World Book Day: Must-visit Staycations for Bookworms

The UK has been the birthplace of numerous great authors and the setting for many renowned books, from epic classics to gripping thrillers. And, in honour of this year’s World Book Day (today, 7th March), we spoke with UK travel expert Francesca Houldsworth at Verdant Leisure who has curated a list of some of the best bookish locations up and down the country.

Whether it’s the sandy stretches of Devon – where Agatha Christie wrote some of her best works – or the isle on which literary detective Vera resides, here are five book-inspired destinations to add to your bucket list.

1. Northumberland

Francesca said: “Rich in literary history, Northumberland is most known to be the fictional home of a much-loved book (and TV) detective, who resides on Holy Island, located just off the rugged Northumberland coast. The Vera Stanhope series, written by Anne Cleeves, is set amongst the region’s expansive countryside and beautiful beaches.

“Following the crime theme, both the DCI Kate Daniels and DCI Ryan series are set amongst the inspiring backdrop of the northeast. Fans of classic literature will also be intrigued to explore Northumberland, the area which Sir Walter Scotts’ novel, Rob Roy, is set.”

2. Devon

“In the stunning coastal region of Devon, Agatha Christie and her expansive collection of detective novels were born. While some of her stories are set across the world, others such as the iconic A.B.C Murders and The Sittaford Mystery, take place in the heart of her home county.

“Christie is not the only notable literary figure to take inspiration from Devon. Michael Morpurgo’s renowned novel, War Horse, was influenced by the veterans he met at a local pub in the southern county, whilst Arthur Conan Doyle set his most famous novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, amongst Dartmoor National Park.”

3. Aberdeenshire

“Bram Stoker’s world famous novel Dracula is famously set in Whitby, but it’s Slain Castle where Stoker spent his days writing the novel. Originally built in 1597, the fortification in Aberdeenshire is said to have been the inspiration for much of the novel.

“Historically a backdrop for more classic literature, one of Aberdeenshire’s most notable works is Lewis Grassic Gibbons’ Sunset Song, depicting the coming-of-age in rural Scotland. While contemporary novels set in the area include the Granite City series of crime thrillers by Stuart MacBride.”

4. Lake District

“The Lake District’s beautiful scenery has been the muse for many great authors. Grasmere is where the famous poet William Wordsworth lived for the majority of his life. Visitors can walk around his former house and gardens, Dove Cottage, which is now looked after by the National Trust and acts as a museum for the poet.

“Beatrix Potter’s infamous Petter Rabbit books are also set amongst the scenic views of the Lake District, which is beautifully illustrated throughout her works. Fans of her books can visit The World of Beatrix Potter, a popular attraction in Windermere.”

5. County Durham

“Through the ages, County Durham has been the inspiration for an array of poets and authors including some of the greats. When researching his novel, Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens visited Barnard Castle and was prompted to create the characters of Wackford Squeers and Smike.

“The Victorian poet, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning was born in the northern county, where she wrote sonnets of love for her husband Robert Browning. As well as Northumberland, Sir Walter Scott explored the Durham area when writing, and was said to have been inspired by Teesdale when composing the poem Rokeby.”

Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break magazine. She studied English Literature at Fairfield University in Connecticut whilst taking evening classes in journalism at MediaBistro in NYC. She then pursued a BA degree in Public Relations at Bournemouth University in the UK. With a background working in the PR industry in Los Angeles, Barcelona and London, Charlotte then moved on to launching Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden and has been running the online magazine for the past 10 years. She is a mother, an avid reader, runner and puts a bit too much effort into perfecting her morning brew.