Step Into The Novels Of Austen And Woolf On A Literary London Tour

Kyra Hanson
By Kyra Hanson Last edited 27 months ago
Step Into The Novels Of Austen And Woolf On A Literary London Tour
"The neighbourhood of Brunswick Square is so very different from almost all the rest," says Emma in the eponymous Jane Austen novel. And that's BEFORE this place popped up. Photo by Doilum in the Londonist Flickr pool

"Our part of London is so very superior to most others! The neighbourhood of Brunswick Square is so very different from almost all the rest."

Find out why this part of London captivated Jane Austen's character Emma as she leads you on a perambulation around Bloomsbury in full costume recounting her tales of misguided matchmaking among the circles of high society. The tour is one of the new additions to this year's Literary Footprints Festival which marks the 200 year anniversary since Emma graced our bookshelves.

Austen isn't the only literary heroine with her own tour. On 14 October Virginia Woolf fans get to play at being Mrs Dalloway by following the route she takes to buys flowers for her evening soirée.

But there's more to London's literary history than the Bloomsbury set. The festival is made up of 40 walks featuring celebrated poets, authors, and playwrights who penned their way around the city. Their words and lives will be brought to life by guides who know their Dunn from their Donne.

Poetry lovers are invited to walk The Wasteland as it appears in TS Eliot's masterpiece of the 20th century. Or indulge in the lurid details of the life of poet John Donne whose church credentials conflicted with his weakness for women.

If art is more your thing, stop off at The National Portrait Gallery to match the author's faces to their famous novels. Another new tour on 22 October explores the statues of Greek mythology which guard the city's buildings.

There's a healthy dose of Chaucer, Dickens, Shakespeare and Conan Doyle alongside general walks which focus on areas of London where creativity particularly flourished: Tours around Covent Garden, Soho, Mayfair, St Pancras and Chelsea all contain a congregation of literary greats.

This year's festival sees the return of tours exploring the dark side of the city just in time for Halloween. Learn about The Plague through Defoe, Explore Dickens at night, try to escape George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 or pick your way through the places which authors have destroyed with their words.

Once you've walked your way around the pages of London's literary heritage you'll be in a better position to judge whether Emma's Brunswick Square really does have the upper hand as she claims.

Literary Footprints Festival runs from 8-25 October across many London locations. Tickets for each event cost £10 with concessions available or you can buy a festival season ticket, which gives access to over 40 walks during October for £40.

Last Updated 24 September 2015