I want to take a literary dream trip.
Actually, I want to take a million literary dream trips to a million different countries, but no one has time to stroll through all my bookish fantasies. It’s summer, and we all wanna enjoy warm sunny skies (at least in the northern hemisphere).
So, for this post, we’re sticking to Britain.
As a student, in both high school and college, I absolutely loved British literature. Despite my youthful unwillingness to try hard in most classes, Wordworth’s Romantic poetry still swept me to green valleys and made me contemplate the benefits of a slower paced life. Shakespeare still provoked me to critically think about humankind’s awe-inspiring yet terrifying qualities. Austen’s sharp and sarcastic social commentaries still made me laugh at inappropriate times.
If you’re a massive lover of literature, especially of the Charles Dickens and Jane Austen variety, then England should definitely rank high on your travel goals list.
But where to start?
As a disclaimer, I haven’t visited these places (yet!). So I’m not necessarily endorsing them as the most mind-shattering destinations on earth, but there aren’t any doubts that each place has connections to the most beloved British literature in history.
- Bloomsbury: Bloomsbury is a historically rich district made famous by authors like Virginia Woolf, E.M. Foster, Lytton Strachey, and more. I would love to take a literary walk here, as well as visit the next major site on my list.
- The British Library: I’m a sucker for beautiful libraries. For example, Trinity College’s library was one of the major highlights of my stay in Dublin. The British Library houses 14 million books, some of them rare and old. Very old. And 14 million? Be still, my beating heart.
- Charles Dickens Museum: I missed this museum on my trip to London, which makes me so sad! I love most of Dickens’s work despite his excessive wordiness. The museum itself is located inside the author’s former home at 48 Doughty Street.
- The Globe Theatre: Do I really have to elaborate here? I wanna see a performance of Hamlet.
- Keats House: Located in Hampstead, this gorgeous little white house was the residence of John Keats. More lately, I’ve been fascinated by Keats’s poetry. Probably my whole fear of death thing I got going on. Oh, anxiety, you’re a beast.
- Platform 9 & 3/4: Okay, I’d probably pose, take a silly picture here, and then leave, but it’s still awesome Platform 9 and 3/4 is actually a thing at Kings Cross Station.
- Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey: I’ve already visited this spot (yay), but want to return to Poet’s Corner to read every grave and pay my respects to so many writers who’ve inspired me enough to complete a masters in English.
- Deacon Brodies Tavern: I used to be obsessed with “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” in 11th grade (don’t judge me), so I’d love to have a drink in the place where Robert Stevenson was inspired to write his twisted tale about good and evil.
- Elephant House: Who could forget about the coffee house where J.K. Rowling first wrote Harry Potter? Not me!
- The Scottish Poetry Library: A beautiful specialty library that holds 30,000 of Scottish and international poetry.
- Bath: Okay, apparently Jane Austen was miserable in Bath, but I want an excuse to return to this city and pretend I’m a heroine in a regency romance.
- Grassmere and the Lake District: Romanticism is probably one of my favorite literary movements ever. (See how I connect it to travel here). Grassmere is where William Wordsworth, who is pretty much a “founding figure” of the British Romantic Movement, wrote some of his most well-known poetry. Plus the Lake District looks stunning – green lush valleys and crystal waters – so a visit would give me a perfect excuse to commune with nature like the Romantics did!
- Greenway Estate: Agatha Christie’s home. I used to read her mystery novels all the time in college, and would always completely fail at guessing the endings. It’s a good thing I’m a teacher, not a detective.
- Haworth Village: Welcome to the heart of Bronte country! “Wuthering Heights” is one of my favorite unromantic novels of all time. In particular, I’d love to see The Bronte Parsonage where the three sisters wrote their famous works.
- Jane Austen House and Museum: Located in Chawton, this house is where Jane Austen spent the last years of her life.
- Oxford: Both the city and university are packed with literary sites. In particular, I’d love to check out The Eagle and Child Pub where J. R. R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and more literary superstars would discuss literature. Oxford’s Wolvercote Cemetery is also where J. R. R. Tolkien is buried.
Do you think I can accomplish my literary dream trip? What are your favorite literary sites in England? Share in the comments. Or, you know, give me some book recommendations so I can defeat my reading slump. Thanks for visiting!