Britain has a rich literary history as the place where some of the world’s most-loved characters were created and celebrated prose was written.
Over the centuries, great poets and authors penned immortal tomes in places like the Lake District, the Midlands, Cardiff, Yorkshire and the Cotswolds.
The most famous playwright of them all, William Shakespeare spent the last nineteen years of his life in the town of his birth, Stratford-upon-Avon.
Just a two hour drive north-west of London, visitors can tour his home for a look into his early years and take a seat in the Swan Theatre to watch the Royal Shakespeare Company perform many of his plays.
In northern UK, east of the Lake District, a young poet and novelist lived with her two sisters in the town of Haworth. Her sisters Emily and Anne would also go on to become celebrated writers themselves but it was the young Charlotte Bronte who took the family name to fame with the much-loved character of Jane Eyre.
Visitors can tour the Bronte house, where the rooms and furnishings have been well preserved.
You can see Charlotte’s bedroom and view her writing desk where she penned her famous works. The home is now the Bronte Parsonage Museum and open to visitors year-round.
Just a short distance from Haworth is the Lake District, home to one of the world’s most adored children’s book author, Beatrix Potter.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, perhaps her most famous book, was written at Hill Top Farm, Potter’s family home and now a preserved time capsule of her life.
You can stroll the beautiful gardens here and fans of her books may recognise much of the property from her other writings such as The Tale of Samuel Whiskers.
In the nearby town of Bowness-on-Windermere, you’ll find an interactive museum of Potter’s works with a fascinating look into the author’s life. The nearby Wray Castle, where a young Beatrix would holiday with her family, is also open for tours.
If there is one children’s book author of even greater fame, it would have to be Roald Dahl. For generations, stories such as BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda, have delighted readers and entertained us on both the silver screen and theatre stages.
For many, he is the world’s number one storyteller but his first book, James and the Giant Peach, was not printed until 1961 when he was 45 years old.
Before he was known for his literary achievements, Dahl had been a fighter pilot in World War Two. Later, after a posting to Washington DC, he was also a spy for MI6.
Post war, Dahl was a chocolate historian and medical inventor, before becoming one of the greatest storytellers of his time. Although originally from Cardiff, Wales, the Roald Dahl Museum is located in the village of Great Missenden, in the heart of the Buckinghamshire countryside about 32-kilometres (20-miles) northwest of London.
Visitors to his museum will experience three galleries; Boy Gallery, where his childhood is explained along with his love of chocolate; Solo Gallery is a recreation of his writing hut, with secrets and surprises in peep holes and drawers; and The Story Centre, the museum’s creative hub where you can learn how to become a writer with tips from your favourite authors.
Tour the towns of literary greats
The historic towns and villages of these famed writers can be explored with Back-Roads Touring, a leading specialist in immersive, small-group tours.
You will travel in style around the UK onboard your luxurious Mercedes motor-coach, with comfortable leather seating – just you and 17 or fewer like-minded travellers.
A Back-Roads tour doesn’t mean you will miss those must-see attractions though, it merely means that your tour highlights will include both the tourist hotspots and those often-missed attractions in the surrounding villages and towns, the ones typically overlooked by the larger coach trips.
Back-Roads shuns the motorways for the scenic routes to immerse you in a destination, allowing for plenty of free time to explore on your own. You will stay in quality local accommodation, dine in family or locally owned restaurants that specialise in the tastes of the region, and visit attractions that reflect the destination’s culture and heritage; all at a leisurely pace.
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The following tours will take you to the famous author’s birthplace, homes and museums.
Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon – Royal Tour of Britain
Travel Britain over nine incredible days and discover the rich history, tradition, villages, rolling green hills and jagged coastlines of the UK.
This tour includes Royal connections from the historic streets of Edinburgh to the excitement of London, plus a stop in Stratford-upon-Avon to visit the birthplace of Shakespeare.
- 8 nights in boutique accommodation
- Experienced Back-Roads Driver/Tour Leader
- Premium mini-coach transportation
- Breakfast daily (B), 5 evening meals (D)
- Entrance included to: St Andrews University & Golf course, Balmoral Castle, Crathie Church, Crathie Graveyard, Edinburgh Castle & Royal Mile Walk, Royal Yacht Britannia, Rosslyn Chapel, Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace & Clarence House, Braemar Castle, Lochnagar distillery. Kensington Palace, York Minster, Princess Diana & Albert Memorial, Windsor Castle and Hampton Court.
Charlotte Bronte’s Haworth & Beatrix Potter’s Lake District – Highlights of Britain
This 10-day adventure delves deep into Britain’s history and culture, celebrating not only the ‘Great British Pudding’, but also walking in the footsteps of writers and poets.
Stops include a day in Haworth with a visit to the Bronte Parsonage Museum, and two nights in Lake District, including a tour of Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm.
- 9 nights in boutique accommodation
- Experienced Back-Roads Driver & Tour Leader
- Premium mini-coach transportation
- Full English breakfast daily (B), 5 evening meals (D)
- Welsh cookery demonstration and lunch (L)
- Walking tour of Oxford
- Cruise on Lake Windermere
- Entrance included to: Cotswold Woollen Weavers, Worcester Cathedral, Bronte Parsonage Museum, Castle Howard, Beatrix Potter’s Hilltop Farm, Dove Cottage & Hawkshead Grammar School, Abbotsford House, Rosslyn Chapel.
Cardiff – birthplace of Road Dahl
Snow-dusted mountains, deep green valleys and an unforgettable coastline – go high and low on your journey in search of Wales’ most captivating sights.
Walk the ancient lands of Celts and Romans and become immersed in this beguiling country’s contemporary culture over eight spectacular days.
- 7 nights in boutique accommodation
- Experienced Rack-Roads Driver & Tour Leader
- Premium mini-coach transportation
- Full Welsh breakfast daily (B), 4 evening meals (D)
- 1 afternoon tea
- A Welsh wine tasting experience
- Visit the first Welsh bookshop
- Enjoy a performance by a Welsh Choir and language taster session
- Entrance included to: Cawd Explorer pass, St Fagans Museum, Big Pit Museum, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Llanberis Slate Mine, Caernarfon Castle, Nant Gwrtheyrn, Hedd Wyn home, Cenarth Coracle Centre, Rhiannon Welsh Gold Centre; Castell Henllys, Lovespoon Workshop
BOOK YOUR BACK-ROADS TOUR HERE