With a huge wealth of English literature, there are so many fabulous UK destinations for book nerds. If you like Victorian Gothic, detective mysteries, bodice rippers, kid’s stories or modern fiction, there are destinations for book nerds in the UK wherever you turn.
Long before Twilight and its teenage, glittering representations of vampires, Irish novelist Bram Stoker laid down the foundations for the archetypal bloodsucker in his 1897 novel Dracula. One of the top UK destinations for book nerds, the North East fishing town of Whitby is the gothic inspiration for the English portion of the story’s setting, and it boasts a dramatic landscape of foggy skies, steep cliff tops and old-fashioned cobbled streets. Lovers of classic literature can take a special Dracula themed tour to really get the feel of the place and its connection to Stoker’s work.
London’s Baker Street was home to arguably the most famous British crime solver in literary history, Sherlock Holmes. Holmes was the star of a series of stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle written between 1881 and 1904, and shared a fictitious apartment with Doctor John Watson at 221b Baker Street. Though building numbers on the real life street only went up to 100 at the time, fans can visit the Sherlock Holmes museum that features rare memorabilia and a reproduction of the quirky detective’s study.
A magical memory in many of our childhoods, A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories are a classic staple of British literature. Arching over a stream that runs into the River Medway is a small bridge that would forever come to be associated with ‘pooh sticks,’ the famous game that Milne’s son Christopher would play, and that would later be replicated in many of his Winnie the Pooh tales. Located on the way to Ashdown Forest, visitors can call in at ‘Pooh Corner’ and pick up a map that guides the way.
Definitely the one of the most recent and popular literary destinations in the UK is Platform 9 ¾, the magical train station in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series that took the Hogwarts Express from London to the spellbinding school for witchcraft and wizardry. Located, of course, at King’s Cross Station, Potter fans will find a sign on the wall, complete underneath with a luggage trolley that is already halfway through the secret passage! A delightful photo opportunity and a brilliant little touch by the King’s Cross authorities.
A quaint little pub nestled in the heart of central Oxford, The Eagle & Child boasts a number of strong literary connections, most notably the fact that it was a favourite haunt of both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, writers of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia respectively. The two authors, famously close friends, used to meet at the pub to discuss their latest works, calling themselves ‘The Inklings.’ A perfect spot to have a refreshing drink or lunch whilst bathing in rich literary history.
Another literary hotspot for lovers of classic British literature, Bleak House is where Victorian writer Charles Dickens spent his summer holidays during the 1850s and 1860s. It was in this very building that Dickens wrote one of his most beloved novels, David Copperfield. Originally called Fort House, the location’s name was changed in the late twentieth century when it was discovered that the house was, in fact, the very same house that Dickens had written about in another of his popular works, Bleak House.
Located in the glorious greenery of Nottinghamshire, Sherwood Forest is the historical home of folklore legend Robin Hood. Numerous writers in the Victorian era produced novels and short stories about the infamous outlaw, most notably Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood and Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, and those visiting in the summer months can attend the annual Robin Hood festival. Immerse yourself in both real history and literary tradition with jousting tournaments and exquisite medieval costumes.
Many of the literary destinations in the UK are writer’s houses. You can visit the former homes of the Bronte Sisters, William Wordsworth, Dylan Thomas, Rudyard Kipling and so, so many more. If you are a book nerd, or let’s be kind, a bibliophile, there are more than enough places to keep you happy in the UK. Which literary destinations are on your list?
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