Yorkshire’s top five literary locations

PUBLISHED: 18:42 08 May 2017 | UPDATED: 21:29 04 January 2018

Midnight at Whitby Abbey by Andrew Whitham

Midnight at Whitby Abbey by Andrew Whitham


Yorkshire is the UK’s top county for holidays with a literary link, we explore the highlights.

The countryside outside Haworth by Leonard WaltonThe countryside outside Haworth by Leonard Walton


Wuthering Heights, the immortal tale that was Emily Brontë’s only novel, is set in the moors around Haworth. Early on, Mr Lockwood, the narrator, writes in his journal: ‘In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society.’ He’d probably be pleased to know it’s now get a ready supply of gift shops and tea rooms.

Whitby Goth Weekend by Terence IrwinWhitby Goth Weekend by Terence Irwin


Everyone knows the legend of Dracula, even if they haven’t actually read Bram Stoker’s Gothic novel. The inspiration for the original masterpiece – and all the subsequent films starring toothy chaps in dodgy wigs – came while the author was in Whitby. Hence, the ship bringing the vampire to England runs aground on the windswept North Sea coast and Dracula takes refuge in Whitby Abbey.

Walking the dog in Thirsk by Joan RussellWalking the dog in Thirsk by Joan Russell


You just have to mention James Herriot and everyone immediately starts humming the theme tune from All Creatures Great and Small. The man himself (Alf Wight) lived and worked in Thirsk, and visitors can still travel back in time at his original surgery. Yes, the car is there and, yes, you can do unspeakable things to a plastic cow’s rear-end.

The Old Swan HotelThe Old Swan Hotel


In 1926, best-selling crime novelist Agatha Christie disappeared for ten days. While police scoured the country for her, the mistress of mystery managed to hide in plain sight at a Harrogate hotel. To be fair, she did leave a note saying she was going to Yorkshire, but the police presumably thought it was a red herring.

Hull skyline by Joan RussellHull skyline by Joan Russell


The Tolkien Triangle starts in Hull, where the author was hospitalised twice, and stretches to Hornsea Musketry Camp, his first posting in East Yorkshire. It then bears south, via Roos, to a camp called Thirtle Bridge, where the author recuperated while his wife Edith took lodgings in nearby Withernsea. The triangle then heads to Easington and Kilnsea, where Tolkien was part of the Royal Defence Corps.

For more inspiration, visit visitengland.com/literaryheroes and #BookEngland.

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