Holborn : Dickens' Victorian London

Visit four historic taverns in Old Holborn

Who was Charles Dickens ? Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era. Dickens was 19th century London personified. His name conjures up visions of quaint coaching inns and cozy firesides, but also of orphaned and starving children, misers and murderers. London is the centre of Dickens' world and the romance-land of Dickens' imagination lies at the door of every Londoner. And you can enter this world by the simple means of a pedestrian excursion.


About this Trail. From Traddles' chambers in Gray's Inn, to Fagin's den of thieves on Saffron Hill, this Tavern Trail takes you into the heart of Dickens' country. Not only did Dickens write extensively about this historic area of London, he lived and worked here as well. This trail takes in four historic pubs in the heart of Dickens' Victorian London. Each of these pubs has a fascinating history and all are English Heritage listed properties and included in CAMRA's National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors. Two of the pubs we visit, one a former gin palace, are unmistakably Victorian; one of the pubs evokes the nostalgia of drinking in a great medieval banqueting hall; and one pub tucked in an alleyway between streets and seemingly between centuries is a quaint, low-ceiling 18th century tavern you might imagine London is full of. These taverns are steeped in history and, somehow, it feels like history hasn't finished passing them by.


Only a few London structures pre-date the Great Fire of 1666 and much of modern day London arose from the ashes of the 1940 Blitz. But on this Trail you will discover one of the few remaining buildings in London from the reign of Edward I, one of the best preserved half-timbered Tudor buildings still surviving in London, one of the lost rivers of old London, plus one of the greatest engineering feats of the Victorian era.


This Trail lasts around two & a half hours and covers a walking distance of just over one mile (approximately 2 km). The Trail finishes close to St.Paul's Underground Station (Central Line).

Where to meet ? Meet just outside the entrance to Holborn Underground Station (Central & Piccadilly lines), on the pavement on the left-hand-side as you exit the station. Note : this tour does not run on Saturdays or Sundays.

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