Calling all literature lovers! There’s nothing better than curling up with a really great book, right? Why not explore the places your favourite Author’s found inspiration for their most famous books. Here are our 5 top picks.
From William Shakespeare to Beatrix Potter it’s no secret that the UK is a wonderful source of inspiration for Writers. With haunting architecture, stunning coastlines and rolling countryside. It’s not difficult to see why!
If you want to dive into the UK’s literary world, there are plenty of places you can visit. We found it hard picking just 5 of our favourites.
To go or not to go…How could we not start with William Shakespeare’s home town? It’s sure to be a hit whether you are a bookworm or history lover. The highlight if of course is Shakespeare’s birthplace as well as Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall, all of which offer a fascinating insight into Bard’s life. Make sure that you wander through the timeless town’s cobbled streets, look up and discover the beautiful architecture and charming local boutiques and restaurants.
Top Tip – Try out the Swan Theatre and immerse yourself in a play. They regularly stage contemporary takes on Shakespearean classics as well as plays by later writers, such as Restoration playwrights, and brand new work by writers today.
Edinburgh holds an international book festival. So if you’re a bookworm you need to add it to your visit list. The city transforms into a wonderland for book lovers with tonnes of author appearances and author readings. If you’re a Harry Potter fan Edinburgh will be right up your street. After all, it’s where J.K. Rowling created the magical world of witchcraft and wizardry. Victoria Street gives a very Diagon Alley-esque feel and boasts some beautiful and quirky shops. There are even Harry Potter themed boutique shops.
Top Tip – Visit The Elephant House has established itself as one of the best tea and coffee houses in Edinburgh. Pull up a chair in the famous place of inspiration to writers such as J.K. Rowling, who sat writing much of her early novels in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle.
When you’re finished if you want to continue the search for magic or inspiration you’ll find Mr Potter and other familiar names on gravestones at Edinburgh’s Greyfriars’s Kirkyard. It’s literally just steps from The Elephant House where Rowling penned the first book.
3. Lake District
Beatrix Potter spent a lot of time in the Lake District. Holiday visits were her favourite and there are plenty of walks in the Lake District to follow in her footsteps.
Looking for that little bit of childhood magic? the World of Beatrix Potter™ is a fun family attraction that brings to life Beatrix Potter’s enchanting stories in a magical recreation of the beautiful Lake District countryside. There’s even an outdoor Peter Rabbit Garden! Why not try the World of Beatrix Potter. Visit Cumbria has a Beatrix Potter locations guide for those who want to more adventure and learn about her fascinating life along the way.
Top Tip – The Lake District also has strong links to the iconic poet Wordsworth. If you’re a poetry admirer then why not visit the Wordsworth House and Garden, as well as the author’s home Dove Cottage.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Bath holds a yearly Jane Austen festival. Which offers rewarding creative writing workshops, dramatic readings from local authors, tours of the city, as well as talk after talk on the world-famous author. A highlight is the Grand Regency Costumed Charity Parade where fans dress up in their best Jane Austen outfits.
Top Tip – Why not visit Bath’s Roman Baths while you’re there? Bath itself is a must visit. Situated amongst the rolling hills of Somerset, the city’s name is linked to the bathhouses that were first constructed during the Roman settlement period. Using the area’s mineral-rich spring waters, these grand bathhouses promoted rest and wellbeing, something which the city still prides itself on today.
If you’ve read the timeless classic Dracula by Bram Stoker you may know that much of the inspiration for the novel came from Whitby. Stoker was directed to the town by a good friend in 1890 after he became exhausted from work. He apparently fell for the place immediately, later saying that the atmosphere and sites such as Whitby Abbey and the graveyard of St Mary’s Church gave him the first creative sparks that led to the ‘Dracula’ novel.
While staying in a house on the West Cliff, Stoker got to meander around the town and the harbour for a week before his family joined him. During this time he got to hear many stories, myths and legends about the area, some of which ended up being included in his novel.
Top Tip – If you love all things vampire, try The Dracula Experience which offers a unique, spine-chilling, eerie and gripping show. It’s a little trip into the dramatic history of Bram Stoker’s iconic Dracula, where his story was born, and how his connection to Whitby established the tales of the bloodthirsty escapades.
Have we inspired you to take a trip to one of our favourite UK destinations made popular by famous books? We hope so! Let us know in the comments below.