Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Best Literary Hotels in the UK


You might have noticed that we're a little bit book obsessed. When it comes to our holidays, we just want to stick our nose in a good book and forget about the world. We've featured a few bookish hotels already - we're temped to move into Gladstones Library, the library in Hazlitt's is utterly divine and a spooky trip to Du Maurier's Jamaica Inn sounds very exciting. After being utterly disappointed by the Cadogan Hotel (this is where Oscar Wilde was arrested, but I didn't even stay for a drink it was so horrible) I decided to look for some literary places to stay across the country. Pack a lot of books, this could be a long trip.


Thankfully, London does have some good bookish options - The Langham (pictured) has had a whole host of writers visit over the years, but it's Conan Doyle who was the most frequent visitor as he lived nearby. And The Dorchester used to host the famous Foyles Literary Lunches, where readers could meet writers - I really wish they'd do those again.


Let's head up to Cumbria now, to pay Greta Hall a visit. It used to be owned by Coleridge and Wordsworth, Byron and Keats were regular visitors. Now you can stay here and drink red wine write lakeside poetry. There are different areas to stay in - the smallest sleeps two for £370 a week.


Plas tan-yr-allt might look modern now but in 1812 the house belonged to Percy Shelley. Now you can rent it for £2500 a week - it sleeps six which means it's only around £60 per person per night.


Want to stay in Virginia Woolf's childhood home? (I'm trying to read To The Lighthouse, it needs a car chase or two.) Talland House is available for rent from £150 a week. I'm really sorry about the rubbish website. St Ives is lovely, honest.


I've got a bit of a thing about Ted Hughes (seriously, have you read Birthday Letters? It'll break your heart). I'm desperate to stay at Lumb Bank on an Arvon writing retreat - he used to own the house.


Eilean Shona is the island that J.M Barrie rented in the 20s - this is where he penned Peter Pan! It sleeps 20 lost boys and can be rented from Petersham Properties. Captain Hook is probably lurking on the island somewhere.


North Lees Hall is said to be the inspiration behind Thornfield in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (depending on who you believe, anyway). Now you can rent the gorgeous building from the Vivat Trust for around £600 for two nights.


If you want your writer journey a little more modern, you'll like The Balmoral in Edinburgh - this is where JK Rowling finished the last Harry Potter book.


Like your murder mysteries? Agatha Christie made Burgh Island (just off the coast of Devon) her second home. Some of our favourite Poirots could have been written here. Death on the Nile is the best, obviously.

Know of any more literary places to stay? Tell me where, I want to visit them all.

Want more travel ideas? Check out our ever-growing boutique hotel map!

16 comments:

  1. You can stay in another of Agatha Christie's homes, too: Greenway in Devon: http://www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk/cottage/the-apartment-012038/. Would love to stay there!

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    1. Oooh! I do want to stay there!

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  2. Thanks so much for this! Any excuse to go travelling and read somewhere rich in history :)

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    1. It was so much fun to put together!

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  3. You can stay in Dickens' bedroom in Bleak House in Broadstairs. And sleep in the bed that Queen Victoria slept in to boot! www.bleakhousebroadstairs.co.uk

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    1. I thought you could, but I couldn't find a site for it! He used to drink in the Trafalgar in Greenwich, not far from DS HQ.

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  4. I think I might move into Gladstone's Library. For all the time.

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  5. Readers can meet writers!

    And get a yummy dinner too.

    http://www.literarydinners.com/

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  6. It is said that Agatha Christie wrote Death on the Nile in the Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor, a beautiful hotel! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sofitel_Winter_Palace_Hotel

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    1. Then in that case, I must visit immediately.

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  7. I am drooling over Gladstone's Library. There is so much research/general writing I never find the time to do at home, maybe I'll have to book myself a holiday.

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    1. It's a really special place, and not at all expensive!

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  8. Eric Blair, or George Orwell as he was more commonly known, finished 1984 on the island of Jura off the west coast of Scotland (I only know because I'm from the island next door, Islay).
    If you want a retreat in the middle of no where http://www.theisleofjura.co.uk/index%20files/Croft_and_Farm_and_Estate/Barnhill.html

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    1. I'm going to need to make another list, aren't I?

      I wrote about Islay recently:

      http://www.domesticsluttery.com/2013/04/the-most-remote-boutique-hotels-in-uk.html

      I really want to go to those distilleries...

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  9. What a lovely article, and so thoughtfully written. I have nothing constructive to add except compliments.

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