It is winter! The holiday season has come to the most exciting city in all of England. Welcome to the London of Charles Dickens and Queen Victoria, where one will find amusements and diversions at every turn! As you enter look to your left and see that Fezziwig's Warehouse is hosting a party for all of Mr. Fezziwig's friends ~ and everyone is a friend to Mr. Fezziwig! Care for a dance? Join in! Learn to dance and play parlour games, or just watch the fun.
Begin your tour and turn right, away from Fezziwig's and pass down the magnificent GRAND CONCOURSE where you will see our spectacular Christmas tree. Just opposite you will find the famed London Telegraph Office; here you can send a telegram to anyone in all of London and telegraph girls or boys will run from one end of the city to the other to hand-deliver your message! Continue down the lane and stop by Mrs. Piper’s Photo Parlour to pose for a portrait of family and friends. A couple of booths away you can have a gift ornament customized at the Ornaments by Eddy cart, or peruse the magic wands at the Whirlwood Wands shop. Across from these, in the other doorway, stop by the authentic Sullivan’s Printing Press and watch as the typesetters lay in the tiles for a newspaper or calling card.
Passing through GRENADIERS GATE takes you to the dark and notorious LONDON DOCKS where you will find the Paddy West School of Seamanship. Try your hand at knot-making, be hoisted up into the rigging by a helpful sailor, and enjoy the lively shows on the Paddy West Stage. But mind your wallet! Fagin's Den is nearby, and his light-fingered army of pickpockets, let by the Artful Dodger himself, may try to lift your valuables!
Continue your wander past the Docks and into MAIDEN LANE and ALE HOUSE ALLEY where jewelry sparkles, exotic scents fill your nose, and hats and all manner of clothing abound. Do not miss Professor Flockmocker's Laboratory of mechanical wonders, to see if the flying machine is ready! Just to your right at the entrance of MAIDEN LANE is our Silhouette Artist who can cut your likeness out of paper in less than five minutes. Next, move on to the sign of the Pale Moon beneath the great green clock, where you can pick your own baubles to make a necklace or earrings as a gift for yourself or someone you love.
You really must not miss a bag of fresh hot Cinnamon Almonds ~ they are simply the tops! ~ from the almond cart as you head past Mad Sal’s Alehouse Theatre (NOT for Children) and proceed on into GOLDEN SQUARE. Just inside the doorway you can choose a coin and have it stamped with your own special art to wear at the Coin Strike ~ cover your ears as it strikes!
In GOLDEN SQUARE you will often encounter all manner of exotic musicians and dancers from all over Europe, eager to share their musical heritage! Here parents can warm themselves with a hot cup of coffee from Mr. Brown's Coffee House. But the real treasure you may find in GOLDEN SQUARE is Mr. Charles Dickens himself! The Dickens Family Parlour is there filled with his large, rambunctious family and oft times Mr. Dickens can be seen heading the family dinner table. Take a peek, and compare his dinners to your own family dinners!
Mr. Dickens' neighborhood down NICKELBY ROAD is an auspicious place indeed. Find the royal Adventurer's Club where notables like His Royal Highness Prince Albert, or the writer Rudyard Kipling and artist Christina Rossetti reside, making plans for an upcoming adventure. Here you may also find wonderful colorful clothing for all ages and beautiful handmade glass objects d'art, then hurry down the lane to the Bramosia Chocolates cart for handmade chocolate delights! Then stop by Nana’s Nursery for beautifully crafted, American-made reproductions for all the children in your discerning Victorian family, or in PETTICOAT LANE, have your hair braided at Adorn Thy Hair.
Just beyond the chocolate cart, at the men's haberdashery, turn right through the narrow doorway into CRATCHIT'S YARD where Dickens' most famous character resides. Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge and the many Ghosts of Christmas will be found there upon The Pennygaff Stage, as well as magicians, jugglers, and variety acts aplenty. Across the way from the stage, observe the spectacular plans for the Crystal Palace Exhibition on display, then pick up a cake or scones mixes at London's Finest Cakes or Two English Ladies.
On nearby FISH STREET you can feast on traditional British Fish & Chips. Don't miss HOLLYBERRY PARK where you will find the Corinthian Rose Fencing Academy providing the finest tutoring in swordsmanship for aspiring soldiers of the realm. Best of all, relax and share a refreshing pot of tea with the family at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe; here you may have peanut-butter & honey sandwiches or scones, and hot chocolate if you’ve been especially good!
After your tea head straight back down FISH STREET, right the way through until you land in Fagin's Den back in the LONDON DOCKS. Here you will find Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger making full-time work of picking pockets and snatching hankies. Nearby Peeler's Clink Jail will hold you or any thieves caught by Her Majesty's Royal Constabulary ~ get locked in and take a photo.
Push on! Your tour is nearing the greatest point! Into TINSLEY GREEN, where Father Christmas makes his appearance and poses for pictures on the Father Christmas Stage at 1:00 daily ~ and don't miss the Punch & Judy Puppet Theatre. (Try not to encourage old Mr. Punch; he'll get into enough trouble all on his own!) Have some Mr. Punch's Pasta and enjoy lunch while you watch a show. Create a gift by painting your own ceramic ornament at the Children's Painting Garden. Here you will also find fun with the Boot the Cat game; flip a chimney sweep into a chimney at Flip a Sweep; then pelt terrible performers with vegetables at Footlight Fiasco. See the spectacular Adventure Carousel and take a ride on your favorite animal. Next door to the carousel is a garden where you can make and take home your own fairy houses.
Nearing your final destinations! Jog your merry way into PICKWICK PLACE, where you will find more eateries. Across the way, try your hand at the miraculous mechanical Candy Machine, where everyone wins a prize! Down BELLRINGER'S ROW you will find freshly baked warm cookies at Maclaren’s Cookies & Milk, and Nuyens Portraits, where you can pause to be skillfully sketched. Next door don’t miss the production of The Surprising Tale of Baron Munchausen & Mopsa the Fairy at the Victoria & Albert Theatre ~ enjoy a box of freshly-popped popcorn, and take any seat!
You are once again near the entrance to the city, but you will probably want to retrace your steps to visit whatever you missed on the first go 'round!