I think when visiting England its hard not to embark on a bit of a literary tour, so many of the classics were penned here.
Being the 200th birthday of Dickens this year, we made a beeline for the Dickens Museum on Doughty Street, London where the author lived for two years, writing Oliver Twist during this time.
Not far from Nottingham was Newstead Abbey, the ancestral home of Lord Byron, where we walked the vast parkland and gardens, everywhere blooming with daffodils and alive with spring.
I recently saw the latest film adaption of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and was inspired to visit the film locations around Derbyshire and the Peak District. Late snows had fallen in the previous week and remaining drifts were still visible along drystone walls and the sky was suitably grey. Coming from Australia, where European history is just two centuries old, it’s difficult to comprehend just how old places like Haddon Hall really are, its dark, wood-paneled rooms, rich tapestries and worn stonework dating from medieval times.
Also featuring in Jane Eyre was the windswept moorland around Stanage Edge. We took a four hour circuit from Heathersage, through farmland separated by stiles and kissing gates and up the rocky escarpment to the plateau above where the temperature dropped dramatically, bringing sleet and hail and wild winds which blew minor waterfalls in the opposite direction. The view here was spectacular and utterly breathtaking. If not for the weather I would have stayed there, taking in the clear air and the English wilderness.
The return to Heathersage took us via a small church and the grave of Little John, comrade of Robin Hood, legendary if not literary.