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Day Out: Dickens World

By This is Surrey  |  Posted: August 27, 2009

  • MEET THE GANG: Some of the characters at Dickens World.

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There's something about a Dickens book that conjures up a vivid and exciting world that even the most detailed history book couldn't come close to.

Whether you think of Oliver Twist's workhouse poverty, A Christmas Carol's extremes of Victorian living, or the law courts world of Bleak House when you think of Dickens, his books have taught us a lot about England during his time.

At Dickens World you can see all of these scenes brought to life and wander through the recreated Victorian streets, meeting some of his most famous characters along your way.

Take the Great Expectations boat ride through the old-fashioned streets, be terrified by the schoolmaster in a Victorian classroom or brave the Haunted House of 1859.

At Peggotty's Boathouse you can see a 4D cinema show or at the Britannia Theatre watch an animatronic show about Dickens' life and works.

You might even recognise some of the scenes from TV – Dickens World was the setting for the opening credits of BBC West End talent contest I'd Do Anything, The Hoosiers video for their single Cops and Robbers, and has been used in Songs of Praise, The Politics Show and The One Show.

What To Do at Dickens World

There are loads of things to keep you busy on a family day out at Dickens World.

Here are some of the attractions not to be missed.

The Courtyard

Experience what life was like in a 19th century courtyard and street. Here you can meet some of Charles Dickens' characters and ask them about life in Dickens' time.

School Room

In this unique classroom Victorian education meets 21st century learning tools. See if you can keep up with the stern schoolmaster and score 100 per cent in the class tests. This room can also be used as part of a schools visit.

Crime and Punishment

A Victorian jail was not a pleasant place to be. Take a walk through the damp and dank corridors of Marshalsea Prison, but be careful – prisoners have been known to escape from here...

Great Expectations Boat Ride

This is a great way of seeing the attraction and is always popular with visitors. Join Magwitch on his boat as he makes his escape from The Hulks and sails through Dickens World.

The Haunted House of 1859

Meet the ghosts of Charles Dickens' novels if you dare! In this house you can come face to face with some of his famous ghosts, including those from A Christmas Carol. They'll be conjured up using a technique of the time, Pepper's Ghost Effect.

Peerybingles Pawnbrokers

Have a search through this Dickensian pawnbrokers and buy a photo of yourself as a memento.

Collard's Greengrocers

Take a look around an olde worlde gift shop, selling items of Victoriana and some authentic Victorian games to take home.

Britannia Theatre

Go to an animatronic show at the Britannia Theatre and you can be introduced to some of Charles Dickens' best-loved characters. This is also where special events and evening entertainment take place.

Peggotty's Boathouse

Another good place to relax with a great show. At the boathouse you can see a 4D magic lantern show that will take you on Charles Dickens' exciting travels around the globe.

Fagin's Den

Very little visitors have lots to entertain them too. This soft play area is for younger children to let off steam and have some fun.

Six Jolly Fellowship Porters

If you're feeling peckish after all that, stop off here for lots of choice of food and drink. No gruel here!

Events at Dickens World

After a day of looking around Dickens World, there's still lots to enjoy in the evening with regular events and entertainment.

Here are just a few that are coming up soon:

Gimme Abba! and Three Course Meal – Sunday (August 30) at 6pm, £25

Jongleurs Comedy – Friday, September 4 at 6pm, £11

MJK Band and Three Course Meal – Saturday, September 5 at 7pm, £15

If you're visiting on a Friday, look out for Fagin's Earlybird Friday offer for 50 per cent off tickets – see www.dickensworld.co.uk.

Charles Dickens Timeline

These are some of the biggest events in Charles Dickens' life – he was just 58 when he died.

1812 – Charles Dickens is born, the second of eight children

1817 – the five-year-old Dickens and his family move to Chatham, where Dickens World is now

1824 – at just 12 years old, Dickens begins working 10-hour days at a boot-blacking factory

1837-38 – Dickens publishes Oliver Twist

1839 – Queen Victoria comes to the throne

1843 – Dickens' seasonal favourite A Christmas Carol is published

1859 – Dickens' novel A Tale of Two Cities is published

1870 – Charles Dickens dies

The Lowdown

Address: Dickens World, Leviathan Way, Chatham Maritime, Kent, ME4 4LL

Tel: 01634 890 421

Web: www.dickensworld.co.uk

Open: Monday – Friday 10am – 4.30pm and last admission at 3pm, Saturday – Sunday 10am – 5.30pm and last admission at 4pm

Prices: Adults £11.20, children £6.30, under fives free, concessions £9.20

Get there: The nearest train station is Chatham which is a 30 minute walk from Dickens World. The Dockside bus service runs every 10 minutes between Chatham and Rochester town centres. If heading coast-bound on the M2 leave at junction 1 and follow the Chatham Maritime signs, if heading London-bound leave at junction 4. There are 800 free parking spaces and disabled access parking spaces at Dickens World

Words: Katie Archer
Photos: Dickens World

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