Last in my series on literary travel, it’s the turn of the UK and inspiration for Emily Bronte.
HAWORTH, WEST YORKSHIRE, UK: WUTHERING HEIGHTS BY EMILY BRONTE
Mention Emily Bronte’s masterpiece Wuthering Heights and the desolate and rugged Yorkshire Moors will spring to mind. Forever linked, (it’s not called Bronte Country for nothing) it is the sweeping moorland views from the isolated farmstead of Top Withens, near Oxenthope, that reportedly inspired one of Britain’s finest pieces of writing. Emily was just two years old when the family moved to Haworth in 1820, to live in the village parsonage. It meant she had around 27 years to soak up the ‘fleecy clouds’, the ‘golden rocks’ and the ‘misty darkness’ before she actually wrote her novel and imagined one of literature’s greatest hero’s Mr Heathcliffe.
WHERE TO GO
The surrounding area around the pretty village of Haworth is full of Bronte sights but a good start is at the Haworth Parsonage itself. It’s now preserved as the Bronte Museum, with rooms recreated as to how the Brontes would have lived. Check out the dining room, where Wuthering Heights was penned. The narrow, cobbled main street of Haworth remains largely the same as it would have been when the family arrived (minus the Jayne Eyre tea shops, of course) and leads steeply to the St Michael’s and All Angels’ Church where the Brontes are buried (Haworth-village.org.uk). To explore the moors, the Bronte Way is a marked footpath that takes in many of the sights that inspired Emily, Charlotte and Anne. Alternatively, take the Pennine Way National Trail, which takes you past Top Withins, the ruins on which Heathcliffe’s Wuthering Heights farmhouse is based on.
WHERE TO EAT
Warm up after a bracing walk with a refined afternoon tea at Ashmount Country House in Haworth, which has two AA rosettes for its Drawing Room restaurant (ashmountharworth.co.uk).
WHERE TO STAY
Submerge yourself in Bronte life by staying at the Bronte School House (sawdays.co.uk) on the doorstep to the moors. This listed, lovingly restored cottage was once the Clergy Daughters’ School, attended by Emily and Charlotte Bronte. Nowadays it’s been made cosy with a wood-burner, iron bedsteads and cottage garden. It’s the perfect shelter after a windswept day.