Yorkshire is heaven for Brontë fans, peppered with locations said to have inspired Emily’s brooding Heathcliffe or Charlotte’s plucky Jane Eyre, to the point where the south Pennine hills in West Yorkshire have been nicknamed ‘Brontë Country’.
Most Brontë tourism centres around Haworth, the village where the Brontë sisters lived and wrote most of their novels, at the Brontë Parsonage. But the Brontë influence extended far beyond the cobbled streets of their home village and, in honour of Yorkshire Day, we’ve planned the perfect Yorkshire itinerary for every Brontë fan, based on your favourite novel.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Wycoller Country Park
The heroine of Jane Eyre was famously fond of reading, walking, and the occasional spot of rebellion. Which is fitting because Yorkshire Day started off as a protest movement against a local government reorganisation in 1974.
So enthusiasts should head over to Pendle Witch Country, stretching along the northwestern edge of Brontë country and East Lancashire. Start in Colne, visit Wycoller Country Park and take a look at the ruins of Wycoller Hall (said to be the inspiration for Ferndean Manor in Jane Eyre) then make your way to the village of Burnley, home to Gawthorpe Hall.
The Brontë Way
Charlotte Brontë was a regular visitor to this Elizabethan house and today Gawthorpe Hall is one of the Brontë Way trailheads. The Brontë Way is a 43-mile-long footpath across the South Pennines to Haworth, where you can check into The Fleece Inn, a traditional hotel which even has a Brontë Suite for diehard fans.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Unlike her sisters, Emily Brontë was something of a recluse and preferred to focus her literary talents upon her immediate surroundings. The Haworth moors were dark and brooding enough to inspire Heathcliff, one of literature’s most tempestuous antiheroes, Wuthering Heights devotees don’t need to travel far to see why.
Once you’ve checked into The Old Registry (a luxury hotel just down the road from the Parsonage in Haworth) walk up to Top Withens. The Brontë sisters frequently visited this stretch of isolated moorland and Top Withens is a ruined farmhouse, which apparently inspired the Earnshaw house in Wuthering Heights.
The village of Haworth
On your way back down stop off at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, the perfectly-preserved home of Charlotte, Anne, and Emily. Here you will find the desk where Emily first sketched out Wuthering Heights and, for the more gruesomely minded, the chaise longue on which she died.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
Book lovers with a soft spot for Anne, the youngest Brontë sister, will relish the chance to visit Ponden Hall in Keighley – the inspiration for the title property in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – and the nearby Blake Hall at the village of Mirford. Anne worked here as a governess and later used the hall as inspiration for Arthur Huntingdon’s country seat.
The journey from Stanbury to Haworth is only a 10-minute car ride, although many visitors prefer to make the journey by foot and admire surroundings that in some cases have changed little since Anne travelled that same route.
Hatchard and Daughters bookshop
Upon reaching Haworth check into Wilsons of Haworth, a guesthouse directly opposite the Brontë Parsonage, and then head out for tea and scones at one of the village’s many teashops. Finally, pay a visit to Haworth’s second-hand bookshop, Hatchard and Daughters, to pick up a copy of Agnes Grey.