Celebrating Charles Dickens in London and Kent

Happy Birthday, Charlie! Yes, Charles Dickens will turn 200 on February 7 (though we say he doesn't look a day over 180), and there will be celebrations for literature lovers around the world. But for those who truly want to honor the beloved writer, there's nowhere like England.

According to the VisitBritain Super Blog, destinations in London and Kent are must-sees for Dickens fans. In the former, visitors can stop by the Old Curiosity Shop and the Charles Dickens Coffee Shop, which is on the ground floor of a building in Covent Garden where he lived and worked for many years. The only surviving London residence of this great Victorian novelist is at 48 Doughty Street in Bloomsbury which is now the Charles Dickens Museum. The museum holds the world’s most important Dickens collection with over 100,000 artifacts including manuscripts and personal items.

Other attractions in the big city include an exhibit at the British Library and a film series at the BFI. The Museum of London has a special exhibit about Dickens and London that closes in June.

In Kent, where Dickens grew up, visitors can see other attractions and locations that feature in Dickens' stories. For example, Rochester Guildhall was used in Great Expectations as the establishment where Pip is bound as an apprentice. (There is a free museum and a number of rooms are dedicated to Dickens for visitors.) Restoration House, also in Rochester, was Dickens’ inspiration for Satis House, the dilapidated home of Miss Haversham in Great Expectations. The house and gardens are open in the summer months.

For more information on where to celebrate Dickens' birthday, visit www.dickens2012.org, and read more about events and attractions in London and Kent here.

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