Samuel Johnson is best known for writing the first English dictionary, but Londoners know him better for the Georgian townhouse that still stands in Gough Square. He used to live round the back of Fleet Street, so he would have strolled up to St. Paul's and down the Strand towards Westminster whilst chatting with his biographer, James Boswell.
Now you can follow in their footsteps and explore the streets that he called home.
There are two different walks to try, and they each take place on alternate months.
The first walk is called 'Dr Johnson's Fleet Street', and focuses on the courts and alleys off Fleet Street. The tour will include Gough Square (where he lived), Temple Church, Temple Bar and Fleet Street itself.
The second walk is called 'Dr Johnson's City', and explores a much wider area including the Fleet Valley, Ludgate Hill and St Paul's Churchyard.
Note: You can't go on one of these walks and not visit Dr. Johnson's House as well. It's still standing in a little secluded court of Fleet Street, with a cat statue out the front (Johnson famously had a cat called Hodges, which got a statue outside his house instead of Johnson himself!). We recommend that you visit the house first, because this tour doesn't go inside it. Then you'll be able to get a much better idea of his life and career.
Craig has written a review of Dr Johnson's House on his blog, and included a few photos and a video of what it's like inside. Feel free to ask him some questions before you go. You might fancy having a drink in his local pub as well: Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (145 Fleet Street, sixty seconds from Dr Johnson's House). The great man was said to be a regular in this 17th-century wood-panelled pub, so now you've got a good excuse to raise a glass to him before you go (you can pretend you're doing research). Tradition states that his favourite seat was to the right of the fireplace, in the ground floor bar.
If you're interested in literary London then you might like to try the Charles Dickens walk as well, which explores the dark and dirty streets of Victorian London.
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