From Bronte to Bridget Jones, Darcy to David Copperfield, the UK is the place to be for impressive literary history and heritage.
As one strolls the English countryside, wanders cavernous castles, or fights the biting chill of the Yorkshire moors, this rich literary legacy becomes satisfyingly palpable. Nothing quite beats brewing a cup of tea and curling up with the sophisticated wit of Jane Austen or the poetic haunting of a Bronte tale as the rain beats against the window.
These familiar names all hail from the small yet mighty United Kingdom, their stories practically on top of each other. A literary tour will take you through the centuries to discover where they lived and worked. To paraphrase J.M. Barrie: “There’s barely any space between one famous author and another.”
Here are some can't miss stops:
1. Bronte Parsonage Museum
Surrounded by wild, untamed moors, the parsonage cemetery their playground, their upbringing played a critical role in providing inspiration for their novels. Today the parsonage has been converted into a museum offering tours and activities.
2. Jane Austen House
Throughout her writing, Austen provides a rare authentic glimpse into the challenges, obstacles, and everyday issues faced by women and families of a certain social status in the early 1800's. They are accessible time capsules - essential reading for understanding the female experience at a pivotal moment in history.
Between 1809 and 1817 she lived and worked in a small cottage with her mother and sister. It was here that she completed many works, including perhaps her most famous: "Pride and Prejudice" (originally titled "First Impressions").
Today the house is a museum dedicated to her life and works.
3. Beatrix Potter's House
In the idyllic English Countryside, Beatrix Potter's home (which she purchased in 1905 with proceeds made from the Peter Rabbit books) is open for walk throughs and tours. Set up to appear just as it might have on a typical day during her life, there are nods to her famous works throughout every room.
Try to visit in the summer so as to have the best weather possible for enjoying the picturesque farmlands full of flowers and vegetable gardens!
4. Eagle and Child Pub
Who knows, maybe a visit to this watering hole will inspire you to write the next great fantasy masterpiece!
5. William Shakespeare House & The Globe Theater
A literary journey through the UK wouldn't be complete without a visit to the house of the man himself: William Shakespeare! The gifted playwright who gave us "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet," and "Macbeth," just to name a few, was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Today the house he grew up in is open to visitors, as is Anne Hathaway's cottage and garden (no, not that Anne Hathaway). The two often strolled in her gardens as they were courting, and were married in 1582.
Shakespeare’s plays were famously put on at the Globe Theater, attended by both commoner and royalty alike. The original Globe burned down in the mid 1600’s but a detailed replica was erected in 1997, not 800 feet from where the original stood. Today it remains an active theater and educational space.
6. Oxford University
GUEST AUTHOR: Samantha Scott is a travel writer and blogger, obsessed with history, film, & literature. She began her travel writing career writing for Wanderlust & Lipstick and is currently managing content for Stride Travel, the largest search & reviews site for professionally planned travel. You can read more of her work on their blog page.