London skyline across the river Thames
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLondon skyline across the river Thames - Credit: en:User talk:Mewik

The novel is set mainly in London, the capital of the UK. It is an ancient city, with a diverse population of around 7 million people. Its character and form vary as much as its people, from historic palaces to mews houses, rural parkland to tightly-packed urban high-rise flats, museums and art galleries to warehouses and offices.


London is famous for many things: Buckingham Palace, St Paul's Cathedral, red buses, black cabs, Pearly Queens, Trafalgar Square and Big Ben... the list goes on and on.

Map of London

Visit London website

Charing Cross, London
The foountain and statues of Trafalgar Square
Public DomainThe foountain and statues of Trafalgar Square - Credit: Stefan Schafft

"I tethered my bike at Charing Cross and changed in the toilets before meeting her by Nelson's Column." (page 12)

Charing Cross is an area of Westminster, in London. It falls within the main roads of the Strand, Embankment and Whitehall, and is not far from Trafalgar Square.

In all likelihood the narrator tethered his/her bike at Charing Cross tube station, which has an entrance leading into Trafalgar Square.

Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square
Public DomainNelson's Column in Trafalgar Square - Credit: David Castor

Trafalgar Square is a square in central London, famous for its statues (including Nelson's Column), its fountains, and (until a few years ago) its flocks of pigeons. It is a very popular tourist attraction.

Nelson's Column is a monument built in the 1840s to commemorate Horatio Nelson's victory and death at the Battle of Trafalgar. The column, topped by a statue of Nelson, is over 50 metres high.



Panoramic view of Trafalgar Square, London
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePanoramic view of Trafalgar Square, London - Credit: Diliff
Chelsea, London
A street in Chelsea, London
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA street in Chelsea, London - Credit: D Johnston

"Louise's mother and grandmother lived together in Chelsea... They had a small mews house from whose upper floors they could see the Buckingham Palace flagpole." (page 164)


Google Map


Typical street in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London
Creative Commons AttributionTypical street in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London - Credit: Onofre Bouvila








 Chelsea is an affluent area of central London, and part of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC).

Map of Chelsea

History of RBKC

Hampstead, London
Creative Commons AttributionHampstead - Credit: Panhard

Louise and Elgin lived at "52 Nightingale Square, NW3." (page 173)

Hampstead is an extremely affluent area, boasting some of the most expensive houses in London, with prices ranging up to £50 million. The area has a rural and village-like atmosphere, and is known for its proximity to the ancient parkland of Hampstead Heath.

Hampstead is part of the London Borough of Camden and has associations with intellectualism, literature and the arts.

Map of Hampstead

Hampstead area guide


Google Map
NW1, London
Public DomainCamden - Credit: David Castor
Marylebone Station
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMarylebone Station - Credit: Oxyman
Housing in the Regents Park area
Creative Commons AttributionHousing in the Regents Park area - Credit: Herry Lawford










"41a Dragon St NW1. It was the address of my flat." (page 173)

The postcode of London NW1 (North West 1), where the narrator's flat is located, covers the areas of Camden Town, Marylebone, Primrose Hill, Regent's Park, and Somers Town, so it's difficult to pin down a precise location. Marylebone, Primrose Hill, and Regents Park are all fairly affluent areas. Camden town is a more urban area, known for its 'trendy' vibe and its street markets.


Google Map
Stamford Hill, London
Stamford Hill N16
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeStamford Hill N16 - Credit: Danny Robinson

"Elgin's mother and father still lived in a 1930s semi in Stamford Hill." (Page 32)


Stamford Hill is situated in the north of the London Borough of Hackney, and is home to Europe's largest Hasidic Jewish and Adeni Jewish community.


Google Map
Oxford, England
Oxford University
Creative Commons AttributionOxford University - Credit: Wallace Wong

"Louise had brought me to Oxford to get away from Elgin." (page 98)

Oxford is a medieval city in southern England, best known for its historic university.


Google Map



The River Isis
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe River Isis - Credit: Ozeye




"I paddled through the shallows of the river where the little fishes dare their belly at the sun." (page 11)

Oxford has some lovely places for wild bathing. The rivers Cherwell and Thames (known as The Isis for around 10 miles in Oxford) run through the city, meeting up south of the centre.

Yorkshire, England

"I packed and took a train to Yorkshire." (page 106)


North Yorkshire Moors
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeNorth Yorkshire Moors - Credit: Scott Rimmer


Yorkshire is a county in northern England. It is the largest county in the UK, and consists of the wide open green spaces of the dales and moors, as well as cities like Leeds and York, industrial areas and farmland. It is approximately 200 miles from London. 

Yorkshire is a popular holiday destination, thanks to its scenery, Viking heritage, and historic sites such as Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

Official Yorkshire visitor site.

Visit Yorkshire site.


House in North Yorkshire
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHouse in North Yorkshire - Credit: Pete Chapman
The Human Body
Human skeleton
Public DomainHuman skeleton - Credit: LadyofHats/ Mariana Ruiz Villarreal

Because the body is described in detail within the text, this section simply contains links to the relevant parts, as categorised by Winterson within the novel.

The cells, tissues, systems and cavities of the body

The Skin

The Skeleton

The Special Senses
- hearing and the ear
- the nose
- taste
- the eye