Literary breaks

by Katie Rowe

Category: Culture vulture
June 12 2014

England’s landscapes have been a muse to poets and novelists throughout the centuries. Follow in the footsteps of some of England’s literary greats to see exactly what inspired them to create some of their greatest works on a literary holiday this summer.

1. Brontë Country, Yorkshire

Follow the Brontë Way through the brooding Yorkshire and Lancashire landscape so perfectly evoked by the Brontë sisters. Sites include Top Withens, believed to have inspired the location for Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. In the village of Haworth, visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum in the building Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë once lived. It’s decorated as they would have seen it and displays original Brontë artefacts.

2. DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum, Nottinghamshire

Visit the DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum for a glimpse into the life of one of England’s most powerful wordsmiths. An exhibition displays paintings by Lawrence, along with other artefacts and a DVD presentation. Next door, see the house where the author was born. Just down the road is the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre, which offers a local, social history exhibition based on the author.

Agatha Christie’s Greenway, Devon

Peek inside Greenway, the Devonshire holiday retreat of celebrated crime writer Agatha Christie, and admire elegant rooms and lush gardens beside the River Dart. In nearby Torquay, follow the Agatha Christie Trail around prominent landmarks from her life and books – such as The Grand Hotel on the seafront where Christie spent her honeymoon. A bronze bust of the author stands near Torquay harbour.

3. Beatrix Potter House, Hill Top, Cumbria

It was from Hill Top, a stone 17th-century house, that the children’s author Beatrix Potter created many of her much-loved characters and tales. Tucked in the little Cumbrian village of Near Sawrey, the house is partnered with a delicate English garden full of tangled flowers and herbs. Inside, find meticulously preserved antique furnishings and the original stone flagged floor.

4. Hardy’s Cottage, Dorset

It was in this thatched cottage in Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, that Thomas Hardy penned literary masterpieces Under the Greenwood Tree and Far from the Madding Crowd. This is the house where Hardy was born, and where he returned to write years later. Also in Dorset, visit Max Gate – designed by Hardy himself. Here he hosted such literary greats as Rudyard Kipling and HG Wells.

5. Keats walk, Winchester

Stroll amid the charming Hampshire scenery that prompted Romantic poet John Keats to write his acclaimed verse To Autumn. Keats was inspired by an evening’s walk in the leafy environs of Winchester, and today walkers can take in the same cathedral grounds, medieval buildings and tranquil water meadows by the River Itchen on a self-guided walk covering around two miles.

Follow in the footsteps of your favourite author on a literary break in England.

Katie Rowe

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