Few writers capture the essence of London quite like Charles Dickens. So where better to discover more about the great man himself than at his only surviving London abode in Bloomsbury? Following a £3.1m redevelopment, 48 Doughty Street, the house in which a young Dickens spent three years penning ‘The Pickwick Papers’, ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ and ‘Barnaby Rudge’, has reopened to the public. With a learning centre situated next door at number 49, the two properties strike a perfect balance between museum and heritage site. The house has been painstakingly restored to its traditional Victorian appearance, and contains items from Dickens’s past including two of his desks, letters, gifts and a recently acquired photograph of the 1865 Stapleton train crash in which he was involved. There are no information cards scattered around ruining the ambience, instead guests are given time to reflect on the space as if Dickens had just nipped out. Whereas next door offers visitors the chance to learn more about Dickens’s life and work. If your knowledge of Dickens doesn’t extend much further than a childhood obsession with ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’, now’s the chance to brush up on one of the greatest writers of the 19th century. Jonno Hopkins
The Charles Dickens Museum is at open 10am-5pm, Monday to Sunday. The museum will be open on Christmas day, but closed New Year’s Day. See dickensmuseum.com for more.