When Sophie from Heading There so graciously offered a guest post, I was curious as to what she would write about. Imagine my surprise when she wanted to combine travel and literature. This former English teacher gives her an A+ for that idea and execution. Without further ado, here’s Sophie.
If you’re planning a trip to England, why not put aside the travel guides and see the country through the eyes of some of its best-loved authors instead? From Oliver Twist’s London to the landscape of the Romantic poets, here’s how to take a tour of England in five books.
The Northeast-Wuthering Heights
Wild moorland, heather, hills and farmland- the Yorkshire countryside is rugged and untamed; perfect for anyone who fell in love with the tragically romantic landscape of Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte and her talented sisters were born and raised in Howarth, West Yorkshire, and spent summers in the historic seaside town of Scarborough.
The parsonage where they grew up is filled with Bronte relics and pays homage to their incredible story. After a visit there, walk over the ‘wily windy moors’ to Top Withens, the ruined farmhouse said to have been the inspiration for Wuthering Heights.
The Northwest-Wordsworth’s Complete Works
Moss-green lakes, gentle mountains, wild meadows and bluebell woods- when it comes to quintessentially English countryside nowhere beats the Lake District in northwest England. It was here that Wordsworth wrote his most famous poems with the landscape as his muse.
Prepare yourself for a romantic eighteenth century experience on a Wordsworth pilgrimage of the area. The poet’s childhood home in Cockermouth has been restored to its former glory and is a lively museum with working kitchen and gardens. Nearby in Grasmere, visit the cottage where he lived with his sister Dorothy for many years and follow in the footsteps of Wordsworth and Coleridge on hikes around the surrounding hills.
The Midlands-Lady Chatterley’s Lover
Coal mining country, fruit orchards, farmland and deep dark forests- D H Lawrence’s home county of Nottinghamshire is moodily atmospheric and served as the setting and inspiration for much of his writing.
Lady Chatterly’s Lover and Sons and Lovers were both based in the area around the town of Eastwood where he was born and raised. There you can take a guided tour of his childhood home and learn about his working class background. To make the most of Nottinghamshire, be sure to explore the depths of Sherwood Forest.
Raucous pubs, stately buildings, vibrant markets and the misty Thames- Dickens’ London is still very much alive and well.
The setting for Fagin’s den of thieves is Holborn’s Saffron Hill, and it is through Covent Garden that Oliver and the Artful Dodger are chased after pick-pocketing. Jacob’s Island, on the Thames, is where Bill Sykes accidentally hangs himself after murdering Nancy, and Fagin is finally incarcerated in Newgate Prison.
The list of London locations that feature in Oliver Twist and Dickens’ other classics goes on and on, and themed tours of the city explore them all, as well as the areas of London where the writer lived and worked.
High society, grand Georgian architecture and elegant tearooms- to conclude this tale we visit the historic city of Bath where Jane Austen lived for several years of her life and wrote her last book, Persuasion, which is also set there.
On a trip to the city- one of England’s best loved tourist destinations- you can have a thoroughly genteel experience. Stroll between the limestone Georgian houses to the Roman Baths, learn about the author’s life and works at the Jane Austen Centre, and go for an extravagant afternoon tea. Visit in September for the Jane Austen festival when dancing, costumes and Pride and Prejudice style revelry take over the city.
Sophie McGovern is a travel and fiction writer currently living on a house-boat near Bath, UK. When not writing she can be daydreaming, reading and playing accordion. She will soon be moving to Thailand to write fulltime for HeadingThere.