Although Charles Dickens spent the majority of his adult life in London, he visited Stratford-upon-Avon at least three times and also maintained links with the town and its famous resident, William Shakespeare.
In October 1838, Charles Dickens travelled with his friend, the illustrator Hablot Browne to the Midlands and Wales. He stopped off at Leamington Spa, Warwickshire en route where he was able to visit the local castles at Kenilworth and Warwick. The following day, Dickens then continued his journey to Stratford-upon-Avon staying there also for one night before travelling on to Shrewsbury. Whilst in Stratford-upon-Avon, Dickens visited the birthplace of Shakespeare, then a private residence, and signed the visitors’ book.
Two years after his original visit, Charles Dickens again visited Stratford-upon-Avon, on 6 April 1840. This time he was accompanied by his wife Catherine and his friend (and later biographer) John Forster. Again, Dickens visited the birthplace of Shakespeare and the signatures of all three are recorded in a visitors’ book. The visit appears to have just been a day trip as Dickens was staying in Birmingham at the time.
Charles Dickens’s last visit to Stratford-upon-Avon was for the 1864 Tercentenary celebrations when he saw a performance of Twelfth Night.