12 English Literary Landmarks You Need To Visit On Your UK Summer Vacation
While you could spend the final weeks of summer spreading your beach blanket and baking in the sun, there's still time for one more adventure, and a bookish one at that. If you have plans to jet-set across the pond to check out the River Thames or snap a selfie in front of Buckingham Palace, make sure you leave time to visit some literary landmarks in England. There are more than enough to keep you busy all vacation long.
Home to some of the most celebrated authors in literature, England has always been a culture hub for all things bookish. There are childhood homes of famous authors, popular watering holes of literature's greatest minds, and the real-life inspirations behind more than one classic novel. From the legendary Shakespeare's Globe to the Beatrix Potter's Hill Top to Sherlock Holmes's Baker Street, England is peppered with pockets of literary wonder and history, and it's time you took a trip to see it for yourself.
Exchange your dollars for pounds and get ready to drive on the opposite side of the road, because it's time to check out life on the other side of the pond. And while you're there, make sure to add these 12 literary landmarks in England to your travel itinerary.
1. Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey
A famous memorial for the many, many celebrated artists of England, Poet's Corner is a must-see when visiting England. Located in the South Transept of Westminster Abbey, this literary landmark was first the final resting place of Geoffrey Chaucer, and in the over 600 years since has become the burial site for the likes of Charles Dickens, Thomas Campbell, and Alfred Tennyson, as well as the memorial site for W.H. Auden, Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, and so many more.
2. Platform 9 ¾
Get your selfie stick ready, because you're going to need it if you want to get the iconic Harry Potter tourist shot at Platform 9 ¾. Located in the western departures concourse, this literary landmark may be new, but it's the stuff of book nerd dreams.
3. Charles Dickens Museum
Though it was only his place of residence for two years, Charles Dickens' Doughty Street in Holborn should be at the top of your travel itinerary. The site where Dickens wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickelby, this house was turned into an official Charles Dickens Museum that now features everything from original manuscripts to Dicken's own furniture. For serious Dickens' fans, you can even sign up for a costumed Housemaid's Tour held on the third Saturday of every month.
4. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Though the name might not make you think "literary legends," the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese was a popular watering hole for some of the greatest writers of all time. Still standing in its original London location but rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666, this pub has hosted the likes of Mark Twain, W.B. Yeats, Charles Dickens, and Volraire. In between book stores and libraries, make sure you stop in for a pint at the Fleet Street pub, and don't forget to pour one out for your favorite dead author.
5. Ashdown Forest
Escape the hustle and bustle of city tourism for a day in Winnie-the-Pooh's forest. Located in East Sussex, Ashdown Forest was the inspiration and setting for A.A.Milne's classic children's stories. Stroll through the conservation land, climb the wooded hills, and take in all the natural beauty while you scout out the location of Owl's tree home, Poohsticks Bridge, and even more. Isn't bookish nature beautiful?
6. Shakespeare's Globe
You can't go on a literary tour of England without visiting Shakespeare's Globe theater. A reconstruction of the original theater that Shakespeare staged his now legendary plays on, the Globe was originally built in 1599. Now home to exhibits, lectures, and, of course, plays, the current location opened in 1997, and it is truly heaven on Earth for any Shakespeare fan.
7. Roman Baths
Although Jane Austen hated her home in the city of Bath, you'll love visiting this relaxing literary landmarks. Openly criticized in many of her novels, Bath is now a place where you can go to visit not only the Jane Austen Centre, but also stop off at the Roman Baths for a chance to see one of the most beautiful sites in Northern England.
8. Dr. Johnson's House
Where would book nerds be without the dictionary, right? Pay homage to its creator, Dr. Samuel Johnson, by visiting his home in London. You can see where the first A Dictionary of the English Language as written, try on Georgian costumes, relax in the library, and more.
9. Hill Top
Grab your stuffed Peter Rabbit and get ready to take in some of the most beautiful scenery England has to offer when you visit Hill Top, the 17th century home of Beatrix Potter. Now preserved land given to the National Trust at the time of Potter's death, Hill Top is located in the Lake District of Cumbria. You can visit the writer's house, which is now a museum, or just walk around in the beautiful countryside. Either way, its the perfect way to spend a warm summer afternoon.
10. Keats House
Take in the beauty and inspiration of John Keats' home in Hampstead, London, where he lived for two years with his friend, Charles Brown. The location where he wrote "Ode to a Nightingale" and where he saw the first drop of blood of the illness that would eventually kill him, you can visit the Keats residence to check exhibits, original manuscripts and memorabilia, or even hear live poetry readings.
11. Bloomsbury Squares and Gardens
Famous for its tranquil beauty, the Bloomsbury Squares and Gardens are must-see spots on your bookish tour of England. Built by James Burton, a famous property developer in late 18th and early 19th century England, Bloomsbury Square was the meeting spot of many famous writers, artists, and thinkers of the early 20th century. Stroll the idyllic setting and scout out commemorative plaques for Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, and others, or just simply find a sunny spot to relax and read in.
12. The Bookshops of Charing Cross Road
If you're looking for souvenirs before you head home, look no further than Sharing Cross Road. There, you will find a treasure trove of second hand and independent bookshops selling everything from rare and valuable antiques to new releases to cheap used books on the sidewalk. Who needs a plastic model of Big Ben when you have brand new books to take home instead?
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