Fans of Charles Dickens can visit the South East with ‘great expectations’, with so much of his life played out in cities like Rochester in Kent and Portsmouth in Hampshire.
Charles Dickens was born on 7th February 1812, not in a ‘bleak house’ but in a cosy terraced house in Portsmouth. Now the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum, you can see the room where he was born and the couch on which he died in 1870.
One of his most colourful characters was Betsy Trotwood from David Copperfield, who was based on Miss Mary Pearson Strong. Charles Dickens often visited her in Broadstairs, Kent. Her home is now the Dickens House Museum.
Restoration House in Rochester, Kent was used by Charles Dickens as the home of Miss Haversham in Great Expectations. The house is so named because King Charles II stayed there on his way to reclaim England's throne, an event known as the Restoration. Rochester would feature in many of Charles Dickens books; wander down the Victorian High Street and you’ll feel like you have stepped into the pages of The Pickwick Papers, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Great Expectations. Also in Rochester is Dickens World, a recreation of the squalid London that Charles Dickens would have known. You can really get into the spirit of his books here; go down Victorian Sewers, visit Newgate prison cells and call into Fagin’s Den.