Four poets' homes
Visit the homes of four influential British bards for inspiration to get your own rhyming couplets flowing.
‘Pleasure’s a sin, and sometimes sin is a pleasure’, Lord Byron wrote in his famous narrative poem Don Juan; here you can judge for yourself whether the poet's magnificent giltwood bed is a pleasure or a sin. Byron, a leading figure in the Romantic movement inherited Newstead Abbey from his uncle, the 5th Lord Byron, when he was just ten. The historic house is now a beautiful monument to its past inhabitants; with not only Byron’s possessions on display but the flamboyant commissions made for other occupants.
William Wordsworth instantly fell in love with the cottage while on a walk with fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and you probably will too. Nestled in the rolling Cumbrian landscape, it was here that Wordsworth was inspired to write some of his most important and much-loved poems, such as I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. Little has changed since the poet and his sister lived here over 200 years ago; the stone floors, coal fires, wild garden and family’s possessions are still present.
The prolific Elizabethan playwright, bard and actor wrote over 150 sonnets and 38 plays before his death at the age of 52. This picturesque collection of five houses in and around Stratford-upon-Avon traces the life and times of the Bard from the house where he was born to the beautiful thatched farmhouse where Shakespeare courted his wife, Anne Hathaway, in adolescence.
- Greater London
John Keats came to live at Wentworth Place in 1818, and although he only stayed for 17 months while he was here he wrote some of his most enduring poetry, including Ode to a Nightingale, and fell in love with the girl next door. You can see personal objects belonging to the poet, such as the engagement ring he gave to Fanny Brawne (although he tragically died before marrying her), and a copy of his death mask.