Bookish Places to Visit in England

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I love travelling as it is, but what I love more than that is travelling to places of literary interest. London is a great place to begin, it being the capital and all, especially as there are so many blue plaques to find. But there are many more places outside of London that you can visit. Here are a few I hope to get to in the near future.

Oxford

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Oxford is probably one of the most literary places in England! The origins of CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and even Lewis Carroll who attended Christ Church College. You might be aware of the famous Inklings who, together with Lewis and Tolkien, met often at the Eagle and Child pub to share their work. To top it off, even a few scenes of Harry Potter were filmed around the city.

Yorkshire

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Yorkshire is world-famous in particular for the Bronte family. Charlotte, Emily and Anne were three sisters who wrote some of the most prolific and well-loved classics, and they lived with the rest of their family in Haworth, a small town not too far from Leeds where their father was the priest there. Another noteworthy literary site is the burial place of Sylvia Plath in Heptonstall, which also resides not too far from Leeds.

Edinburgh

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I didn’t realise that Edinburgh was as literary as it is, but in fact, it is very literary! Arthur Conan Doyle was born and raised here, in 11 Picardy Place, where there is a Sherlock Holmes memorial statue and the Conan Doyle Pub to celebrate the writer’s life. JK Rowling also wrote the majority of the first few Harry Potter books in and around Edinburgh. The Elephant House Cafe boasts that it housed the writer as she was drafting the famous Potter books.

Dublin

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Dublin is home to many, many literary greats! Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and James Joyce to name a few! It’s picturesque and hygge aesthetic is enough to set any blogger’s and book lover’s hearts alight! Joyce even based a short story anthology around the city he loved so dearly, titled Dubliners. If you’re looking for a bit more information on Dublin Writers History, there’s even a Writer’s Museum to get you clued up.

Devon

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In particular for fans of Agatha Christie, whose holiday home Greenway is now owned and maintained by the National Trust and well worth a visit if you’re a hardcore fan. Devon was also home to Sylvia Plath’s husband Ted Hughes, and was also the setting and inspiration for the popular Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles.

These five places are on top of my literary bucket list, and hopefully after this post, they’ll be on yours too. Is there anywhere you’d like to go and visit? Literary or otherwise? Let me know in the comments!

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Gothic Reads for Halloween!

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Autumn is my favourite season, and I love nothing better than getting cosy with a blanket, a cup of tea and a book. This season I’ll be trying to pick up more Gothic reads, especially as Halloween is right around the corner. Here are my top five I think you should be reading over the holiday season.

These books are in no particular order.

1

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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The scientist Victor Frankenstein, obsessed with possessing the secrets of life, creates a new being from the bodies of the dead. But his creature is a twisted, gruesome parody of a man who, rejected for his monstrous appearance, sets out to destroy his maker. – from Goodreads.com

Perhaps THE original Gothic horror novel, and if you’re not sufficiently scared out of your wits by the source material you can always watch the critically acclaimed and scary as hell adaptation by Kenneth Branagh.

2

Dr Jeykll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Published as a shilling shocker, Robert Louis Stevenson’s dark psychological fantasy gave birth to the idea of the split personality. The story of respectable Dr Jekyll’s strange association with damnable young man Edward Hyde; the hunt through fog-bound London for a killer; and the final revelation of Hyde’s true identity is a chilling exploration of humanity’s basest capacity for evil. – from Goodreads.com

The novel that kick started the “split personality plot device”, although Dr Jeykll doesn’t just lose his mind when he becomes Mr Hyde, his body changes too. This one is very short, so if you’re looking for a Gothic novel to read on your lunch break then this one is for you.

3

Dracula by Bram Stoker

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When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. – from Goodreads.com

I think it’s safe to assume that all these books I’ll be presenting to you are corner stones of their genre. Dracula kick started the popularity of vampire books, which ultimately led us to Twilight. A lot of vampire cliches originate from this book, which just goes to show how much it is still considered in popular culture.

4

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. – from Goodreads.com

Another “split personality” book, although this time the main character places his debauchery inside a portrait whilst he lives out the rest of his eternal life. Does that sound sensible to you? Of course not, but to say that it catches up with Dorian is an understatement.

5

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before: of the intense passion between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and her betrayal of him. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past. – from Goodreads.com

One of my favourites and so atmospheric! The moors, the wind, Wuthering Heights and Thurshcross Grange towering above. On a windy night, you could almost hear Cathy tapping at your window.

These are the top five books I would recommend to read for Halloween. What books made your list? Let me know in the comments!