Visit Red House and Oakwell Hall in Birstall, both frequented by the Brontë sisters and which featured in Charlotte Brontë’s famous novel Shirley.
Set against the backdrop of the Luddite uprisings in the Yorkshire textile industry, Charlotte Brontë’s novel Shirley caused a sensation when it was published in 1849 – under the pseudonym ‘Currer Bell’. The local people of Birstall in Kirklees, in the heart of West Yorkshire, found themselves unexpectedly characterised in print by the quiet visitor they knew as Charlotte Brontë. The novel’s popularity led to Shirley becoming a woman’s name.
Discover ‘Shirley Country’, as it’s now known and get up close to the places Charlotte Brontë visited, and which inspired her. The classic English story features the enchanting 17th century Red House, the Elizabethan manor house of Oakwell Hall and the gothic Dewsbury Minster, all of which are open to visitors. Guided tours can be arranged.
Birstall is approximately 6 miles (10 km) from Leeds, itself 2 hours 15 minutes from London by train.