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Literary London

From Daniel Defoe to Charles Dickens and Shakespeare, London has produced many fantastic writers. Here we take a look at some of the best books for children that are set in this famous city.

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Paddington Bear by Michael Bond

Author Bond, who was a cameraman for the BBC, wrote more than 20 books about this bear who famously took his name from Paddington train station – where the Brown family took pity upon him and invited him to live with them at 32 Windsor Gardens (a fictional address). His favourite food is marmalade sandwiches, of which he always keeps one under his hat.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Scottish-born Barrie’s adventures of the mischievous boy who could fly and never grows up provided one of literature’s most endearing characters. Barrie never described Peter Pan in detail, leaving his appearance to the imagination of the reader. A statue of Peter Pan stands in Kensington Gardens, London, nearby where he first visited the Darling family.

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Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

While Hogwarts’ location is somewhat unknown, getting there is a simple case of jumping on the Hogwarts’ Express at platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station. To stop tourists from bombarding commuters (there’s actually no real platform between 9 and 10 at King’s Cross) there’s a great Harry Potter shop, styled to look like Ollivander’s wand emporium, and a fantastic photo opportunity!

Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Conan Doyle’s adventurous detective is a master of disguise, and famously uses reasoned logic to solve complex cases, often for London’s Scotland Yard. Holmes, who solved cases with his friend Dr Watson, first appeared in print in 1887. Like Paddington, his address at 221B Baker Street is fictional. Conan Doyle wrote four novels, along with 56 short stories.

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

This series of eight books were first published in 1934, about a magical nanny who first comes to London to 17 Cherry Tree Lane, to look after the children of Mr. and Mrs. Banks. Mary Poppins arrives during a strong east wind and promises to stay only until the wind changes, when she promptly opens up her umbrella and is carried away. The novel is said to be set near Regent’s Park and Hampstead, and is based on the author’s home at 50 Smith Street, Chelsea.

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