Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum

Row of Regency-style houses, one with a Blue Plaque on it.
Shop icon Visual disability facilities icon

The famous writer Charles Dickens was born in this modest house in Portsmouth, England in 1812. The house has miraculously survived and is now preserved as a museum furnished in the style of 1809 which is when John and Elizabeth Dickens set up the first home of their married life there.

They had no idea that their eldest son would go on to become one of the most internationally famous writers popular across the world for his novels and short stories. John Dickens came to Portsmouth when his job in the Navy Pay Office was transferred from London. They stayed here until 1815 when his job demanded that he return to London. Charles Dickens only lived in Portsmouth for the first three years of his life but he returned to the town on three occasions. Once he returned to research background information for his novel 'Nicholas Nickleby', and on two occasions later in life when he was a famous writer to give public readings of his work. On his last visit in 1866 he tried to find his birthplace but was unsuccessful, however it is now clearly signposted so visitors can find it easily!

Even though Dickens' popular writing career ran from 1836 to 1870 his characters live on as familiar friends to many people all over the world. Millions of people sympathise with Oliver 'asking for more' or Sydney Carton declaiming 'it is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done'. He is best known for his evocations of Victorian Christmas celebrations in his many Christmas stories - who can forget the three Spirits of Christmas who appeared to Scrooge?

Venue Type:

Museum, Historic house or home

Opening hours

April to September, Tuesday to Sunday 10.00am - 5.30pm
Charles Dicken's Birthday, 7 February, 10.00am-4.00pm

Closed on Mondays except Bank Holidays

Last ticket sold 30 minutes before closing time.
Museum shop closes 15 minutes before closing time.

Closed: October-March

Admission charges

Admission Price:
Adult: £4.00; Senior citizen: £3.50; Child: £3.00; Children under 13 yrs - free if accompanied by an adult. Max 2 admitted free.
UB40: Holders of UB40 admitted at students rates.

Group discount:
Adult: £3.00; Senior citizen: £2.50; Child: £2.00. Discounts if booked in advance giving 48 hours notice, available for parties of 15 or more, UK schools are free. Telephone +44 (0)23 9229 6905 for reservations.


  • Museums Association

Additional info

Disabled Visitor Access and Facilities:
Due to the number of narrow steps within the building it is not accessible to people with walking difficulties and wheelchair users. (A virtual- reality DVD tour of the birthplace is available to purchase and is on show at our City Museum and Records Office, which is completely accessible).

Shop: The museum has a well-stocked shop selling a wide and varied range of souvenirs, gifts, china and books, including all major works by Charles Dickens and biographies of this famous author.

Parking: Old Commercial Road is now a precinct with limited access for vehicles. Coaches however, can gain access via Nelson Road and Victoria Street to allow access for passengers.

Education: Additional educational advice is available from the Education Officer on Portsmouth 023 9282 7261. The Birthplace is suitable for a wide range of National Curriculum work and a Resource Pack for KS1 and 2 is available for loan. Teacher's Resource Packs are available FREE OF CHARGE to any school booking a visit to the Birthplace.

On the first Sunday of every month members of the Portsmouth Dickens Fellowship stage readings from the work of Charles Dickens. Please see the website for more information.

The furniture, ceramics, glass, household objects and decorations faithfully re-create the Regency style which Charles's parents would have favoured, although their actual possessions have long since been dispersed.

There are three furnished rooms: the parlour, the dining room and the bedroom where Charles was born. The exhibition room features a display on Charles Dickens and Portsmouth, as well as a small collection of memorabilia: the couch on which he died at his house in Kent, together with his snuff box, inkwell and paper knife, poignant reminders of an author celebrated for his prodigious talents and creative output.

Collection details

Decorative and Applied Art, Literature, Personalities

Key artists and exhibits

  • Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum
393 Old Commercial Road




Education Officer

General enquiries



023 9282 7261


023 9287 6550

Education Officer

023 9282 7261


023 9287 5276

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.