When I had another trip watching my favorite musical Rock of Ages in June 2022 in Portsmouth, I had the rare opportunity to visit the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum in that city. They just have quite a few opening days in 2022, but it happened to fit to my schedule. After visiting the Charles Dickens Museum in London, I am happy to share my thoughts about another place related to the famous author.
Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum – Location & Admission
The museum is located at the Old Commercial Road, which is right North of the main shopping area of Portsmouth. It is a fifteen to twenty minute walk from Portsmouth & Southsea station. You may, however also take a bus to get to the museum. If you come from Portsmouth City, the bus stop is named Prospect Road, if you are arriving from North of Portsmouth, it is named Charles Dickens Birthplace. Buses serving are 8 (First Bus) and 20 and 700 (Stagecoach) as well as PR1 and X4. There are a couple of major stores across the road, so that parking in the area should be doable as well.
During 2022, the museum is just opening on selected weekends. I thus recommend to check out their website for the exact days. Opening times are 10:00 to 17:00hrs, adult admission is 4.50 GBP.
Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum – The Visit
You enter the museum from basement level, the former kitchen. The friendly staff hands you over English documentation to the different rooms. If you are not a native English speaker, they have quite a bunch of other languages in stock, printed on these green “fans” you see in the first picture. The house also has a nice garden, which is, however, not part of your visit. The smaller items in display are original, the furniture is illustrative for the time the family lived there.
The first floor of the house features the parlor and the dining room. Even though the furniture is not original, I really enjoyed them. They are early 19th century originals. There are also some signs, which tell you about the life of the family of Elizabeth and John Dickens in Portsmouth.
One floor above features the beautifully decorated former bedroom and a room with a lot of general items exhibited. There are some interesting originals like the author’s ink set. This room also features the core exhibit of the museum, a couch in fact used by Charles Dickens.
Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum – Service
The staff is very friendly. The reception area also features a small souvenir store.
Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum – My View
The Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum is a neat place in Portsmouth driven with a lot of love. Of course, it is a bit of a pity that there are so few originals. On the other hand, the museum gives a beautiful overview how life has been in the area at the time of Charles Dicken’s birth. If you take it as such, get into all the information the museum is giving me and be fascinated by his original couch, you will definitely enjoy it.
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