub, which can be traced back to 1542, today belongs to the National Trust. Drop in for a pint and take a pew in the Middle Bar, which was once the Coffee Room where Dickens would sit.
Feast on London’s Christmas specialties
It is said that on Christmas Eve, Dickens would visit the Christmas markets in London’s East End between Aldgate and Bow. Take a leaf from his book and explore the sights, sounds and tastes to be found under the elegant Victorian roof of Leadenhall Market – the setting of the fictional bar Blue Boar Inn in The Pickwick Papers. It may be more upmarket than what Dickens would have encountered in his day – but luckily there’ll definitely be something better than gruel on the menu!