The London home of Charles Dickens has a very special Christmas planned as it invites visitors to a host of exciting events and activities.
Being greeted at the door of a literary hero’s former home by one of his most lovable characters might sound too good to be true.
But this is exactly what is planned as part of the Charles Dickens Museum’s festive extravaganza, which sees Mr Fezziwig greet visitors before the glorious Mr Fezziwig’s Christmas Cracker! is in each room of his author’s London home (4-7, 11-14 December). Presented by Petersham Playhouse, the brand new and immersive theatre production takes over the Victorian house, where guests are free to wander from room to room, each offering different festive surprises including acts ranging from ghost storytelling (a favourite pastime of Dickens himself) in the drawing room, to anarchic cooking lessons from the opera-singing chef in the kitchen, who will reveal her famous recipe for figgy pudding.
Elsewhere, acclaimed theatre company Smoking Apples will perform spectacular shadow puppetry. Their performance will reveal what hardened the heart of notorious miser and one of Dickens’ most famous characters, Ebeneezer Scrooge.
The museum, which reopened a year ago following a £3.1m refurbishment, also offers magical walks through the streets that Dickens loved, full of historic nuggets and including a visit to the author’s favourite tavern. The annual reading of A Christmas Carol will be performed by Professor Michael Slater at the museum (16 December, 6pm-7.30pm) and the classic novel will also be dramatically retold in a performance directed by Tim Carroll (17-21 December, 6.30pm to 8.45pm). For visitors who want to completely immerse themselves in Dickensian life, there is a special costumed tour (21 December, 10am; 10:45am, 11:30am) where families are encouraged to step back in time to Christmas 1839. Visitors become part of the story: Dickens and his young family are out of the house, attending a Christmas Ball. In their absence, the housemaid invites visitors to step through the original door of 48 Doughty Street, allowing people to snoop through the writer’s entire house, which is beautifully decorated for Christmas.
Lastly, you can enjoy mulled cider and mince pies on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and Christmas Day itself (10am-5pm), making the Charles Dickens Museum the only one to open on 25 December.
Charles Dickens Museum, 48 & 49 Doughty Street, London, WC1N 2LX. Tel: 020 7405 2127. The museum is open from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Sunday. Go to the website to check times for special events. The museum is open throughout the festive season, closed only on New Year’s Day.
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