Tuesday to Sunday, 10-5, £9
Dickens enthusiasts won't mind the £9 entry fee for the peek inside his life that this museum of the family home where he wrote The Pickwick Paper, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby offers. Seeing his unguarded letters to friends, the desk where he would sit and write 'without distraction from breakfast to lunch', the mirror where he would bring his characters to life by performing them to himself and the enthusiasm of the helpful volunteers about the writer can't fail to delight anyone with an interest in his work.
Without such an interest, however, £9 may seem a bit steep.
Happily, we fall into the first category, and hugely enjoyed the carefully presented house, and the stories of his life and loves dotted around it. We found ourselves wandering around in a Dickensian trance, lapsing for brief moments into a suspicion that we might just find the man himself sitting pondering in the next room. You won't be shocked to hear that this didn't transpire, but nonetheless we left with a greater appreciation for the man behind the words. Tales of his father, upon whom Mr Micawber was based, and of his time working in a factory as a 12 year old help to reveal a certain roman-a-cleffiness about his writing that we hadn't fully appreciated before.
So, if you're a Dickens fan, make some time in your weekend for this. If you're not, well, do give him another try...