10 of the best literary locations to explore in the UK
Stepping into a fictional world is every book lover’s dream. Sadly, most of our favourite fictional locations are just that, fictional. The UK is, however, full of places which have either inspired or featured in the locations of numerous famous books, places which can truly make all your resident bookworm’s holiday dreams come true.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Bram Stoker’s famous horror novel Dracula was inspired by the Yorkshire fishing town of Whitby. Sections of the book take place in Whitby after Dracula’s plans go awry in his journey from Transylvania to England when his ship is run aground in the town.
If you take a visit to Whitby you can see the Church of St. Mary, which is used as the setting for a graveyard in Dracula, as well as the Abbey that also provides a setting for the book. You can join the ‘Bram Stoker Dracula Experience’ or, if you visit in October, you may attend the Bram Stoker International Film Festival. If you love Dracula, Whitby is the place to go!
The Brontë sisters’ home
If you are a massive Brontë fan, a must-see literary spot has to be Haworth, where the Brontës spent much of their lives. Haworth is said to have inspired the settings in both Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. You can visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum, the sisters’ former home, and walk Brontë Way, where you can see the landscape that inspired their famous novels for yourself.
3. Ashdown Forest, East Sussex
Winnie The Pooh
Given that the new Christopher Robin film has just been released, now would be the perfect time to visit Ashdown Forest, the real-life setting for the home of Winnie the Pooh and his friends. Hundred Acre Wood in real life is much bigger, it’s actually 500 Acre Wood! You can see Roo’s sandpit, Owl’s Tree, and Poohsticks Bridge.
4. 221B Baker Street
When the books were published, the house numbers on Baker Street did not go as high as 221. However, in the 1930s, the address was assigned to Abbey House, a bank. After the Museum was built at 237–241 Baker Street, they won a dispute to be formally recognised as 221B Baker Street. The museum features exhibits from different adaptations of the Holmes stories and various Holmes memorabilia.
5. The Forest of Dean
Fangorn Forest, Lord of The Rings
The picturesque Forest of Dean, located in Gloucestershire, was the inspiration for Fangorn Forest, one of the locations in Middle Earth. If the name sounds familiar, this was also the place where the camping scenes in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book took place.
6. Doune Castle
Castle Leoch, Outlander
Doune Castle, near Stirling, doubles as Castle Leoch, the ancestral home of Colum Mackenzie in the show Outlander. Doune Castle was once home to Scottish royalty but is perhaps even more famous now as an Outlander filming location.
7. Fort William, Scotland
The Hogwarts Express, Harry Potter
If you would like to ride the route that the Hogwarts Express takes for yourself, then journey to Fort William in Scotland where you can board the Jacobite Steam train, a stand-in for the Hogwarts Express. You can travel over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, one of the most iconic locations from the films.
8. Edinburgh, Scotland
Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, and Greyfriar’s Bobby
As a UNESCO City of Literature, there isn’t one specific literary-inspired place you need to visit here — there are many! The Writer’s Museum celebrates three of Scotland’s most famous writers, making it a -must-see for literary fans. The Elephant House café is where JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book and, for Sherlock fans, The Conan Doyle stands across from where you can see the famous statue of Sherlock Holmes.
If you are a fan of Ian Rankin, you can pop into Inspector Rebus’ favourite haunt, the Oxford Bar, and you can also visit Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, a location in famous novel Greyfriar’s Bobby. This is also the location that inspired the Riddell grave for Voldemort’s family in Harry Potter.
9. Hill Top House, Cumbria
Beatrix Potter’s home
The beloved home of Beatrix Potter provided the backdrop for many of her beloved animal characters — many of her famous illustrations were drawn whilst visiting her picturesque house in the Lake District.
10. Oxford, England
The Bone Season
A futuristic version of Oxford is the literary location for Samantha Shannon’s sinister prison camp Sheol I, where her protagonist Paige Mahoney is taken prisoner. The story was inspired by Shannon’s own time studying at St Anne’s College in Oxford.