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Top 10 places to go for literature


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‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one,’ writes George R R Martin in A Dance of Dragons.  

We’ve all had that experience of being transported somewhere else by the book we’re reading... from Narnia to Westeros, Middle Earth to Diagon Alley...

Here are ten of our top literary travel picks to inspire your next trip!

1. Haworth, West Yorkshire

 Whilst a small village outside Bradford may not be top of your getaway list, the experience of being in the very streets, shops and house that was home to Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and not forgetting Branwell Brontë is unforgettable.

Visit Haworth Parsonage, where the family lived, walk on the moors which were immortalised in Wuthering Heights, and pay your respects at the family tomb.

2. The Lake District, Cumbria 

From one side of the UK to the other, the Lake District has provided so much inspiration for artists over the years.

Both writers’ homes, Dove Cottage and Hill Top, are now open to the public so you can see how they lived, but the real draw here is the landscape. Maybe it’ll even inspire you to follow in their footsteps – literally and artistically! 

3. Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

There are so many ways you can get in touch with your inner Bard in Stratford, from visiting his birthplace, his wife’s house or his tomb.

The best way, though, is always going to be seeing a play. The Royal Shakespeare Society has three permanent theatres in the town, with a packed schedule throughout the year.

4. Edinburgh, Scotland 

For three weeks every August, the Scottish capital plays host to an international festival celebrating literature. This would be a great trip if you like to actually meet authors and hear about current affairs in the book world. With the rest of the Edinburgh Festival on at the same time, you’ll be spoilt for choice culturally.

5. Dublin, Ireland

If you want the full James Joyce experience, plan your trip for 16th June, otherwise known as ‘Bloomsday’.

On this day every year, a series of events are held to celebrate Joyce’s Ulysses, which is set entirely on the date in 1904. There are pub crawls, readings, re-enactments and tours. Some people even attempt a full read of the novel – which, at over 700 pages, is quite the ambition. Aside from Joyce-related activities, Dublin was also the home of Oscar Wilde and is just a wonderfully welcoming city. Fantastic for a long weekend.

6. Rome, Italy

As if Rome needed a further reason to recommend it, since Dan Brown published his second novel in 2000, people have travelled there to follow in the footsteps of its hero, Robert Langdon. Whilst there are dedicated walking tours available, with some prior reading, you could make your own way between the key sites, including, of course, Vatican City itself.

Whilst you won’t be afforded exclusive access to the Pope’s private chambers or the Vatican library, you can soak up everything else Rome has to offer, without the fear of a secret society hunting you down!

7. The Western Front, Belgium

As we enter the last year of the centenary events for what was once called ‘the Great War’, there’s never been a better time to visit the places that the men fought and wrote. I really would recommend joining an organised tour. Not only will you make sure you don’t miss any important sites, but you’ll also learn so much about the history as well as the literature. It will be a trip that will stay with you for a very long time.

8. Copenhagen, Denmark

Now, I’m not going to lie: the Little Mermaid statue can be a bit of a disappointment, because she really is little! But Copenhagen itself is truly magical, a testament to the fairytale author who lived here. From the beautiful Tivoli Gardens to the royal Amalienborg, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were living out one of Anderson’s tales. Honestly such a gorgeous and fun city that you should immediately put on your ‘must-visit’ list.

9. Central India

If you’ve always loved Rudyard Kipling’s classic The Jungle Book (or, let’s face it, the Disney films), why not visit the place that inspired them? Whilst many people consider Africa to be the perfect location for a safari, in India you could see elephants, tigers, bears and leopards. 

10. New York, USA 

Tarrytown, about twenty-five miles north of Manhattan, is the real-life setting of Washington Irvine’s classic Gothic horror story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as well as being featured in F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and the Damned. New York State is packed full of literary history, from The Catcher in the Rye to American Psycho, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to A View from the Bridge.

You could even sit on the steps of the Met and pretend to be Blair and Serena from Gossip Girl! Whatever your literary leanings, New York is likely to satisfy them.

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