Travel to Learn: Literature in Great Britain

Literature in Great Britain

One of the main things that attracts people to the UK is the world they read about in our classic novels – the ominous landscapes of Wuthering Heights, smoky London town of Oliver Twist, prim and proper society of Pride and Prejudice, and rugged, patriotic folk of Scotland. While our world has caught up with modern times of course, there is still plenty of room in Great Britain to enjoy the fantasy worlds of years gone by. In towns and cities all over the country we have museums and attractions dedicated to our prized writers, enough to satisfy literature-addicts to days at a time.

Jane Austen – Bath

Many of Jane Austen’s novels are set out in grand houses in top of hills in the countryside, but if there was ever a city where the characters took a break from the fresh country air, it would be Bath. Austen actually lived in the city itself for a short while, and used it as a setting for two of her novels; Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The Jane Austen Centre in Bath is dedicated to bringing you all things Jane related, from exhibitions, spa experiences, high tea in the tea rooms, walking tours, and even an array of traditional outfits to get dressed up in to make you really feel like you’re just walked out of Sense and Sensibility.

Robert Burn – Edinburgh

Edinburgh is known as a city very popular with classic writers, and the Scottish National Poet Robert Burns was no exception. Burns’ is a classic rags to riches tales, and during a visit to Scotland you can participate in tours which will take you on a journey from his peasant days up to being the talk of the town, visiting various famous Burns sights just outside Edinburgh and in the city itself. The Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh showcases many of Burns’ personal belongings, such as his own writing desk and manuscripts. Exhibitions about other writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Sit Walter Scott are also on show at the museum.

The Brontë Sisters – Yorkshire

Those rolling hills and sublime landscapes that Emily Brontë was constantly referring to in her novel Wuthering Heights were set in no other place than the county of Yorkshire. This part of England isn’t often visited by many tourists, but is a stunning part of the country to visit and one to go on the list if you’re a fan of the Brontë’s. The Brontë Parsonage Museum is the place to go to find out about all things Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and can be found in Haworth in West Yorkshire.

Charles Dickens – London

What would an article about English literature be without the infamous Charles Dickens and his portrayals of cockney orphans and ‘the Big Smoke’. In modern London you can throw yourself back in time to the gritty years of the 19th century but visiting the Charles Dickens Museum, which is based in his last remaining house in the world; 48 Doughty Street, London. Here you can wake a costumed tour, step inside Mrs Dickens’ kitchen, and gaze upon manuscripts from the master himself. Over 100,000 of Dickens’ own possessions are in this museum, allowing you to really dive into the world of one of our planet’s most renowned writers.

William Shakespeare – Stratord-upon-Avon

In the heart of England, just a few miles away from where I grew up, lies the little town of Stratford-upon-Avon, one of the most important literary spots in the UK, having been made famous by Shakespeare himself. The town is very popular with tourists all year round for that very reason, and not only can you visit the museum all about the man himself, but the Royal Shakespeare Company put of performances all year round of his incredible plays. Some of the best actors and actresses on the planet have been known to tread the boards of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, so make sure you check who might be in town if you’re visiting.

There are plenty more authors, poets and playwrights whose lives and works are on display, making literature in Great Britain an enticing focus of any trip to this mesmerizing part of the world.


Emma Higgins has been writing and traveling on and off since 2009. Her blog, Gotta Keep Movin’ is full of stories and advice from her trips, which include Europe, India, Morocco, South America, the USA and Canada. Her main focuses are budget travel and volunteering, and she has been involved in sustainable farming in Argentina, animal shelters in Peru, and even tried her hand at making goats cheese in British Columbia. Follow her travels on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Categories: Education

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