Throughout history, so many talented writers have been born and lived in the UK, so it’s really no surprise that the country inspired some of their greatest tales. From the enchanting countryside that birthed The Tale of Peter Rabbit to the cobbled streets that gave us Harry Potter, these are the places that inspired the UK’s best-loved books.
Writer: William Shakespeare
Place to stay: 24 College Lane
Stratford-upon-Avon is a thriving market town in Warwickshire where the world-famous William Shakespeare was born and buried. Visit the town and you’ll get to walk in the footsteps of one of the best playwrights in history. A trip to the Royal Shakespeare Company is a must, as well as exploring the house he was born in. Wander the charming streets to see more of the town that inspired Shakespeare’s plays. Take in its romantic Tudor architecture and enjoy a relaxing stroll along the beautiful River Avon.
2. Lake District
Writer: Beatrix Potter
Place to stay: Craftsman Cottage
Spending many of her family holidays here, the enchanting Lake District landscapes inspired many of Beatrix Potter’s famous stories, like that of the cheeky Peter Rabbit. Passionate about conservation, Potter bought farms in Cumbria to stop them from being developed. When she died, she left her estate of 15 farms and her beloved Hill Top House to the National Trust. Visit this magnificent site to get a snapshot into her life, and see the writer’s magical stories brought to life at The World of Beatrix Potter.
Writer: J.K. Rowling
Place to stay: No1 Apartment New Town
J.K. Rowling took inspiration for the much-loved Harry Potter books all over Scotland’s city of Edinburgh, like George Heriot’s School and Victoria Street. Even names she spotted on gravestones slipped into her book – William McGonagall, Elizabeth Moodie and Daniel Scrymgeour. Pop by The Elephant House for coffee and cake and sit in the same spot J. K. Rowling often spent her afternoons writing and gazing out at Edinburgh Castle.
Writer: Bram Stoker
Place to stay: Collie Cottage
With its Gothic architecture and majestic medieval abbey, it’s easy to see how Whitby was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Wander the streets of this town in Yorkshire and you’ll discover parts of Dracula all around you, like the famous 199 steps, Whitby Abbey and St. Mary’s Church. If you visit, don’t miss The Dracula Experience. This guided tour will take you back in time, bringing Stoker’s novel to life through animation and special effects.
Writer: Charles Dickens
Place to stay: Cedar Villa
Charles Dickens’ happy childhood days were spent in Medway. In fact, many of his famous tales and characters are set in this town in Kent. Surrounded by unspoilt countryside and impressive Norman architecture, many of the buildings and landscapes made it into his books, too. Explore Dicken’s life, his work and the places that inspired him at The Guildhall Museum. And a visit to his Swiss Chalet is a must, it’s where the author worked on some of his best-known tales.
Writer: Roald Dahl
Place to stay: Pen Dinas
Not many people know that much of Roald Dahl’s inspiration came from growing up in Wales. He was born in Cardiff and lived there until he was nine. Even though he only lived here for a short time, many of his memories from his birthplace found their way into his books. What was once Mrs Pratchett’s Sweet Shop, inspired his book The Great Mouse Plot. And he used to reminisce about his family holidays to Tenby, which would’ve played their part in his work, too.
Writer: Virginia Woolf
Place to stay: Albany House Studio
Bloomsbury became a huge part of Virginia Woolf’s life and her greatest works. But it wasn’t just the bougie life in London that inspired Woolf, but also the people she met there. The writer was hugely influential in the Bloomsbury Group – a group of writers and artists who met regularly to discuss everything from art to politics. Gordon Square was a huge part of Woolf’s life, visit here to imagine how she spent her younger days with other Bloomsbury writers and her friends.