The United Kingdom is full of a variety of places that are mystical, historical, beautiful or even all of the above! So, it comes as no surprise that there are (at least) six places in the United Kingdom that have inspired authors to write some of the world’s literary masterpieces.
With its gorgeous architecture, Edinburgh is said to have inspired over 500 novels. Three such inspired authors are Robert Burns, Ian Rankin and J.K. Rowling. Burns was one of the foremost champions of the Scottish dialect when publishing his poetry in the 18th century, so much so that he is now celebrated on Burns Night every January 25th (his birthday). Fast forward to more recent times where you can embark on a city walking tour to visit the favourite haunts of Inspector Rebus (the protagonist of Rankin’s famous detective series) or visit The Elephant House Cafe, where J.K. Rowling penned the first Harry Potter book.
2. Lake District
The Lake District is famous for its tranquil settings amongst lakes, mountains and the countryside. The serenity here provided the perfect place for Beatrix Potter to dream up beloved tales. She wrote and illustrated her children’s storybooks, including Peter Rabbit, at her 17th century Hill Top house.
One step onto the hallowed grounds of Oxford and you can instantly tell how and why it inspired the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman. These three authors all spent time here at the prestigious University of Oxford. You can find the doorway to Narnia along St Mary’s Passage (keep an eye out for the doorway with a lion’s head knocker) or find a few minutes of peace on Will and Lyra’s bench (from His Dark Materials trilogy) in the Oxford Botanic Gardens.
The streets of London have been the stomping ground for authors like Charles Dickens, Ian Fleming and Arthur Conan Doyle. You can just picture Sherlock Holmes and James Bond on their wild adventures through the capital city, solving mysteries and saving the world! London also provides some great literary landmarks that are a must-visit for book lovers – the famous Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Fitzroy Tavern which was the meeting place for London’s artists in the 1900’s, and the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street.
Another capital city providing inspiration for authors is a no brainer. Dublin was much loved by James Joyce (regarded as one of Ireland’s most influential writers of the 20th century), Oscar Wilde (famous for The Picture of Dorian Gray novel and The Importance of Being Earnest comedy), and W.B. Yeats (one of Ireland’s beloved poets). Any kind of literature is held in high regard in Dublin at the Old Library of Trinity College. Any publisher in Ireland is legally obligated to deposit a copy of any of their publications here, so it holds over seven million published items.
Just two hours’ drive north-west from London is the charming village of Stratford-upon-Avon, famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare in 1564. Millions of people visit each year, some paying homage to one of the world’s greatest playwrights. Shakespeare wrote his 37 plays either here, or in London, and you can attend one of his plays at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Other notable landmarks include Shakespeare’s Way (a footpath opened in 2006 that traces the route he would walk between home and work) and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (where Shakespeare’s wife lived before she married him).