What to Read Before Going to London


London is such a literary city. Authors and bookworms have called London home for centuries. It makes my job to create a reading list of best books to read before traveling to London both easy and incredibly difficult.

London will also be the first stop on my long-term travel journey. I’ll spend a weekend museum hopping (budget tip: they’re all free!) and experiencing Wimbledon first hand. You can bet that I’ll seek out a few bookish locations in the city along the way.

While I anxiously await to board my one-way flight to Heathrow, I’ll be reading these books to put me in a London frame of mind.

Best Books to Read Before Traveling to London

Best Books to Read Before Traveling to London | London Books | Books About London That Aren't Guidebooks

London: A Travel Guide Through Time by Matthew Green

If that isn’t a title designed to capture the hearts of Pages to Passport readers, I don’t know what is! This book covers six of London’s most poignant and interesting periods of time.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

A sweeping, vibrant novel that moved between North West London to West Africa. It shows the Jazz Age of London with a distinctly brown perspective. Honorable mention: White Teeth by the same aut


Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

This book slips through the cracks of reality, showing a London of dark, mysterious, and alternative history. A must-read for sci-fi fans.

Elizabeth’s London by Liza Picard

Picard tells a tale of 16th century life as it was for England’s first great queen. If London’s royalty is a fascination for you (raises hand), this one’s for you.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

This funny novel follows the romantic failings of a young record store owner.

London by Edward Rutherfurd

Yes, another one of Rutherfurd’s epic sagas has made it on to a list of mine. I can’t get enough of his sprawling historical novels. This one about London is one of my favorites of his.



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