Dickens House Museum
Dickens House Museum

Dickens' Broadstairs

Where Charles Dickens found Betsey Trotwood

Charles Dickens first came to Broadstairs in 1837, aged 25, and returned frequently for the next two decades.

Betsey Trotwood

From his window at the Royal Albion Hotel he observed Mary Pearson Strong taking great exception to donkeys in front of her home – now Dickens House Museum. The pair became friends. He not only took tea in her parlour but based his character Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield on her.

Trivia Question

In which town does Betsey Trotwood live? (Scroll down to reveal the answer)

Our English Watering Place

In 1850 Charles Dickens took residence at Fort House, now known as Bleak House. Can you see it on the skyline to the north?

It was from here, overlooking “fishing boats in the tiny harbour”, that he penned David Copperfield and the essay Our English Watering Place. In it he records amusing observations about Broadstairs: its antiquated Assembly Rooms, the pointless annual ‘china auctions’, lazy boatmen, the High Street that is too narrow for ‘donkey-chaises’ and the “objects made of shells that pretend not to be shells”. He also described Broadstairs as “one of the freshest and freest little places in the world”. Whilst holidaying in Italy in 1844, he pined for Broadstairs and remarked that it had “never so fine a sunset.”

Bleak House is captured in three fantastic British Pathé News reports.

Dickens Festival

Since 1937 Broadstairs has hosted its annual Dickens Festival every June, where you will find Dickensian beach parties, coffee with the characters, plays, readings and more.

Interactive Map

Below is an interactive map of Discovery Points you can explore with friends and family.
A red point shows your location. Start exploring by clicking the blue points of places and items related to the red point

Discovery Points Explore More

Trivia Answer

To save any embarrassment to Miss Mary Pearson Strong, Dickens set the location of Betsey Trotwood’s house in Dover