Britain is a brilliant place for book lovers to explore and many urban and rural locations have been stomping grounds for famous writers or provided the settings for their most famous fictional works.
If you’re planning a tour of bookish hotspots at some point in the future, this list of five Great British literary locations should help you get started.
- Whitby, Yorkshire
If you’re a Goth, you’ll already be well aware that this Yorkshire seaside town is intimately connected to Bram Stoker’s iconic 1897 novel Dracula.
Stoker was resting in the town in 1890 after a theatrical tour when inspiration struck thanks to the atmospheric Whitby Abbey, the true tale of a shipwreck and the serendipitous discovery of a book referring to Vlad the Impaler in the town library.
Tip: take part in the Dracula Experience while you’re in Whitby – if you dare!
- Leith, Edinburgh
This proud port town in north Edinburgh was a separate entity until 1920 and resident ‘Leithers’ still retain a proudly independent identity.
Much of Leith has been regenerated in recent years and it’s now home to trendy restaurants and Edinburgh’s creative district. But this is the epicentre of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting and many of the book locations remain, like the Volunteer Arms pub (now The Cask & Still), Wonder World Soft Play, which stands on the site of Leith Central Station (which gave the book its title) and Cables Wynd House (the ‘Banana Flats’ where the book’s ‘Sick Boy’ hails from).
Tip: the Black Bull pub in Leith Street is closer to the town centre and famously featured in the opening scenes of the Trainspotting movie adaptation.
- Kings Cross Station, London
Can’t get enough of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter books? Then if you’re in London’s King’s Cross Station you simply must visit the magical Platform 9 ¾!
There platform is clearly signposted and Harry’s trolley is sticking out of the wall for the perfect interdimensional photo opportunity, while you can stock up on memorabilia in the nearby gift shop.
Tip: you can also order from the Harry Potter shop online.
- The Eagle and Child, Oxford
Before J.K. Rowling ruled the world of fantasy literature, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis dominated. And they liked nothing better than downing a beer or three in Oxford’s Eagle and Child pub as they chatted about their Middle Earth and Narnia characters.
Their writers group was known as ‘The Inklings’ and they dubbed the ancient pub (founded in 1650) ‘The Bird and Baby’.
Tip: try the pub’s wild boar and chorizo pie – it’s delish.
- Hill Top House, Lake District
Hill Top House was beloved children’s author Beatrix Potter’s beautiful Lake District residence and when you wander around its grounds you can easily imagine yourself as Peter Rabbit, scurrying away from the cantankerous Mr McGregor.
This compact 17th Century farmhouse is packed full of artefacts which inspired the author’s tales and wandering through the rooms is a must for any serious fan.
Tip: rent a car from UK firm Enjoy Travel to explore the rest of the Lake District.
What are your favourite literary locations? Share them in the comments section!