The United Kingdom has produced some of the most beautiful words ever written, by some of the most iconic and memorable Writers. It is no wonder therefore that there are so many corners of our little island touched by a literary hand. Our literature and places are intertwined in that we cannot help but envision a city, a village or a stretch of hillside through the eyes of the Writer’s who immortalised them within their work.
This summer will see countless couples jetting out to Paris, Venice and further afield for a romantic weekend away. However, there are so many loved up corners of the UK to explore that have inspired the greatest love stories and poetic turns of phrases of all time. Where better to find the words to say exactly how much your other half means to you? Plus, this way you can avoid the dreaded airport queues. Here is a list of just six literary weekend away destinations that will have you both reaching for pen and paper.
- Bath. I personally can’t think of elegant Bath without thinking of Jane Austen. Bath has long since been a place of relaxation and leisure: all afternoon tea rooms and bath houses. However, it is Austen’s young, lovelorn heroines that have forever shaped Bath in the public imagination. Austen lived here for several years when it was a fashionable spa and party resort amongst members of the aristocracy. Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are both set in Bath and perfectly capture the excitement of its Georgian heyday. Gorgeous period architecture, regal tea rooms and Jane Austen tours make this an absolute must for anyone who has ever wanted to escape inside the covers of Pride and Prejudice.
- St Ives. Virginia Woolf spent many childhood holidays at her family summer home Talland House. St Ives inspired many of her most famous, and poignant, novels including To The Lighthouse. St Ives boasts some of the beautiful, golden sandy beaches in Britain and has numerous striking coastal paths to explore. Fans of Daphne De Maurier will appreciate the crashing cornish waves and shaded coves full of mystery and intrigue.
- Haworth. Think sweeping moorland teeming with restless lovelorn spirits, quaint cobbled, village streets and rolling, rocky hillside. It was here where the Bronte sisters lived and wrote, inspired by the intense Yorkshire landscape and frustrations of village life. Poet Sylvia Plath, who is buried close by, was known to have loved Haworth and it has become something of an unofficial pilgrimage for misunderstood writers worldwide. Make sure to pack a sturdy pair of walking boots and head up to Top Withens, a site with truly astounding views that inspired Emily Bronte’s turbulent novel Wuthering Heights.
- Near Sawrey and Far Sawrey. Who could fail to be charmed by Beatrix Potter’s timeless stories of mischievous rabbits and silly puddle ducks? Pretty much unchanged since the days of Tom Kitten, Near Sawrey and Far Sawrey is a particularly unspoilt part of the poet’s paradise that is the Lake District. You can still visit Beatrix Potter’s breathtaking cottage with its achingly pretty gardens. You can enjoy walking not quite as lonely as a cloud through fox glove strewn woodland and can row on the glacial waters of Lake Windermere.
- Whitby. Perfect for more gothic minded couples. Rugged cliffs, hilltop abbeys, and general nods to Whitby’s most vampish resident lie in wait around every corner: Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Whitby also boasts pretty much the best seaside fish and chips in the world, courtesy of The Magpie. Enjoy a top notch chippy tea before taking an evening stroll along the striking Whitby Beach. Maybe pack a bit of after bite in your suitcase though….
- Stratford Upon Avon. Shakespeare has set the bar pretty high in terms of swoon worthy sonnets and generally wise words concerning matters of the heart. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford and his family with Anne Hathaway was raised there. You can visit Shakespeare’s birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s cottage and many other insightful landmarks that will help you build a picture of the infamous, yet often mysterious, Playwright. Far from being delegated to the history books, Stratford is still very much a hub of vibrant theatres and poetry festivals that celebrate both traditional and contemporary writing.