|In the August 2012 issue of The Writer, Martha Lundin offered a list of top U.S. literary travel sites. Here are a few more in England, plus a few literary-themed hotels. If you know of other great literary travel sites, add them in the comments below the article!|
LITERARY TRAVEL SITES IN ENGLAND
• The Brontë Parsonage Museum (Haworth, West Yorkshire, England)
In this area known as “Bronte Country” on the edge of the Pennine moors, the home of the talented Brontë sisters—Charlotte, Emily and Anne--serves as the museum honoring their lives. The Brontë family moved into the parsonage in 1820 when their father, the Rev. Patrick Brontë, became the curate of the Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Haworth. Jane Eyre (Charlotte), Wuthering Heights (Emily), and Agnes Grey (Anne), were all written at the parsonage, which still contains original furniture and belongings from the Brontës. The museum, which is home to the Brontë Society, offers exhibitions, educational events and an extensive library of material related to the Brontës. bronte.org.uk.
• Jane Austen’s House Museum (Chawton, Hampshire, England)
The home where Jane Austen lived for the last eight years of her life with her mother, her sister Cassandra and a family friend, Martha Lloyd, was witness to the creation of some of her most famous novels. Here she wrote Persuasion, Emma and Mansfield Park in their entirety, and revised Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey in the years before her death in 1817. The museum collection includes manuscript letters written by Austen, personal memorabilia such as her writing desk, music books, jewelry and a handcrafted quilt, as well as the furniture used by Jane and her family. In addition to tours, the museum hosts talks, family activities and creative-writing workshops. If you have a little extra time, you may want to make a stop at Chawton House Library, which houses a specialty collection of women’s writings from 1600-1830. jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk.
• Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre (Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England)
Are you traveling with the kids? Do you have fond memories of the Oompa Loompas from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Roald Dahl’s work is celebrated in The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in the village where he lived and wrote his books. The museum offers interactive exhibits, including a new one that recreates Dahl’s “Writing Hut,” which is set up with the furnishings and other items he surrounded himself with while he wrote. Although the museum is aimed at children ages 6-12, adults will find plenty of opportunities to appreciate Dahl’s creativity and to have fun with the kids! roalddahlmuseum.org.
• Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England)
Visit Stratford-on-Avon to see the birthplace of the most famous writer in the world! Open to tourists are Shakespeare’s birthplace; the childhood home of his wife Anne Hathaway; the site where Shakespeare died; a museum showing the history of Stratford-on-Avon up to Shakespeare’s time (Nash’s Place); and Hall’s Croft (Shakespeare’s daughter’s home), all within walking distance of each other. Mary Arden’s Farm (Shakespeare’s mother’s childhood farm) is about three miles away. The Shakespeare Centre includes a museum collection of more than 11,000 objects related to Shakespeare and domestic life in the 1500s-1700s; there is also a library and archive with extensive research resources. shakespeare.org.uk.
• The Alexander Booklovers’ B&B (Princess Anne, Md.)
Here’s the perfect spot to kick off your shoes and read or write: The Alexander Booklovers’ B&B. The literary theme carries on throughout all rooms in the B&B with the cozy Mark Twain Library and Parlor for reading and relaxing and the charming Colette Café for meals. The three guest rooms—the Langston Hughes room, the Robert Louis Stevenson room and the Jane Austen room—are decorated in the spirit and time period of the author. The inn also features literary-themed merchandise and books in its Booklovers’ Shop. bookloversbnb.com.
• Le Pavillon des Lettres (Paris)
Visit the “City of Lights” and choose Le Pavillon des Lettres Hotel (“house of letters”) in the eighth arrondissement to enjoy one of 26 modern-style rooms, each of which is named after an internationally known author with the last name corresponding with the 26 letters of the alphabet. The rooms, decorated with excerpts of the authors’ works on the walls, include authors such as Andersen, Baudelaire, Kafka, Rousseau, Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Yeats. pavillondeslettres.com.
• The Library Hotel (New York)
Treat yourself to a getaway that surrounds you with luxury and a literary aura. You’ll find it The Library Hotel in midtown Manhattan. To get you in the literary mood, the ten floors of guest rooms have been assigned a category from the Dewey Decimal System. Each of the guest rooms boasts an original décor, with art and 25-100 books related to a particular topic within the category of Dewey Decimal System assigned to that floor. For example, the eighth floor is the Literature floor (the “800s” of the Dewey Decimal System), with the six guest rooms decorated in themes of mystery, fairy tales, dramatic literature, poetry, classic fiction and erotic literature. The lobby and reading rooms carry on the book theme. Not only is this a well-appointed boutique hotel, but it’s close to some great New York sightseeing, with the New York Public Library, the Pierpont Morgan Library and the Times Square theater district accessible in the immediate area. libraryhotel.com.