Travel Postcard: 48 Hours in Dickensian London
By Philip Baillie
LONDON (Reuters) - London in the 21st century is not all that different from the heaving Victorian metropolis forever preserved in the novels of English writer Charles Dickens, whose 200th birthday is next week.
Fans of Dickens can still walk the same streets of the city - whose population helped to inspire such characters as Oliver Twist, Ebenezer Scrooge and Bella Wilfer - visit the writer's house and have a drink at some of his old watering holes.
Local correspondents help you to spend 48 hours enjoying some of the London haunts of one of the English language's greatest writers.
7 p.m. - Check into a London Hotel near Russell Square, a stone's throw from the Doughty Street home where Dickens penned some of his greatest works.
8 p.m. - Ride on London's Underground railway (known to locals as the "tube") to a late-evening theatre showing in atmospheric Covent Garden, a bustling square even in Dickens's day which he used to frequent after a day's work at his office.
Dickens was a dramatist and became involved in amateur theatre from his days at Tavistock house, directing, acting and raising money for London's needy.
10:30 p.m. - Covent Garden is a hive of activity at night, with numerous bars and clubs lining the cobbled squares and streets. Duck into The Marquis on Chandos Place, explore the upstairs dining area, discuss the writer's works or watch passers-by in the now modernized Dickensian haunt. Continued...