Literary Footprints, a roaming festival dedicated to London's literary heritage, returns in October and this year's programme is an absolute dream for bookworms — as long as they're up for a bit of exercise.
From the former homes of the world's most celebrated authors, to the abodes, avenues, and alleyways their characters inhabit; a treasure trove of literary history can be found in pretty much every corner of the capital. And Literary Footprints is here to help you discover it all, with a whole month of walking tours led by expert guides.
Take a look at some of our highlights below:
Shakespeare in London
Noted London commuter William Shakespeare worked in the capital during an exciting era of its development, marked social advancement and increased international influence. Explore the City as the Bard of Avon would have know it with guide David Charnick.
2 October. Click here to book.
Mrs Dalloway's Day
Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
This simple errand gives rise to one of the most beautiful and intricate descriptions of London street life in English literature. Follow the footsteps of Mrs Dalloway, the eponymous protagonist of Virginia Woolf's exquisite novel on a two-hour walk that takes you from Westminster to Bond Street.
7 October. Click here to book.
Peter Ackroyd's Monstrous East End
Step inside three of celebrated author Peter Ackroyd's London novels on a ghoulish walk around the East End, featuring readings from Hawksmoor, The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein, and Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem.
8 October. Click here to book.
Lyrics and Limericks, Fantasy and Fraud
Explore the diversity of Holloway's literary scene on a walk through the north London neighbourhood. As well as poets, playwrights, and novelists, you'll hear about a couple of infamous characters — including a thief.
Mayfair's Bright Young Things
Discover the outrageous exploits of the Bright Young Things (aka the posh party animals of the roaring twenties) and learn how the likes of Michael Arlen, Antony Powell, and — of course — Evelyn Waugh portrayed their elaborate, often drug-fuelled antics on a literary romp through the area that was once their playground.
13/28 October. Click here to book.
Chelsea's Literary Women
A poet whose brother kept a zoo. A botanical illustrator who married a villain. A novelist who died three weeks after her honeymoon. Learn all about the female writers of Chelsea, as well as the wives and mistresses of their male peers.
16 October. Click here to book.
Dickens After Dark
But the streets of London, to be beheld in the very height of their glory, should be seen on a dark, dull, murky winter's night.
An insomnia-afflicted Charles Dickens often wandered the streets of the City after dark, and now you can, too. Traverse the same streets the Victorian author used to tread on a magic night walk (don't worry, early risers — it finishes at 9pm).
24 October. Click here to book.
All About Bethnal Green
Hear stories of crime, poverty, resilience, and survival on a walk through the East End neighbourhood of Bethnal Green. Readings from works by George Orwell, Iain Sinclair, and others provide the soundtrack to your travels.
25 October. Click here to book.
There are plenty more plods to peruse over on the Footprints of London website. Have a gander, don your comfiest trainers and get ready to seriously boost your bibliophile credentials.