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Time: 16:21 23 May 2011

Discover the Ghost of Christmas Past in London

5th December 2013

With Christmas nearly upon us, now is a great time to take a trip to the capital and explore London's Dickensian heritage.

The city features heavily in many of the famous writer's novels, and anyone with an interest in literature will surely love discovering the many landmarks and attractions that are associated with Dickens.

Typically, when people talk of Dickensian London, what they are referring to is the poverty and squalor faced by the city's residents during the Victorian era - something which the great author managed to capture perfectly in his works.

Among the best places to go to learn more about the 19th-century city that inspired so many of Dickens's novels is Chancery Lane, where you'll find the Charles Dickens (Malton) Society. The society is based in a building which is believed to have been the setting for Ebenezer Scrooge's Counting House in A Christmas Carol.

There's no better time to visit this excellent museum - where you'll find a number of works of art depicting Scrooge and his clerk, Bob Cratchit - than December, when the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future seem to roam the ancient streets of this fascinating city.

Nearby, you'll find Saffron Hill, which was the home of Oliver Twist and his fellow paupers in one of Dickens's most cherished works.

In the years since Oliver Twist was written, huge numbers of tourists have flocked to London around Christmas time to see the story played out in pantomime form, but if you want to get a little closer to the heart of the story then visiting Saffron Hill itself - which is close to both Chancery Lane and Farringdon tube stations - is a great way to go.

Over in Southwalk, meanwhile, you'll find Marshalsea, which not only provided the setting for the serial novel Little Dorrit but was also once home to a debtor's prison in which Dickens's father was once incarcerated.

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