This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish is a freebie, and seeing as I’ve recently come to the UK for a year of study, I thought I’d use this opportunity to share my list of top literary places I’d like to visit while I’m here. Whether I’ll be able to visit all (or any) of these remains to be seen; but like all travelling bookworms, I dream big.
Top Ten Literary Places I’d Like to Visit (in the UK)
- Abbotsford: Walter Scott’s medieval-style house is, according to descriptions, a testament to this famous Scottish writer’s passion for collecting: books, armour, and hundreds of historical artefacts are on display. It seems like a fascinating insight into the mind of a prolific writer.
- Manchester: Now, judging from Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels, nineteenth-century Manchester was not exactly a place you would want to go. It comes across as drab, dreary, and filled with unhappy and dissatisfied souls. But I loved North and South, and it would be interesting to see the city that inspired it. Not to mention that they recently reopened Elizabeth Gaskell’s house there, and it looks like a fascinating place to visit.
- Greenaway: As a big fan of Agatha Christie, I would love to visit her house in Devon. It looks like it could be the setting of one of her own murder-mysteries. I’d constantly be expecting Poirot to come pottering around the corner.
- Strawberry Hill House: Horace Walpole, the father of Gothic fiction, built this bizarre house on Strawberry Hill, in what is now London. It borrows many elements of Gothic architecture, both inside and out, and apparently it’s one crazy place to visit.
- Whitby Abbey: Apparently the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this ruined abbey looks absolutely picturesque. I’d love to wander around the old ruins, and see the place lit up at night (but from a safe distance, to protect myself from any wandering vampires in the area, of course).
- Tintagel Castle: It’s been associated with Arthurian legends since Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote about it in the twelfth century. The historical evidence that Arthur existed may not be strong, but this castle seems like the perfect place to pretend that he did.
- The Lake District: Numerous poets and novelists have fallen in love with England’s Lake District. When I visited a few years ago, I was stunned by the beauty of the region: the greenery, the sparkling water, the old stone houses scattered here and there. I’ll never forget reading Frankenstein by the open window of my hotel, looking down on the lake as the daylight faded. It’s one of the most simple, and most magical, experiences of my life, and I’d dearly love to return and relive it.
- Dickens’ House, Portsmouth: I’ve been to Dickens’ house in London, and the museum in what was once his childhood home seems like a great complement to that visit.
- Beckford’s Tower, Bath: This strange garden folly was the hideout of William Beckford, the nineteenth-century novelist who in his day was famous for writing the Gothic novel Vathek. He’s less well-known today, but this tower is apparently quite an odd building.
- Edinburgh: Finally, this famous ‘City of Literature’. Edinburgh obviously has a huge number of literary links, and since this is where I’m going to be spending the majority of my time, it seems appropriate that I finish with this beautiful city. From Walter Scott to J.K. Rowling, I’m sure that Edinburgh will provide me with all the literary-themed outings that my little heart could possibly wish for.
Which literary sites are on your ‘To Visit’ list?
Image by Michael Reeve, edited by me.