The following itinerary lists a range of site visits which we plan to visit. Many are accessible to the public, but some require special permission which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure. Furthermore, a number of the sites have not yet confirmed their opening hours for 2019. Therefore, the daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours, flight/ferry schedules and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunch and evening meals as indicated in the detailed itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=dinner.
Canterbury - 4 nights
Day 1: Wednesday 29 May, Arrive London Heathrow, Cobham – Cooling – Rochester – Canterbury
- Morning Tea at the Leather Bottle Inn, Cobham
- Churchyard, Village of Cooling
- Walking tour of Rochester (incl. Rochester Cathedral)
- Orientation Lecture
After an early morning arrival in London, we travel to the village of Cobham and enjoy a morning tea at the Leather Bottle Inn, one of Dickens’s favourite places and a venue for some of the eating and drinking done in The Pickwick Papers. Today the walls are decorated with an extensive collection of Dickensian memorabilia including, pictures, cartoons, photographs and illustrations.
Before driving on to Rochester, we make a stop at Cooling churchyard, setting for the spellbinding opening chapter of Great Expectations. From his earliest novel Pickwick Papers to his last, unfinished, Edwin Drood, Charles Dickens made Rochester a setting for his books. We will enjoy a walk through the charming higgledy-piggledy streets of the town to see the original homes of Miss Havisham and Edwin Drood, and will see the Swiss Chalet where Dickens did much of his writing. We will also see Rochester Cathedral, and will have time to explore the local bookshops.
Mid-afternoon we continue our journey south to Canterbury, following the route taken by Chaucer’s ‘Wife of Bath’ and her fellow travellers. Leisure and relaxation after your trip is followed by an orientation lecture at your hotel. The remainder of the evening is at leisure. (Overnight Canterbury)
Day 2: Thursday 30 May, Canterbury
- Morning Literary walking tour including Canterbury Cathedral
- Afternoon at leisure
- Evening Welcome Meal
Canterbury, founded in Roman times, is rich with associations of Chaucer, Marlowe, Dickens, Somerset Maugham and even Rupert Bear. We commence the day with a walking tour through the literary places of Canterbury, including a guided tour of Canterbury Cathedral.
The afternoon is free for you to explore Canterbury at your leisure. You might like to visit the ancient Abbey, float down the river Stour on a boat, or explore the historic High Street. This evening we shall enjoy a performance by Michael and Dee Bartlett, followed by a welcome dinner at the hotel. (Overnight Canterbury) BD
Day 3: Friday 31 May, Canterbury – Charleston – Sissinghurst – Canterbury
- Charleston: Home of the Bloomsbury Group
- Sissinghurst Castle Garden
This morning is dedicated to the brilliant and eccentric Bloomsbury Group. We begin with a private guided tour of Charleston, followed by some time in the garden and a Curator’s talk. In 1916 the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant moved to Sussex with their unconventional household. Over the following half century Charleston became the meeting place for a group of Bloomsbury artists, writers and intellectuals, including Clive Bell, David Garnett and John Maynard Keynes, who lived at Charleston for considerable periods; Virginia and Leonard Woolf, E.M. Forster, Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry were frequent visitors. Inspired by Italian fresco painting and the Post-Impressionists, the artists decorated the walls, doors and furniture at Charleston. The rooms on show form a complete example of the decorative art of the Bloomsbury artists: murals, painted furniture, ceramics, paintings and textiles. The collection includes work by Renoir, Picasso, Derain, Matthew Smith, Sickert, Tomlin and Delacroix. The walled garden was redesigned in a style reminiscent of southern Europe, with mosaics, box hedges, gravel pathways and ponds, but with a touch of Bloomsbury humour in the placing of the statuary.
In the afternoon, we will travel the short distance to Vita Sackville-West’s famous garden at Sissinghurst Castle, judged by many to be the best garden in England. We can visit the superb old library and the tower room, where Vita wrote her novels and prize-winning poems, looking out over her wonderful garden. There will also be time to view the exhibition in the barn on Vita’s fascinating life and writings. (Overnight Canterbury) BL
Day 4: Saturday 1 June, Canterbury – Rye – Burwash – Ashdown Forest – Hartfield – Canterbury
- Lamb House: Home of Henry James
- Bateman’s: Home of Rudyard Kipling
- Pooh Corner Bookshop and Poohsticks Bridge, Hartfield
In the morning, we will set off for Rye, Henry James’s “haven on the hill-top”, where he settled in Lamb House. In this house, which we will explore, he was visited by Edith Wharton, Rudyard Kipling, E.M. Forster, Joseph Conrad and E.F. Benson. Rye is a writers’ paradise and a walk through its picturesque streets awakens the imagination of any receptive visitor. E.F. Benson used the town as a setting for his comic Mapp and Lucia novels, which were recently filmed in Rye, and Lamb House was home to Miss Mapp. After Henry James died, E.F. Benson lived in Lamb House, and after that the house was home to Rumer Godden. It is one of the most literary houses in England!
We will then travel a short distance to the village of Burwash to see Bateman’s, the mellow seventeenth century home of Rudyard Kipling from 1902-36. Kipling’s study has been kept exactly as he used it for thirty years. There he wrote If, which has been voted the most popular of all English poems. You will have time to explore the garden and walk to the old mill, look through the house and browse in the book shop.
Near Bateman’s is Ashdown Forest, better known to children around the world as ‘The Hundred Acre Wood’. A.A. Milne, who lived with his wife and Christopher Robin at Cotchford Farm, was inspired by the forest to send Pooh and Piglet hunting woozles there. We will take a walk through the wood to the original Poohsticks Bridge, where we can all play ‘Poohsticks’. If time permits we will also visit the Pooh Bookshop in Hartfield village, before returning to Canterbury. (Overnight Canterbury) B
Winchester - 3 nights
Day 5: Sunday 2 June, Canterbury – Penshurst – Box Hill – Winchester
- Penshurst Place & Garden
- Visit Box Hill: from Jane Austen’s Emma
- Literary Walking Tour: Keats and Watermeadow by Susannah Fullerton
After breakfast, we travel to Penshurst Place. In 1586 a brilliant man died fighting in Holland and the literary world was the poorer for his death. Sir Philip Sidney, Elizabethan courtier and poet, was a true Renaissance man in every way. Sidney’s home was Penshurst Place, seat of one of England’s most powerful families, and it is hard to imagine a more lovely home and garden for a poet. After Sidney’s death Ben Jonson paid tribute to him in a poem To Penshurst.
From Penshurst we travel through the green rolling hills of southern England to Box Hill, setting for Jane Austen’s ill-fated picnic scene in Emma. Now owned by the National Trust, the hill was well-known to Fanny Burney, Sheridan and Keats. Like the characters in Emma we will stroll on the hill and admire the superb views.
From Box Hill we continue to Winchester where we will be based for the next three nights. Winchester has many literary associations – Keats, miserable over his tuberculosis and his love for Fanny Brawne walked its streets (it was while walking through autumnal fields outside Winchester that he was inspired to write Ode to Autumn) and Izaak Walton, when he wasn’t fishing, was steward to Winchester’s Bishop. We will take a walk through the city’s picturesque streets, see the house where Jane Austen died (exterior only) and follow in the footsteps of Keats by the Itchen river. (Overnight Winchester) BL
Day 6: Monday 3 June, Winchester – Steventon – Chawton – Winchester
- St Nicholas Church, Steventon (Meet Elizabeth Proudman, former vice president of the Jane Austen Society, UK)
- Morning Tea at The Wheatsheaf Inn, Popham Lane
- Jane Austen’s House, Chawton
- Chawton House Library Tour
- Dinner at Chawton House
This morning we visit St Nicholas Church, Steventon, which Jane attended regularly with the rest of the family to listen to her father preach. The tiny church is actually outside the village centre. It is a small, simple building, dating from the 12th century and retaining some fragments of medieval wall painting. A spire has been added since Austen’s lifetime, bearing a wind vane in the shape of a pen in her honour . The Steventon rectory no longer stands (it was demolished by Jane’s brother Edward who built a new house for his son, William Knight, who later took over the parish). The previous Vice President of the Jane Austen Society in the UK, Elizabeth Proudman will provide the group with a short introductory talk at St Nicholas Church.
The Wheatsheaf Inn is where we will enjoy morning tea. Located on the road between Winchester and London, this red brick building is where Jane Austen went to collect her family’s post.
This morning we travel to Chawton, to a modest redbrick house which was Jane Austen’s home from 1809-17. Here she re-worked and wrote her six masterpieces. We will see her bedroom and the famous squeaking door that reminded her to hide her manuscripts from prying eyes.
Following lunch, we shall enjoy a private visit to Chawton Great House and its library to view its collection that focuses on rare and unique works written by women in English during the period 1600 to 1830, such as the original manuscript of Jane Austen’s dramatic adaptation of Samuel Richardson’s novel The History of Sir Charles Grandison.
We will enjoy an early dinner at Chawton House.
We shall also visit Chawton church where Jane Austen’s mother and sister are buried. (Overnight Winchester) BD
Day 7: Tuesday 4 June, Winchester – Lyme Regis Museum – Dorchester – Winchester
- Literary Gallery, Lyme Regis Museum
- Max Gate: Home of Thomas Hardy
This morning, our coach drive takes us to the Dorset coast. “A very strange stranger it must be who does not see charms in the immediate environs of Lyme”, wrote Jane Austen in Persuasion. Her memorable scene, where Louisa Musgrove falls down the steps on the Cobb, has drawn literary pilgrims such as Tennyson to Lyme for generations. We will walk Lyme’s Cobb, see the house where Jane stayed and Captain Harville’s cottage.
More recently, Lyme was used by John Fowles in The French Lieutenant’s Woman. He became a fixture there – local historian and museum curator. We will visit the recently renovated Lyme Regis Museum, which has an excellent literary gallery.
In the afternoon we will visit Max Gate, the home Hardy designed himself (he trained as an architect) and where he and his wife lived in silent hostility together. This is where he wrote some of his most famous novels, including Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure, together with much of his poetry. After a walk through Dorchester, we will then drive back to Winchester. (Overnight Winchester) B
Bath - 4 nights
Day 8: Wednesday 5 June, Winchester – Hospital of St. Cross – Amesbury – Bath
- Cathedral of Winchester
- Hospital of St. Cross, Winchester
- Pre-dinner drink at the Canary Gin Bar
After breakfast, we visit Winchester’s Cathedral; Jane Austen is buried here and we will visit her grave.
We next travel a very short distance to the Hospital of St. Cross, where we will receive the wayfarers’ dole of bread and ale. It was the Victorian scandal of this medieval almshouse’s wealth which inspired Trollope to write The Warden, thus immortalising the building as Hiram’s Hospital. The institution is still home to elderly gentlemen.
After a light lunch at the Hospital of St Cross, we continue via Amesbury to Bath, where we will be based for the next four nights. We begin the stay in Bath by enjoying a pre-dinner drink of gin at the Canary Bar. (Overnight Bath) BL
Day 9: Thursday 6 June, Bath
- Bath Abbey
- Jane Austen Walking tour incl. the Gravel Walk, Bath
- Lunch at the Pump Room
- Time at leisure to explore Bath
Our day begins at the heart of the city with a visit to the magnificent Bath Abbey. The present building, which celebrated its 500th anniversary in 1999, was constructed over the site of a Saxon Monastery where the first King of England was crowned in 973 AD. The fan vaulting is considered to be the finest in Britain.
From the main entrance of the Abbey we commence our Jane Austen walking tour. Few cities have been visited and written about by so many writers – Samuel Pepys, Sheridan, Fielding, Dickens, Goldsmith, Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott and many more. Our walk will take us through the streets and houses associated with famous writers. We shall enjoy a pleasant stroll along the Gravel Walk, which runs along the rear of Brock Street and joins the Royal Crescent to the Circus in Bath and which is used by Jane Austen in Persuasion.
For lunch, we go to the Pump Room, one of Bath’s most historical restaurants and referred to in many of the great works of Victorian literature. Every writer who visited Bath had to be seen at the Pump Room!
At one time considered the raciest place in England, Bath offers excellent shops and excellent museums (the Roman Bath Museum, the Costume Museum, the Holbourne Museum, the American Museum, the Building of Bath Museum, the 1 Royal Crescent Museum and the Jane Austen Centre) which can be explored at leisure during the afternoon. (Overnight Bath) BL
Day 10: Friday 7 June, Bath – Nether Stowey – Exmoor – Bath
- Coleridge Cottage, Nether Stowey
- Guided walk and drive through Lorna Doone country
- Visits to Exmoor towns of Porlock & Malmsmead
- Visit to Oare Church
This morning we travel to Nether Stowey where Coleridge was resident for many years and we visit the home where the poet wrote his finest poems, Kubla Khan and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. This house is an award winning museum and it gives an all too vivid picture of what life was like for Coleridge and his wife and family.
After lunch, we visit Exmoor, an area of “outstanding natural beauty” and the setting for R.D. Blackmore’s famous novel of love and violence, Lorna Doone. We will walk into the beautiful Doone Valley and see some of the places mentioned in the novel including Oare Church, where Lorna is shot on her wedding day by the villainous Carver Doone. Note: the narrow road network in the Exmoor National Park prevents access to large coaches. We shall therefore be required to sub-divide into 2 smaller vehicles (these vehicles do not have air-conditioning).
This evening we enjoy a group meal at the hotel. (Overnight Bath) BD
Day 11: Saturday 8 June, Bath – Blaise Hamlet – Tintern Abbey – Lacock – Bath
- Blaise Hamlet
- Tintern Abbey
- Lacock Abbey & Lacock Village
This morning we drive to Blaise Hamlet, which is a unique, picturesque early 19th-century housing project, located on a site which dates back to medieval times. Later in the morning we cross the border to Wales after a bit more than an hour’s drive, and visit scenic Tintern Abbey. Located on the Wye river, Tintern Abbey is one of Wales’ most significant ruins sites. The Abbey dates back to the 12th century, and in later years inspired William Wordsworth’s poetry.
After lunch, we travel to Lacock Abbey. Lacock Abbey is situated adjacent to the village of Lacock on the River Avon and is one of the few Abbeys in England left in tact, after most of them were destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII and has been the setting of films such as Harry Potter and The Other Boleyn Girl. (Overnight Bath) B
Stratford-upon-Avon - 2 nights
Day 12: Sunday 9 June, Bath – Adlestrop – Stoneleigh Abbey – Kenilworth – Stratford
- Village of Adlestrop: meet author and historian Victoria Huxley
- Stoneleigh Abbey
Victoria Huxley, author of Jane Austen and Adelstrop, presents us with a talk about Jane Austen’s connection to the village of Adlestrop. We see the Village Church and gain an insight into Austen’s connection with this village. Adelstrop is also the setting of a famous war poem by Edward Thomas, which begins “Yes, I remember Adelstrop…”. We will see the sign from the train station which his poem made famous, though the station itself has now gone.
Later in the day we visit Stoneleigh Abbey, which was inherited by a relative of Jane Austen’s mother, the Reverend Thomas Leigh. Jane Austen stayed at the Abbey in August 1806 and it is thought that this stately English home may have been the model for Mansfield Park. (Overnight Stratford-upon-Avon) BL
Day 13: Monday 10 June, Stratford – Shottery – Stratford
- Walking Tour of Stratford
- Shakespeare’s grave at Holy Trinity Church
- The Shakespeare Properties (Birthplace, New Place and Hall’s Croft)
- Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in Shottery
- Evening Performance of The Provoked Wife at the Swan Theatre
Stratford’s fame began almost the day Shakespeare died. Since then, legions of literary pilgrims have descended upon the Warwickshire market town where he grew up and retired to. We spend the morning completing a guided walk of the town, taking in the Shakespeare memorial statue and the poet’s grave with its memorable curse.
There is then free time to explore the Shakespeare properties at leisure – his Birthplace, Hall’s Croft and New Place, as well as the Shakespeare bookshops. In the late afternoon we travel a mile by coach to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in Shottery. The cottage belonged to the prosperous Hathaway family and was the pre-marital home of William Shakespeare’s wife, Anne. Although referred to as a cottage, it is actually a substantial, twelve-roomed, Elizabethan farmhouse. Externally the building with its low thatched roof, timbered walls and lattice windows has changed very little since Shakespeare went courting there.
This evening, we will attend a performance of The Provoked Wife at the Swan Theatre with Caroline Quentin as Lady Fanciful. (You may have seen her in TV shows such as Jonathan Creek, Men Behaving Badly and Blue Murder) (Overnight Stratford-upon-Avon) B
York - 2 nights
Day 14: Tuesday 11 June, Stratford – DH Lawrence – Newstead – York
- D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum, Eastwood
- D.H. Lawrence Guided Walking Tour, Eastwood
- Newstead Abbey
We travel north first thing to Eastwood, the “country of my heart” for D.H. Lawrence. Lawrence was born in Eastwood, a small mining town, and his birthplace is now a museum. We had planned on visiting the D.H. Lawrence Centre with its displays on the lives of the coal miners and on Lawrence’s connections with the town but it has been permanently closed by local council and most of the collection moved to the Birthplace Museum. Instead, we have arranged for a guide to take us on a walking tour of significant D.H. Lawrence sites around Eastwood.
Just north of Eastwood is the home of a very different man and writer to D.H. Lawrence. Newstead Abbey is the ancestral home of the Byrons and was inherited by Lord Byron when he was only ten. Here we will explore the extensive house and gardens, see the blasphemous monument he erected to his dog and the bedroom where he carried on numerous affairs (including one with his half-sister!).
We travel on to York, a magnificent cathedral city rich with literary associations. (Overnight York) B
Day 15: Wednesday 12 June, York
- Morning tour of York Minster & The Shambles
- Leisure time for exploring York’s Museums
We begin our day at York’s superb Minster, northern Europe’s largest Gothic cathedral. It was visited by Anne Brontë only a few days before her death and was where novelist Laurence Sterne preached sermons.
The ancient streets were the ‘stage’ for some of the earliest plays in English, such as The York Mystery Cycle, so we will explore those streets. The Shambles, often called Europe’s best preserved medieval street, has been in continuous existence for over 900 years. The name ‘Shambles’ comes from the Saxon ‘Fleshammels’, which means “the street of the butchers”, for it was here that the city’s butchers’ market was located.
The afternoon is at leisure for you to explore York’s museums. You may wish to join Susannah for an optional evening walk to see some of York’s historic buildings lit up by night. (Overnight York) B
Keswick - 3 nights
Day 16: Thursday 13 June, York– Thirsk – Castlerigg – Keswick
- ‘The World of James Herriot’ Centre, Thirsk
- Castlerigg Stone Circle
We leave York and set off for the beautiful Lake District, a UNESCO World Heritage area of rugged mountains, green valleys and fine lakes which has provided inspiration to so many poets. En route we call in at the bustling market town of Thirsk. James Alfred Wight (James Herriot) moved to Thirsk to work as a country vet with Donald Sinclair in July 1940. Here we shall visit his original surgery ‘Skeldale House’ located at No. 23 Kirkgate which has now been turned into ‘The World of James Herriot’ Centre.
On entering the Lake District we go to Castlerigg Stone Circle, one of the most visually impressive prehistoric monuments in Britain, consisting of thirty-eight stones in a circle approximately thirty metres in diameter. Within the ring is a rectangle of a further ten standing stones. The construction contains significant astronomical alignments. You will see why the spot appealed to Keats and Wordsworth.
We continue on to the grey-stone Lake District town of Keswick. You can enjoy a guided early evening stroll down to the lake to see Beatrix Potter’s Squirrel Nutkin’s Island and the John Ruskin monument, before enjoying a group meal at the hotel. (Overnight Keswick) BD
Day 17: Friday 14 June, Keswick – Grasmere – Hawkshead – Keswick
- Virtual Tour of Dove Cottage, Grasmere
- Tombstone of William Wordsworth, St. Oswald’s Church, Grasmere
- Ann Tyson’s cottage & The Grammar School, Hawkshead
- Beatrix Potter Gallery
- Reception at Rydal Mount House and Garden
This morning we begin our trail of Wordsworth, supreme poet of the Lakes. We travel first to Dove Cottage where he settled with Dorothy in 1799. Built in the early seventeenth century, with its oak-panelled hall and floors of Westmorland slate, Dove Cottage remains very much as it was when Wordsworth lived there. Next door is an exhibition centre with displays on Wordsworth and his contemporaries. In preparation for Wordsworth’s 250th birthday celebrations next year, Dove Cottage is undergoing major restoration work and will be closed whilst we are there. This means unfortunately we will not be able to physically get inside the building but instead there will be a ‘virtual tour’ of Dove Cottage and a ‘Behind the Scenes’ experience, followed by a private specialist curatorial talk which will give you a chance to see parts of the collection that are not usually on display.
In 1850 William caught a cold on a country walk, and he died on 23 April, St. George’s Day, eighty years after his birth. He and his wife Mary, who died nine years later, have simple tombstones in the churchyard of St. Oswald’s Church in Grasmere, now one of the most visited literary shrines in the world. Lunch will be taken in Grasmere.
A short drive will take us to Hawkshead, still the same tiny village of higgledy-piggledy houses, archways and squares beloved by Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. Whilst at school in Hawkshead, William lodged with Ann Tyson and her husband. Ann Tyson’s cottage is a private home, which we will see during our walk around the town. We will visit the fascinating Grammar School where young William learned the classics – one of the desks still bears his graffiti. The Hawkshead legal office where Beatrix Potter’s husband once worked is now a gallery, which we visit to admire illustrations from her delightful tales.
We then visit Rydal Mount, Wordsworth’s final home near Ambleside. We might see daffodils at this time of year, and we can walk where he trod with Coleridge, see his study and walk in the delightful gardens which he landscaped and designed himself. The current owners will give us a private tour of the house and an evening reception of wine and Grasmere gingerbread. We then return to our hotel for dinner. (Overnight Keswick) BD
Day 18: Saturday 15 June, Keswick – Cockermouth – Ambleside – Hawkshead – Brantwood – Keswick
- Wordsworth House and Garden, Cockermouth
- Boat excursion on Lake Windermere from Ambleside to Lakeside on the Arthur Ransome literary trail
- Hill Top Farm – Beatrix Potter Museum, nr. Sawrey, Hawkshead
- Brantwood: John Ruskin’s Home (evening reception)
We begin the day with a tour of the Wordsworth House and Garden, a Georgian house which was the birthplace and childhood home of the Romantic poet. We then drive down to Ambleside for lunch, before going on a full length cruise of Lake Windermere. The town of Windermere was where Arthur Ransome, author of the much loved Swallows and Amazons, went to school. Lake Windermere inspired his famous adventure story for children.
From Lakeside, where we disembark from the steamer, we drive up to Hilltop Farm, where Beatrix Potter lived from 1905. This seventeenth-century farmhouse contains her personal furniture and china (many of these items were replicated by her in her book illustrations) and original sketches and manuscripts. Finally, we head across to Brantwood, located on Coniston Water. Brantwood is the home of influential art critic and writer, John Ruskin. Here, with glorious views of the lake, we will enjoy an early evening reception. (Overnight Keswick) BD
Manchester - 2 nights
Day 19: Sunday 16 June, Keswick – Casterton – Cowan Bridge – Haworth – Manchester
- The Brontë Sisters and Cowan Bridge School
- Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth
- Haworth Church and Graveyard
- Walk to Haworth Moor
Today we explore places connected with one of the most famous of all literary families – the Brontës. Cowan Bridge is the site of the Clergy Daughter’s School that the Brontë sisters attended and it is where they underwent harsh privations. Charlotte immortalized it as Lowood School in Jane Eyre.
We then continue on to Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters. Many parts of the village have not changed since their time – one can still enjoy a drink in Branwell Brontë’s local pub The Black Bull, visit the church, and walk the moors which fired the imaginations of the sisters and which feature so memorably in their works.
After lunch we will visit the Parsonage Museum, packed with memorabilia and treasured Brontë artefacts, and then visit the overly full graveyard to hear a selection of Brontë poems, read by Susannah. All the Brontës, apart from Anne (who is buried at Scarborough), are buried in what was the old church. This was demolished, apart from the tower, in 1879, but the Brontë family vault was left undisturbed.
If the weather is not “wuthering” we shall take one of the many footpaths that lead onto Haworth Moor. The footpaths lead to Brontë Falls, Brontë Bridge and the Brontë Stone and, eventually, to Top Withens, a ruin on a windy hillside, thought to be the setting of Wuthering Heights. It would take too long to reach those sites, but we can stroll far enough to experience the atmosphere of the moors which meant so much to the three sisters.
In the mid-afternoon we continue our journey south to Manchester. The evening will be at leisure. (Overnight Manchester) B
Day 20: Monday 17 June, Manchester – Knutsford – Manchester
- Literary tour of Manchester
- Elizabeth Gaskell House, Manchester
- Farewell Lunch at The Belle Epoque, Knutsford
The last day of our tour will be spent exploring just a few of the literary places of Manchester. In her novel North and South Gaskell renamed the city ‘Milton’. Anthony Burgess grew up in Manchester, Marx and Engels wrote The Communist Manfiesto there, and Thomas de Quincy was born in the city.
After enjoying our Mancunian tour, we will drive to Elizabeth Gaskell’s museum for morning tea and a bespoke tour of the house. This is one of the newest of England’s literary museums and it was ‘saved’ for the nation thanks to the popularity of Gaskell’s novels as TV adaptations.
Our last meal together will be at a restaurant in the nearby town of Knutsford. This was where Gaskell grew up and she immortalised it as ‘Cranford’ in her novel of that name. She was buried at the local Unitarian church and there is a monument to her in the town, by The Belle Epoque restaurant where we will lunch.
In the evening, back in Manchester, we will all enjoy a farewell drink – a chance to talk over favourite memories of the tour. (Overnight Manchester) BL
Day 21: Tuesday 18 June, Depart Manchester
- Departure transfer for participants travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight
The tour ends today in Manchester. Participants on the designated flight will transfer to Manchester Airport to take their flight home to Australia. B