Seven literary landmarks
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.
Home to one of the greatest writers of the 19th century, and the ‘most treasured’ Austen site in the world, Jane Austen’s House Museum is now home to an extensive collection of letters, personal effects, jewellery, first editions and, most notably, the desk where Jane Austen wrote her beloved novels – from Pride and Prejudice to Emma and Mansfield Park. Explore the house and garden, learn about her life and work through exhibitions and displays, or simply soak up the enchanting atmosphere of this prolific writer’s home, and get some inspiration of your own.
Including the birthplace of the infamous Bard, these five historic homes in the playwright’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon offer a vast range of collections and immersive interactive activities relating to Shakespeare’s legendary work. With the town itself a preserved homage to its most famous export, a visit to Shakespeare’s Family Homes is must for any budding wordsmith or theatre enthusiast.
- Greater London
Experience the life and work of the Romantic poet John Keats at his London home, now a thriving museum and literary centre exploring how the young poet found inspiration, friendship and love in this gorgeous Regency villa. Listen to his poetry, watch films about his life, attend poetry performances inspired by his work or create your own poem – there are plenty of ways to flex your creative muscles at this flourishing literary hub.
Lived in by another Romantic poet, the prolific William Wordsworth, and his sister Dorothy, author of the fascinating Grasmere journal she kept while living at the property, Dove Cottage – now known as Wordsworth Grasmere – offers a window into Wordsworth’s remarkable life through original notebooks, letters, journals and paintings.
- Greater London
Discover the private life behind the public image of one of Britain’s greatest storytellers at the Victorian family home of the author of such beloved classics as Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby and Great Expectations. You can explore the study and desk where he wrote daily by quill and candlelight, as well as the nooks and crannies of the entire household – Dickens was said to be constantly inspired by the hustle and bustle of the house and all those who lived and worked there. With events and exhibitions year-round and extensive collections to explore, this London literary haunt is one to cross off the bucket list.
- West Yorkshire
One of the oldest literary societies in the world, the Brontë Society preserves the legacy of arguably the most impressive storytelling dynasty of the 19th century, the Brontë sisters. With a library containing the most comprehensive collection of Brontë manuscripts, letters and early editions of classic novels such as Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, the Brontë Parsonage Museum celebrates some of the most powerful novels in the English language through a contemporary arts programme of literary events, exhibitions, competitions and festivals.
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.