Wordsworth to Wuthering Heights: Around England in 5 Books
Leah Walker July 12, 2012

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

afternoon in south yorkshire, englandCredit

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

Lake District UK - walking the 300 km Coast to Coast WalkCredit

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

spring sunsetCredit 

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.

London-Oliver Twist

Covent GardensCredit 

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.

The Southwest-Persuasion


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.

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Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, USA Today 10 Best, Bonjour Paris, France Today, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel and wine ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's lived in Paris for three years, and was recently awarded another four with a Passeport Talent visa renewal. Though, her talent for speaking French is abysmal.


  1. This is SO cool. And seeing as I have adopted England as my home, I shall read each of them. Almost ashamed to say I haven’t. One of the things I am also keen to do it see more and more of England, and this is a great excuse. Thank you for this 🙂

    1. Well, now, Mrs. O, I was planning on you showing me some of this famous English countryside when I’m in England this winter. I guess we’ll have to do some exploring together. I usually try to read a classic book before I visit a place. I re-read Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde before I visited Scotland, Ulysses before Dublin, and I’m currently reading A Moveable Feast for Paris. 🙂 I’m kind of a nerd.

  2. For me, London was never like Oliver Twist when I went there. More along the lines of Jack The Ripper – more of an non-fiction book 🙂

    1. One woman’s Oliver Twist is another man’s Jack the Ripper. 🙂 London will always mean Shakespeare to me even though none of his plays were primarily set in the city. Did you have a frightening experience in London?

  3. love this idea!! even though it was ireland and not england, when we were horseback riding in dingle we felt like we were straight out of wuthering heights. you know, just in jeans and north face.

    1. I happen to remember North Face in Wuthering Heights. Strangely enough I’d forgotten it until just now. 😉

  4. Not bad…but Sophie appears to have forgotten “Children of the New Forest” – my old neck of the woods (pun intended).

    1. I’m not sure that I would either had I not been an English major. I read a lot of books that I wouldn’t have read otherwise. No shame there, Kieu.

  5. Excellent idea! Ive never read any of those books (Ive read J Austen’s) but Oliver Twist is on my list!

    1. I don’t think you’re alone, Raul. A lot of people haven’t read them, but they do provide excellent travel motivation.

    1. I don’t care much for fiction for pleasure reading since I’ve become an adult either. Most of my classic reading took place in school. I do like to re-read certain books before I visit a place. I find that it adds something extra to the experience.

  6. So I’m not as well-read as I would like to think 🙂 Since England has been creeping up to near the top of my list, perhaps I should read some of these books. They could prompt me to actually plan a trip there!

    Cool idea for a post!

    1. I recently saw a list of 100 ‘must read’ books and have only read a few of them, so you’re certainly not alone there! So many books, so little time…if you do read them, I warn you now that Wuthering Heights is a wee bit bleak…very romantic, though! Do you know where in England you might like to visit?

      1. All I know, Sophie, is that I’d like to spend time in London (of course) and in the countryside. Where exactly – I’ve not a clue! Actually, I’ve no preference at this time. I just want to GO.

    2. I loved Sophie’s idea for the post, too. Ireland and Scotland would be interesting to do similar posts. I’ve been itching to head back to England as well. Hello, London and Henley-on-the-Thames in December!

  7. LOVE this post. books can definitely transport you to a place & inspire one to wish to go there. Jane Austen is my favorite & i really want to do a Jane Austen tour of England altogether some day. my biggest hope is that Mr. Darcy will be found brooding & waiting for my arrival when i turn up at Pemberley! i’m such a dreamer 🙂

    1. I was so happy with the subject of this guest post. Sophie did such a great job. I’ve not been to Bath or much of the English countryside, but this post has inspired me to get out there and do it sooner rather than later.

  8. Talk about a ‘novel’ way to see UK (I couldn’t help myself…). What a nice idea! As a former English teacher, I too give this a high grade! 🙂

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