Seven literary landmarks

  • 16 January 2013

Whether you prefer Jane Eyre or Oliver Twist, we've picked our seven favourite authors' homes so you can lose yourself in the houses that inspired the classics.

1. Jane Austen's House Museum, Hampshire
50% off with National Art Pass

This 17th-century house was home to Jane Austen from 1809 until her death in 1817, a period in which she wrote some of English literature's most significant novels. The museum is currently celebrating Pride and Prejudice's bicentenary with an exhibition exploring the story behind how the novel came to be written.

2. Shakespeare’s Family Homes

Free entry with National Art Pass

These five properties chart Shakespeare's life from birth to death, bringing together Elizabethan history and personal artefacts. From the farm on which his mother grew up to the home in which he died, the houses help illuminate both the man behind the plays and the world in which he lived.

3. Keats House, London
Free entry with National Art Pass

John Keats composed Ode to a Nightingale, one of the greatest poems in the English language, while sat under a plum tree in the garden of this Hampstead house. The poet lived in the house from 1818 to 1820, a period in which he wrote some of his best-loved poems and fell in love with Fanny Brawne, the girl next door.

4. Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum, Cumbria
Free entry with National Art Pass

Dove Cottage was William Wordsworth's home in the Lake District during his peak years as a poet, and the venue for his sister Dorothy's Grasmere Journals. This Grade I listed museum is home to many items from the Wordsworth household, including furniture, portraits and manuscripts.

5. Charles Dickens Museum, London
Free entry with National Art Pass

Home to Charles Dickens between 1837 and 1839, today 48 Doughty Street hosts the world's most important collection of paintings, rare editions, manuscripts and other items relating to the life and work of the greatest Victorian novelist. Spread over four floors, it is Dickens's only surviving London house.

6. Bronte Parsonage Museum, West Yorkshire
Free entry with National Art Pass

A former residence of not one but three writers, this refurbished Georgian parsonage was once home to the Bronte sisters. With original furnishings, personal relics, paintings, books and manuscripts, the museum is a fitting monument to Britain's greatest literary family.

7. Newstead Abbey Historic House and Gardens, Nottinghamshire
Free entry with National Art Pass

Lord Byron was the original celebrity writer, combining virtuoso writing skill with an intriguing personal life. His ancestral home of Newstead Abbey is both a grand country house and a museum to its past inhabitants. While the house itself is closed over winter, visitors can explore the grounds and gardens for a fascinating insight into the landscape that shaped the poet's imagination.