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Top Five Cities for Lovers of Literature
Top Five Cities for Lovers of Literature

Setting the imagination free, and enabling many to escape to a completely different world, reading is one of life's greatest joys. And for those who adore literature, there is nothing quite as magical as visiting the location your favourite book was set in, or heading into the café where an admired author began their first novel.

Whether you are a lover of Dickens, a fan of Tolstoy or a dedicated reader of Frost, you are sure to be captivated by our top five cities for lovers of literature. Take a look, and don't forget to add them to your bucket list!


England's capital, London, is a true haven for those who love literature. Not only has the city been called home by some of world's greatest writers, it is also renowned for its thriving theatre scene.

Theatres here are sure to delight, particularly Shakespeare's Globe. Reconstructed in 1997, the building is said to be an almost exact replica of the Globe Theatre that stood on the south bank of the River Thames in the 1600s. Every season new shows are brought to the stage, with entry starting from as little as £5. Catch your favourite work by Shakespeare, or enjoy many of the other plays written by literature's greatest playwrights.

Another must-visit for bookworms in London is Poets' Corner, based in Westminster Abbey. A large number of poets and writers are either buried or commemorated here, including Chaucer, Ted Hughes and Charles Dickens.

Across London, visitors may also notice blue plaques. Currently placed by English Heritage, they act as historical markers and reveal a link between a particular place and a famous person. For example, a plaque has been placed at No.34 Tite Street - the home of Oscar Wilde. There are plenty more literary points of interest indicated by the blue plaques in London too - further details can be found online.


With its winding canals, stunning architecture and reputation for romance, it is no surprise Venice has captured the imagination of poets and novelists for centuries. A truly magical location with a sense of overwhelming beauty, many writers have been known to come to this Italian city to find inspiration.

Ernest Hemingway, Lord Byron and Ian McEwan have all been said to be fans of the city, and Venice has been the setting for hundreds of literary works, including Lady Chatterley's Lover and Othello.


If you are planning to visit Venice, choose to stay in pure luxury at San Clemente Palace Kempinski. While you are here exploring the city, booklovers shouldn't forget to go to Palazzi Barbaro. Placed on the Grand Canal of Venice, the Palazzi Barbaro consists of two palaces and Henry James himself is said to have actually finished The Aspern Papers at a desk that still remains here.

St. Petersburg

Heading to a much colder climate, St. Petersburg in Russia is rich in literary history. Monuments exist throughout the city commemorating great writers and leading poets, while museums can be found detailing the lives and works of some of Russia's greatest wordsmiths.

The Stray Dog Cabaret, Russia's first literary cabaret, is hidden downstairs in the basement of Ploshchad Iskusstv 4. Established in 1911, poets such as Vladimir Mayakovsky, Anna Akhmatova and Osip Mandelstam are said to have been frequent visitors here.

St. Petersburg

Of course, two of Russia's most famous writers are Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. For those who enjoyed reading Crime and Punishment, a trip to Dostoevsky Memorial promises to be fascinating. The museum, in fact, was once Dostoevsky home and it has been reconstructed for visitors who can now explore the building and learn more about the writer's life.

Guests of Kempinski Hotel Moika 22 should not hesitate to ask our friendly concierge team for further information about St. Petersburg's literary history – they will be delighted to suggest further places for literature enthusiasts to visit.


Known as UNESCO's City of Literature, Edinburgh is book lover's dream. Once home to Robert Burns, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Irvine Welsh, the city has literary roots both old and new. In fact, Edinburgh adores literature so much there is even a literary pub crawl here. Ideal for anyone looking for a fun and cultured evening, it will take you to the many bars and pubs famous writers have been known to love.

Hogwarts fans must also make a trip to the café J.K Rowling began writing Harry Potter in. Named The Elephant Room, visitors can find it on George IV Bridge.

Washington DC

While the first thing that springs to mind when anybody mentions Washington DC might be politics, America's capital is, in fact, a remarkable destination for anyone interested in literature.

For example, the world's largest library, the Library of Congress, is based here. It is home to over 2.8 million books, and a tour of the Thomas Jefferson building can be enjoyed for free. Poetry lovers should also take the audio tour provided by the Poetry Foundation. It will help you to discover the city in a different light, through the eyes of great American poets such as Elizabeth Bishop and Walt Whitman.

Literature undeniably has a huge impact on the world, and no matter where you go you are sure to notice its influence. Whether you choose to travel east or west, choose Kempinski as your luxurious base for your next literary adventure - just get in touch for further information about any of our hotels.

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