Thursday, 27 April 2017

Five Bookish Places to Visit in Britain

I love to read and I love travelling - why not combine the two? I've been to quite a few places in Britain related to books. This is to give people a few places they could visit, not a comprehensive list. My advice? Take a book related to these places with you when you visit - books always seem more special to me if I read them in a corresponding location.

1. Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth - topping my list is the house of the Brontë sisters, because there's so much to do nearby, too. Obviously, you should look around the Museum, then the church. Pop into the town town for a bit of lunch - the café Villette was very good. Nice hot chocolate especially when it's cold. Make a note of all these shops to visit sometime later, too. Next, take a walk on the Yorkshire moors the way the sisters did, and enjoy the views of the scenic country. Make your way up to the ruin that was said to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights. Later, have dinner in the very pub used by Bramwell Brontë.

2. Jane Austen's House Museum, Chawton - another museum of a famous British female literary icon, and with a resident cat. After your look around the house, stop for a bite at Cassandra's Cup and then walk up the road to the manor where her brother lived, which you can also go inside and look around. The story of how Jane and her family came to live there is fascinating as any of her novels. 

3. Hay-on-Wye, Wales - the town of books! Bring a lot of change, big bags and make sure your suitcase has room. You'll go home with less money, heavy bags and sore arms but it is so worth it. The village, which is picturesque enough already, boasts over 30 used bookstores to it's name. It also holds the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts in the late spring.

4. Bodleian Library, Oxford - it's a library with over 11 million books, some rare editions. It looks like something out of Harry Potter, and is - it was used as the set for the Hogwarts library. The outside looks equally grand, too. And the list of famous people who have perused it's shelves is huge, including C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. I love bookshops, but I think libraries have their own brand of special charm.

5. The Elephant House, Edinburgh - also known as the café used by JK Rowling to write most of the first Harry Potter books. The story goes that when she was out with her young daughter, Jessica, she's head to the nearest café and write. It so happened that it was often be this one. The doors in the toilets are worth a look - they've been graffiti-ed by years worth of Potter fans. Order yourself a coffee and write something, even if it's just a few words in a notebook.

This should give you a few good ideas! You could either do them in one trip around the UK, a few different trips or bit by bit if you live closer! Do you have any places you like visiting, either abroad or in your own country? I'd love to visit the Hobbit village in New Zealand or Emily Dickenson's house in Massachusetts!

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