England is a breeding ground for literary heritage. It was home to some of the greats such as: Charles Dickens, Ian Fleming, Christopher Marlowe and Jane Austen. A simple walk around the countryside can turn into an exciting Novel Adventure if you pick the right spots!
Covid-19 has made 2021 the year for walking, but it doesn’t have to be boring. There are hundreds of beautiful places to go for walks and, if you’re into literature, take a look at our favourite places to walk that are bursting with literary heritage
- Charles Dickens route at Higham
Gad’s Hill Place was the country home of Charles Dickens and the marshland around this location lent itself to the captivating opening of Great Expectations. Dickens was very inspired by Kent and its countryside, and therefore decided to live his last few years there.
A 45-minute walk will take you into the Historic streets of Rochester which is full of inspiration for Dickens including the Dickens festival and the Guildhall Museum which holds some of his best memorabilia. If you walk further into Rochester Highstreet, you will come across Eastgate House, which was featured as Nun’s House in Dickens’s novel, The Pickwick Papers.
2. Marlowe’s Canterbury Walk
Canterbury Is a very special place and is full of Literary secrets and adventures. This particular route is full of beautiful views and isn’t too long if you prefer a walk on the shorter side. Christopher Marlow was born in Canterbury in 1564 and would have walked this very trail hundreds of times!
This beautiful walk will take you through the heart of Canterbury and you pass some beautiful sights such as: The Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey and The Canterbury Tales attraction. The trail is around 2.6km so it is on the easier side for those that don’t tend to walk very often.
FUN FACT: Christopher Marlow was baptised in the Church of St George the Marty in Southwark.
3. ‘In the Footsteps of Jane Austen’ Walk in Bath
Jane Austen moved to Bath in 1801 and lived there for five years. If you walk along the Georgian streets of Bath, you will experience the beautiful, inspirational city life that encouraged Austen to write Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
If you enjoy self-guided tours, Visit Bath have a great audio tour available for you online to follow! The walk lasts around an hour and a half so make sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear.
FUN FACT: Austen’s family rented number 13 on the corner of Queen Square and Prince’s Street in the same year – this is something to look out for if you get the chance to visit!
4. The Shakespeare Heritage Trail
If you are a fan of Shakespeare, then you should definitely get yourself to Stratford Upon-Avon to walk the Shakespeare Heritage Trail.
This is a self-guided tour takes you around the Historic Riverside to see attractions such as: Shakespeare’s birth place, Anne Hathaway’s cottage and Shakespeare’s New Place. In addition to the tour, it will allow you to experience the true beauty and history of Riverside.
The tour takes between 1 and 2 hours, starting in Bancroft Gardens and finishing at The Royal Shakespeare’s Theatre.
FUN FACT: The first Shakespeare theatre that was built in Stratford was wooden and was almost washed away within two days after a terrible storm occurred that resulted in flooding.
For more information about the Shakespeare Heritage Trail, click here.
5. Dive into the JK Rowling’s history in Gloucestershire
If you wanted to go a little further to walk in the trails of a more recent literary icon, then head over to Gloucestershire to experience JK Rowling’s history and Harry Potter in real life!
JK Rowling moved to her Gloucester cottage in 1974 (at the age of 9) and the Rowling family then sold the cottage in 1995. If you walk along the lane, you will see Wyedean Comprehensive School, the primary school that she attended in the early 1980’s.
Lucky for you, if you were to drive 45 minutes, you could then walk around Gloucester Cathedral which is where they filmed Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets!