From Charles Dickens to J. K. Rowling, Britain’s the place to be for bookworms – and with a host of literary anniversaries in 2020, there’s no time like now to visit! Commemorate the 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ death at ‘Deciphering Dickens’, mark 250 years of Wordsworth with a pilgrimage to the Wordsworth Museum in the Lake District or celebrate the 200th anniversary of Anne Brontë’s birth with a tour of the wind-swept Yorkshire Moors. Discover cobbled streets once walked by literary legends, explore famous writer’s homes, or let imaginations run wild as you wander the British countryside, a muse for so many poets and novelists. From Keats to Roald Dahl, join our countdown and discover the year of the bookworm in Britain.
250 years since… the birth of Wordsworth
Celebrating 250 years since William Wordsworth was born, 2020 is a fantastic time for travellers to immerse themselves in the tranquil landscape that the Romantic poet adored so much. With a new exhibition focusing on William’s childhood and how it influenced his work, there’s no time like his anniversary to visit Wordsworth House and Garden in Cockermouth – his birthplace and childhood home. Want to discover more? Head to the ‘Reimagining Wordsworth’ exhibition at the Wordsworth Museum and Dove Cottage. Home to the poet and his sister Dorothy from 1799, the recently-refurbished cottage is a perfectly-preserved time capsule from the era and is filled with antique furniture and trinkets, while the expanded museum promises an even deeper insight into the life and times of the renowned writer.
200 years since… the birth of Anne Brontë
2020 marks 200 years since the birth of Anne Brontë, the youngest of the legendary literary family. Having written what is considered to be one of the first ever feminist novels, as well as the classic Agnes Grey, in the mid-1800s, Anne and her sisters paved the way for many female writers to come. Get inspired and explore the picturesque village of Haworth in Yorkshire, where the Brontës lived and wrote. Wander the cobbled streets, enjoy a drink at the local pub and step into a scene straight from Wuthering Heights on a walk through the brooding moorland, before stopping off at The Bronte Parsonage Museum for a deeper insight into the family’s literary legacy.
200 years since… Keats’ Poems published in 1820
For lovers of Romantic poetry, 2020 marks 200 years since Keats published his final volume of poetry. Hop on the overground from central London to the leafy haven of Hampstead Heath, from where the writer drew much of his inspiration. Start by exploring Keats House, where he lived and penned his famous Ode to a Nightingale. Home to first editions of his work and artefacts from his passionate love affair with Fanny Brawne, the house offers a poignant insight into the life and loves of one of the world’s most famous authors. Afterwards, enjoy a short stroll to the Heath itself, a beautiful green space that inspired many writers and artists throughout the years with its wild swimming ponds, wildlife and stunning vistas of the city.
150 years since… the death of Charles Dickens
With his evocative descriptions of dimly lit streets, eclectic characters and impossible hardship, Charles Dickens has been taking readers on unforgettable journeys through Victorian London since the 1800s. Marking 150 since the writer’s death, 2020 is the ideal time for Dicken’s fans to trace the footsteps of the legendary author with a Charles Dickens walking tour. Explore the capital as seen by the writer himself and discover the haunts of his famous and infamous characters as revealed by an expert guide. Alternatively, travel to Hampshire on a visit to the author’s birthplace, now a dedicated Charles Dickens museum. Walk around the humble house in the town of Portsmouth where the writer was born, and discover fascinating objects from his life, including his snuffbox, inkwell and paper knife.
150 years since… William Morris’s The Earthly Paradise
Celebrate 150 years since William Morris’ epic poem, The Earthly Paradise was published with a visit to the William Morris Gallery, in north London. Brimming with original work by the Arts & Crafts hero, including art, prints and fascinating artefacts, the gallery gives a fantastic insight into Morris’ creative mind. Hungry for more artistic inspiration? Take a visit to his home, the Red House, in south London. The location where he lived and created his most iconic work, every inch of the house is decorated in classic Morris style, so prepare for some serious interiors envy!
100 years since… D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love
Fans of D. H. Lawrence can celebrate one hundred years since the publication of Women in Love on a visit to his birthplace. Now a museum documenting the writer’s humble upbringing in a traditional mining community, visitors can discover more about the writer’s life and times and see his personal possessions, including some of his original watercolour paintings. Located just 30 minutes from Nottingham city centre, this is a real hidden gem for bookworms!
50 years since… Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox
Packed with themed galleries, interactive activities, free storytelling and a chance to peek into his writing hut, the Roald Dahl Museum is a fantastic day out and the perfect way to inspire little creative minds. Explore the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire where the famous children’s writer lived, get involved in Roald Dahl Day on 13 September, an annual holiday celebrating the works of one of the world’s best love children’s authors, and celebrate 50 years since the charming Fantastic Mr Fox was published.
50 years since…Ted Hughes’s Crow
Fans of more modern poetry can celebrate 50 years since Ted Hughes published one of his most famous works, Crow: from the Life and Songs of the Crow, with an overnight stay at his family home! Nestled in West Yorkshire’s Upper Calder Valley, this modest house-turned-B&B is surrounded by the vast countryside that Ted explored endlessly in his early years. Pack a picnic and discover the very moorland that inspired Hughes’s Remains of Elmet – don’t forget to bring a pen and paper along for when inspiration hits!
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