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Image © simon sugden via Flickr

Take a Trip: Visit Brontë Country, Yorkshire

6 November 2019 | Maisy Farren

The wild moorland, semi-deserted mansions and austere boarding schools of the Brontë novels may have been concocted in the minds of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë, but their inspiration came from the beautiful Yorkshire landscape in which they grew up. Take a trip to the Northern countryside to soak up the world of the Brontë sisters and learn a little bit more about these literary icons. Embark on a Brontë Walk for a guided tour of the area, or plan your own mini road trip with our handy guide to Brontë Country! 

Image credit: woodytyke via Flickr 
Haworth, West Yorkshire
 
The go-to location for lovers of the Brontë legacy is the West Yorkshire village of Haworth. Located just 10 miles from Bradford, this picturesque village is where the Brontë sisters lived for the majority of their lives, and the location of the Brontë Parsonage Museum. A property trapped in time, the parsonage is the place that the sisters and their family lived (and died) from 1820. Discover not only a fascinating display of day-to-day life in the mid 19thcentury but also the dining room spot where the Brontë masterpieces and poems were penned. The library contains the world’s largest selection of Brontë research material (original documents and books etc) and the exhibition room offers an introduction into the history of the literary family.
 
Once you’ve explored the Parsonage Museum then be sure to saunter through the village, enjoying one of Yorkshire’s most beautiful spots. It is, of course, a much nicer place to visit than in the mid 1800’s, where poor sanitation and water infected from the village cemetery made the average age of death a heart-breaking 24-years-old! Thankfully, in the 21stcentury the village maintains beautiful Victorian charm without the unhygienic living conditions. The entire village is laid out around the steep cobbled Main Street where you’ll find plenty of independent shops and cafes to enjoy. Visit the traditional Mrs Beighton’s Sweet Shop, pick up an illustrated copy of Jane Eyre at The Haworth and Brontë Gift Shop then stop off for tea at Bronte Boardwalk.  
 
Unsurprisingly, Haworth is surrounded by rugged moorland that inspired the dark and stormy setting of Wuthering Heights. From the Parsonage Museum you can set off on a circular walk into the Haworth Moors, hiking 2 ½ miles up to the bustling Brontë Waterfall. Be aware that the weather in the Yorkshire countryside can be testing at times, so come prepared in sturdy walking boots and wrapped up warm. After all, wutheringis a Yorkshire phrase for strong winds! Stop off on your way back in the Wuthering Heights Inn, enjoying a hearty meal and strong pint of ale. 


Image credit: Jimmy Lenman via Flickr 
Thornton, West Yorkshire
 
Just 6 miles from Haworth lies the village of Thornton, famously the birthplace of the Brontë sisters. Born between 1816 and 1820, all three sisters were born here on the village’s Market Street before moving to Haworth later in 1820. Whilst the girls didn’t experience much life in this quiet spot, it is the place that Charlotte and Emily would maintain memories of their mother who died in 1821. As it stands the Brontë birthplace is a welcoming bistro named Emily’s. Visit the revered blue plaque and stop off for a bite to eat. 
 

Image credit: Richard Southwell via Flickr 
Scarborough, North Yorkshire
 
The youngest of the sisters, Anne, died in 1849 at just 29. She died in Scarborough, a town on the North Yorkshire coast that she held dear to her heart. Visit her final resting place at St Mary’s Church, just moments from the seafront. The town features in both of Anne’s novels - Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall– and she reportedly wished to open a school here. You’ll find a blue plaque at the town’s Grand Hotel, the site where the writer’s lodgings were and where she sadly passed away. 


Image credit: Bronte School House via Facebook
Cowan Bridge, Lancashire
 
Crossing over the border into Lancashire takes you to the tiny village of Cowan Bridge, the location of the Brontë’s old schoolhouse. In 1825 the widowed Reverend Peter Brontë sent his four oldest girls (Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily) 40 miles away to Cowan Bridge School, a boarding school for members of the clergy. The horrifying conditions at this boarding school provided inspiration for Jane Eyre’s Lowood School. As with many boarding schools of the time, the children faced malnutrition, abuse and disgusting standards of hygiene at Cowan Bridge. Tragically, Maria and Elizabeth both contracted tuberculosis at the school and died within weeks of returning to Haworth, provoking Mr Brontë to pull Charlotte and Emily out of school and refuse to send Anne. Despite being instilled with a sad history, the former schoolhouse remains to be a Grade II listed building and has been converted into a beautiful self-catered holiday cottage. Stay in Brontë School House throughout your Brontë Country stay. 

The perfect accompaniment to your Yorkshire trip is the full selection of Brontë novels – click here to enter our competition for the full set! 
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