Our friends at VisitEngland have come up with the Top 10 books to read on your next English holiday.
From afternoon tea in Wordsworth’s former home in the Lake District as you read his famous poetry, to All Creatures Great and Small enjoyed in Herriot Country, the inspiration behind this great book.
2017 is the ‘Year of the Literary Heroes’ so grab your book and get ready for an immersive English literary holiday.
Monica Ali: Brick Lane, East London
Join London’s edgy and artistic crowd and explore Brick Lane, the inspiration for the popular book of the same name by Monica Ali. Visit on a Sunday and grab a bargain at Brick Lane’s eclectic market, brimming with second-hand clothes, furniture and bric-a-brac and then onto one of the many Bangladeshi curry houses, where you’ll dine with the locals – but do get there early.
Retire to a serene guestroom at the uber-cool Hoxton Hotel with your copy of this modern classic for some down time – rooms from £109.
PD James: The Children of Men – Southwold, Suffolk
Play homage to PD James with a trip to the pretty coastal town of Southwold in Suffolk, where large parts of her novel, The Children of Men, were set. Stay in a holiday cottage located in the high street, close to the holiday home where PD James wrote some of her best-selling detective novels, and really get under the skin of this dystopian book. A week at Lower East Lodge in June costs from £420.
Graham Greene: Brighton Rock, Brighton
Buy a stick of rock and find yourself a great spot on Brighton beach, next to the Pier (Palace Pier in the book), to immerse yourself in this edgy novel. Then visit The Lanes, located in Brighton’s historic quarter, where you can weave your way through the alleyways full of independent shops, cafes and restaurants. Stay in the heart of the action with Brighton Lanes Apartments. Prices from £385 per week, based on four sharing.
Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca, Fowey, Cornwall
Take a boat trip along the Fowey River and you’ll see Readymoney Cove, the place where du Maurier once lived. Get lost in Rebecca as you travel past the coastal landscapes that inspired her famous novels. Pop into the du Maurier Literary Centre, located in the Tourist Information Centre, which is full of information about this famous author. Rooms at The Fowey Hotel start at £109.
Ian McEwan: On Chesil Beach, Dorset
Pack a picnic and enjoy a long refreshing walk along Chesil Beach in Dorset, the setting of the heartbreaking novel by Booker prize-winning author Ian McEwan. It spans 18-miles, connecting Portland to Abbotsbury and is the largest Tombolo in England.
This bank of pebbles will play a significant part in next year’s release of the film adaptation of the novel, of which Saoirse Ronan will star as Florence. Stay a night or two in the Heights Hotel, Isle of Portland, and book a room with a view over Chesil beach itself. Is there a more inspirational place to enjoy this book? Prices from £120 per room, per night, based on two sharing.
DH Lawrence: Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Eastwood, Nottinghamshire
Enjoy this racy Victorian novel with an overnight stay at Eastwood Hall, in DH Lawrence’s hometown. Discover the influences and humble beginnings of one of the most controversial authors of this time, through the Blue Line Trail (free to download).
You will see his former home, including the DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum, the Mechanics Institute where Lawrence would borrow books, and the Congregational Chapel and British School where he taught. Superior Rooms from £82 based on two adults sharing. The DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 – 4p.m. Prices: Adult: £6.90. Children: £3.50.
James Herriot: All Creatures Great and Small, North Yorkshire
Immerse yourself in this classic book-turned-TV-series based on the memoirs of a Yorkshire vet as you discover Herriot Country with its grand sweeping hills and the valleys of the North York Moors. Take a visit to The World of James Herriot – a museum set in his hometown of Thirsk.
Explore the 1940s home where you will see the original Austin 7 car as featured in the TV series alongside the world’s largest collection of Herriot memorabilia. Prices: Adults £8.50. Children: £5.00.
Wordsworth’s Poetry: Lake District
“I wander’d lonely as a cloud” is the famous line from the quintessential Lake District poem, Daffodlils. Learn all about one of England’s finest romantic poets and discover Wordsworth’s Grasmere on a free two-hour, 3.7 mile walk on April 29.
Then take a short journey to Rydal Mount and Gardens in Ambleside, the historic family home of William Wordsworth, where you can enjoy an afternoon cream tea in Wordsworth’s dining room as you read your complimentary Wordsworth Daffodils poem. Prices: Free (donations welcome). Places are limited to 20 people. Book in advance for Afternoon Tea. £15 per person – max six people.
Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights, West Yorkshire
Stay at the family-run Apothecary Guest House, set opposite the famous Brontë Church with panoramic views of the surrounding moors – the perfect spot to read Wuthering Heights. Continue with the ultimate Brontë experience, a visit to Brontë Treasures at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, just up the road.
This is a private tour led by the curator of the museum, providing a unique insight into the lives and work of this inspirational family, with close-up viewing of previously-unseen items in the Parsonage Library. Double Rooms from £65, based on two people sharing (B&B) – book a room to the rear for views. Brontë Treasures is limited to 12 people, book in advance via the website. Tickets £85.
Arthur Ransome: Swallows and Amazons, Coniston, Lake District
Relax in true Swallows style with an afternoon cruise aboard Steam Yacht Gondola, the inspiration behind Captain Flint’s houseboat, as you journey down ‘The Amazon River’ and Octopus Lagoon’. Then grab a seat at the Bluebird Café, overlooking Coniston water and lose yourself in your copy of Swallows and Amazons. Price Adult £11, Child £6 – NT members: Adult £9.90, Child £5.40. Book in advance.
For more literary holiday inspiration check out www.visitengland.com/literaryheroes