London is one of the world's most important cities for a multiplicity of reasons. It's a global center of banking and finance, a foundational point for trade and boasts one of the most fascinating histories of any metropolis in Europe - and the world, for that matter. Don't forget that London is also well established as a prominent cultural hub. This is due to numerous factors, ranging from its musical pedigree to modern art, and its importance to the world of literature is a particularly significant reason.
If you've made your way to London, whether it was on a last minute flight, planned vacation or a short business trip, you should take out some time to investigate some of the literary landmarks scattered throughout England's capital. Even if you're not a big reader yourself, perhaps your spouse or children are, and if so they'll be ecstatic when you show them some snapshots or bring back a few souvenirs.
Time-traveling at the George Inn
This renowned pub was established more than 400 years ago. According to Fodors, while its original design was lost in 1666, a casualty of the Great Fire of London, not much time passed in the grand scheme of things before it was repaired.
Rumor has it that William Shakespeare spent some time in this tavern, but Charles Dickens's enthusiasm for the George Inn is well-documented fact - it even appears in "Little Dorrit," one of his later novels. The pub draws a lot of tourist traffic, but its vast size keeps it from getting claustrophobic.
Join the great game at 221b Baker Street
You ought to immediately recognize this iconic address, but if you don't know the home base of expert amateur detective Sherlock Holmes, we won't hold it against you. (Not that much, at least.) To be fair, the actual Sherlock Holmes Museum is located between 237 and 241 Baker, as Buzzfeed points out.
Once inside the museum, you'll see a faithful recreation of the rooms where Holmes and his narrating compatriot Dr. John Watson pondered their many strange cases in the short stories and novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.These include "handwritten" notes taken by Holmes during the course of his fictional investigations, the consulting detective's laboratory and vast study, his magnifying glass, detective tools and other idiosyncratic items readers of Doyle's tales will instantly recognize. Charmingly, the tour employees all dress in Victorian outfits, and you can pick up Holmes's outlandish yet legendary deerstalker cap and other mementos in the gift shop.
To visit or not visit the Globe Theatre
Unlike the Danish prince's legendary existential dilemma, the choice of whether or not to visit the faithfully reproduced stage of the Globe Theatre, where many of Shakespeare's greatest works were brought to life, is a complete no-brainer.
Even if you just stop by for a tour of the boards once traipsed by the original actors of "Hamlet," "King Lear" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream," it's well worth your time. Visitors will learn the context behind many of their favorite dramas and comedies and how Shakespeare's life affected their creation. For the full-on experience, though, you'll need to buy a ticket for one of the performances - which, aside from basic modern conveniences, still take place much as they did centuries ago.
A special platform at King's Cross
Millions of readers - and filmgoers - all over the world have been enchanted by the marvels of magic and perils of growing up as depicted in J.K. Rowling's series of books about young wizard Harry Potter and the movies based on them. If you're not a fan, chances are your spouse or kids are, and they'll love if you take a photo at Platform 9 3/4, the hidden magical portal to the train taking young magic students to Hogwarts in the Potter stories.
According to Buzzfeed, the "platform" is near the station's western departures concourse, and nearby you'll find a gift shop with clothes in the colors of Hogwarts' dormitories, books, replica wands and many other knickknacks.