Northern England: Stately Homes and Inspirational Landscapes
4 days/3 nights
The literary heritage in Northern England is plentiful and it’s easy to see how these beautiful surroundings inspired such great works of art! Yorkshire is the area of inspiration for ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ author James Herriot and the Bronte sisters – Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights among other novels. DH Lawrence, George Eliot, Bram Stoker, George Orwell and the poet Auden all have northern connections. Then there is the city of York, charming market towns, great cathedrals, country parish churches, magnificent ruined abbeys and monasteries. Filmmakers have used several of the lovely stately homes in the area for recent film versions of classic novels. There’s Harry’s steam train too, for even more fun. Northern England has such a variety of things to see and do!
Links with The Lake District, date of your choice
This tour begins and ends in Manchester.
Day 1 Wednesday
We depart our Manchester meeting point at approximately 9am. A rare bit of motorway driving will speed us away from the city centre and into the countryside, our destination is the area known as Bronte Country!
The Spen Valley offers several literary points of interest. Oakwell Hall is a place visited by Charlotte Bronte, an inspiration for her novel Shirley. Oakwell is an Elizabethan manor home decorated as it would have looked in the 1690s, the furnishings provide an insight into a post English Civil War house.
We will also visit Red House, which remains much as it was in the 1830s when Charlotte Bronte frequently visited. Enjoy the elegant parlor, flag stoned kitchen full of period cookery and the dining room stained glass window, as described in Charlotte’s novel Shirley.
Next, the lovely village Haworth. Imagine the everyday lives of the Bronte sisters, walking around Haworth Church, their home now the Bronte Parsonage Museum and the village itself. The dramatic moorland here inspired the sisters to pen their novels that are some of the classics of English literature. We will have the worlds of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights leaping from the page!
Our overnight location is the charming town of Ripon, a place worth some time during our stay over the next few days. You can see the captivating 7th Century cathedral and the town itself is a meandering of medieval streets dotted with tea rooms and arts & crafts shops.
NIGHTSTOP: Ripon. PROPERTY: Ripon Spa Hotel or similar, http://www.riponspa.com/
Day 2 Thursday
Today, we head westward across the sometimes heather-covered North Yorkshire Moors. We’ve the opportunity to board a steam train (subject to schedules) at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, surely a treat to relive the nostalgia of the steam age. Harry Potter fans may find the station somewhat familiar – yes this is ‘Hogsmeade!’
Also today, visit what may just be the most spectacular stately home in Yorkshire, Castle Howard. This beautiful palace, recently used in the Brideshead Revisited film among others, is still lived in by the Howard family who built it in the 18th Century. You’ll have free time here to explore the house and grounds.
NIGHTSTOP: Ripon, as above
Day 3 Friday
The charming landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales will be our focus of the day. This is the area that so inspired local vet Alf Wight, better known as James Herriot, to pen the All Creatures Great and Small books. Certainly something to read prior to the tour! We can call into the old market town of Thirsk and can experience the famous view from Sutton Bank, which has been described as “England’s finest view.” This lovely scenery was also recently featured in the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Another stop today can be Richmond, called one of the nicest towns in England and situated in the heart of the dales at Swaledale. Its castle dominates the town and the steep streets are around the pretty cobbled market square.
NIGHT STOP: Ripon, as above
Day 4 Saturday
We will make our way to the city of York, a fabulous walled city that has much to offer its visitors! We will spend much of the day here. Attractions in York include the splendid Minster, the city centre castle and the medieval shopping ‘Shambles.’ Seeking a literary connection, York is the home town of poet WH Auden and Behind the Scenes at the Museum author Kate Atkinson plus has been the inspiration for many including Dickens and Dafoe.
We will return to Manchester by early evening.
Please note: All attraction opening times are correct at time of printing this website. While we will do our utmost to include all of the properties mentioned as central visits, we reserve the right to change an attraction should it become impossible to deliver a planned visit due to changes in opening days or times that we could not have been aware of at the time of loading this tour to our website.