Visit Famous Writers’ Houses in England

Ever wondered where the literary classics have been written? Many famous writers’ houses in England can be visited. And visiting these writers’ homes you can imagine where the inspiration for all their great literature works come from. From a cob and tatch cottage with a splendid garden to a Gothic stately home. The houses of these famous English writers are just as diverse and impressive as their novels and poetry.

Take a look at this list of famous writers’ houses in England. At the end of the post you’ll also find a Google Map to make planning your trip to these literary homes even easier.

Newstead Abbey – Lord Byron’s House

photo: Arnot Images

Newstead is a monastic abbey from the 12th century. During the Reformation of 1540, King Henry VIII granted Newstead Abbey to Sir John Byron of Colwick. Much of the original building was ruined during the dissolution of monasteries. And slowly the home turned into the extravagant Gothic stately home you see today.

The downfall of Newstead Abbey began during the ownership of the 5th Baron Byron also know as “the Wicked Lord” and “the Devil Byron”. William was a big spender, using all his money on building Gothic follies, horse racing and gambling. To save himself from ruin he planned to marry off his only son and heir to a wealthy heiress. But when his son eloped with his cousin, this plan fell through.

The Abbey was stripped of its artistic treasures and furniture to pay of his loans. William outlived his children ánd his only grandson. This is how Newstead Abbey was left to his great-nephew George Gordon Byron (aged 10) who would become the famous poet Lord Byron.

Visit Newstead Abbey

“From Romantic poet Lord Byron through Medieval, Victorian and Gothic Revival, Newstead Abbey is a treasure trove of the rare, beautiful and historically significant. Boasting 300 acres of parkland, explore the gardens, lake and beautiful estate.”

Newstead Abbey is open all year round. The house is open on the weekends (12pm-4pm). The park & gardens are open daily (10am-5pm).

Visit the Newstead Abbey website →

Chawton Cottage – Jane Austen’s House

photo: Rudi Riet

Jane Austen is one of the most loved writers in English literature. Her six finished novels are filled with wit, humour and smart commentary on the British gentry of the 18th century.

Jane Austen lived at Chawton Cottage in Hampshire from 1809 until 1817. During this time she revised, wrote and published her six world-famous novels: Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Sense & Sensibility, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park.

The cottage is now the Jane Austen’s House Museum. They have turned the cottage back to how it was in Jane’s time. The museum holds a collection of objects related to Jane and her family.

See also: Pride & Prejudice filming locations that you can visit

Visit Jane Austen’s House Museum

The museum is open Wednesday-Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays.

Visit the Jane Austen’s House Museum website →

Haworth Parsonage – Brontë Sisters House

photo: deFacto

The 18th century parsonage in Haworth, became the Brontë family home in 1820. It is the home where Charlotte, Anne and Emily wrote their novels. And even their father Patrick was a published author of poetry and fiction.

Haworth Parsonage is surrounded by the Yorkshire moorland so well written in Emily’s Wuthering Heights.

The Brontë Parsonage Museum is maintained by the Brontë society. The society was founded in 1893 and one of the oldest literary societies in the world. The Brontë collection at the museum is the largest and most important in the world.

Visit The Brontë Parsonage Museum

The museum and shop are open Wednesday-Sunday (10am-5pm)

Visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum website →

Hardy’s Cottage – Birthplace of Thomas Hardy

photo: Peter Trimming

The small cob and thatch cottage in Higher Bockhampton, Dorset is the birthplace of English author Thomas Hardy. Born in 1840, Thomas lived in this cottage untill he was 34. Under the Greenwood Tree and Far From the Madding Crowd where both written at the cottage.

The cottage – built by Thomas’ grandfather – is now owned by the National Trust. Though the furnishings aren’t from Thomas Hardy’s family, it is reflective of the time period in which he lived here.

The picture perfect cottage garden is partly designed by Thomas Hardy

Visit Hardy’s Cottage

The cottage is open to visitors Tuesday-Sunday (11am-5pm)

Visit the Hardy’s Cottage National Trust website →

Max Gate – Thomas Hardy’s House

photo: Pascicles

Thomas Hardy designed and built Max Gate in 1885 and he lived here until his death in 1928. The house is built in Queen Anne style and Thomas lived here with his first wife Emma and later with his second wife Florence.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure and The Mayor of Casterbridge were written at Max Gate.

In 1940 Max Gate was gifted to the National Trust. The house still contains some of Hardy’s furniture, but his study can now be seen in the Dorset County Museum. The gardens were a source of inspiration for Hardy, who walked here every day. Much of the garden is still how it was in Hardy’s day.

Visit Max Gate

Max Gate is open to visitors Tuesday-Sunday

Visit the National Trust Max Gate website →

Greenway – Agatha Christie’s House

photo: Jason Ballard

In 1938 Agatha Christie and her husband were looking for a new house when they came across Greenway. In her autobiography Agatha wrote about Greenway:

“One day we saw that a house was up for sale that I had known when I was young. So we went over to Greenway, and very beautiful the house and grounds were. A white Georgian house of about 1780 or 90, with woods sweeping down to the Dart below, and a lot of fine shrubs and trees – the ideal house, a dream house”.

Christie and her husband used Greenway as their family holiday home untill their deaths in 1976 & 1978. Afterwhich Christie’s daghter Rosalind lived at Greenway.

Greenway features under various guises in some of her novels (The A.B.C. Murders, Five Little Pigs, Towards Zero and Dead Man’s Folly)

Visit Greenway

Greenway is now run by the National Trust. You can visit the House (ground floor only) and the Garden. There is also a Barn Café, Shop and Second-Hand Bookshop. The Greenway Estate is open daily (10.30am-5pm)

Visit the National Trust Greenway website →

Hill Top – Beatrix Potter’s House

photo: Strobilomyces

The 17th century farmhouse in Near Sawrey was bought by children’s author and illustrator Beatrix Potter in 1905. The house, farm and surrounding villages feature in some of Beatrix Potter’s books.

Upon her death, Beatrix left the house to the National Trust. The house displays items and belongings that Beatrix specifically left at the house.

Children can explore the house and try to match up illustrations from The Tale of Samuel Whiskers to the real scenes that are still visible in the house.

Visit Hill Top

The house, garden and shop are open daily (10am-4.30pm)

Visit the National Trust Hill Top website →

Bateman’s – Rudyard Kipling’s House

photo: deFacto

The 17th century Jacebean-style house in Burwash was bought by Rudyard Kipling and his wife in 1902. He lived here until his death in 1936.

In the early 20th century Kipling was the most famous writer in England. Kipling wrote some of his best work at Bateman’s including If—, The Glory of the Garden and Puck of Pook’s Hill (which is named after the hill that can be seen from the house).

Kipling’s wife Caroline gifted the house to the National Trust

Visit Bateman’s

The House, Garden (which made Kipling feel like an English country gentleman), Shop and Tea Room are open to visitors daily.

Visit the National Trust Bateman’s website →

Strawberry Hill House – Horace Walpole’s House

photo: Chiswick Chap

Horace Wallpole was an important figure in 18th century society, literature, art and architecture. Horace is the writer of the first Gothic novel “The Castle of Otranto”. In 1747 purchased one of the last remaining plots in fashionable Twickenham to built a new house. A not just a house. He designed his version of “a little Gothic castle” with pinnacles, battlements and a round tower. 

Strawberry Hill House was Walpole’s summer residence. At the “castle” (technically it’s not a castle) he entertained prominent guests like Royalty, English aristocracy and foreign ambassadors.

Even in Walpole’s time the castle was a tourist destination. Four visitors (no children!) were allowed in the house a day. They got a tour from his housekeeper.

In 1842 the house was stripped from almost all his content, because George Waldegrave spent all of the family’s fortune. In 1856 George’s wife Lady Frances Waldegrave saved Strawberry Hill. She expanded and embellished the castle, being faithful to Horace’s vision.

Visit Strawberry Hill

The House and Shop are open Sunday-Thursday (11am-4pm). The Garden and Café is open Sunday-Thursday (10am-4pm)

Visit the Strawberry Hill website →

Keats House – John Keats’ House

photo: Simon Harriyott

Keats House is the former home of romantic poet John Keats. The house (originally called Wentworth Place) was built in 1815 and divided into two homes. In 1818 John Keats moved in with his friend Charles Brown to live at the house.

It is in this house (and garden) that John Keats wrote some of his best work like “La Belle Dame sans Merci” and “Ode to a Nightingale”. John fell in love with Fanny Brawne here when they moved in the house next door. They got engaged but unfortunately John fell ill with tuberculosis and left for Italy where he died.

Visit Keats House

Keats Houseis open on set days.

Visit the Keats House website →

Monk’s House – Virginia Woolf’s House

photo: Elisa Rolle

In the East-Sussex villa of Rodwell stands the 16th century cottage Monk’s House. Wirter Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard bought the cottage at auction in 1919.

The house became an important location for the Bloomsbury Group. Writer’s like T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster and Lytton Strachey all visited the house.

Virginia wrote much of her work in the small wooden lodge at the bottom of the garden. Novels like Mrs. Dalloway, The Years, Orlando, Jacob’s Room and To the Lighthouse were all written at Monk’s House.

Virginia died in 1941, but Leonard kept living at Monk’s House until 1969. The house was first sold to the University of Sussex but later it was turned over to the National Trust.

Visit Monk’s House

The House and Garden is open on selected days.

Visit the National Trust Monk’s House website →

Dove Cottage – William Wordsworth & Thomas de Quincey’s House

photo: Strobilomyces

This house on the edge of Grasmere in the Lake District was the house of not one but two famous writer’s. Dove Cottage was first the home of poet William Wordsworth together with his sister, wife and wife’s sister. William wrote much of his famous poetry of Dove Cottage such as Ode: Intimations of Immortality“, “Ode to Duty“, “My Heart Leaps Up” and “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

When William Wordsworth and his family left Dove Cottage it was occupied by writer, essayist and literary critic Thomas Dde Quincey.

In 1890 the cottage was acquired by the Wordsworth trust and opened to the public as a writer’s home museum. The cottage is largely untouched since William Wordsworth’s days.

Visit Dove Cottage

Dove Cottage, Garden-Ochard, Museum, Woodland and Shop are open Tuesday-Sunday from May till November.

Visit the Dove Cottage website →

Allan Bank – William Wordsworth’s House (& many others)

photo: Antiquary

After leaving Dove House, William Wordsworth and his family moved into Allan Bank. The house, also located in Grasmere, is designed in simple classical style with stunning views over Grasmere.

When William Wordsworth left Allan Bank is was occupied by many other literature figures. Thomas de Quincey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Matthew Arnold and Hardwicke Rawnsley all called Allan Bank their home.

In 2011 the house was severly damaged by fire. The National Trust saw this as an opportunity to involve the public in the future of Allan Bank.

Visit Allan Bank

Bank House, garden & woodland are open Tuesday, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Visit the National Trust Allan Bank website →

Rydal Mount – William Wordsworth’s House

I hope you aren’t sick of William Wordsworh just yet, because I have another one of his homes. The 16th century house stands in Rydal, a small village in the Lake District. This is the house where William Wordsworth lived until his death in 1850. From the grounds of Rydal Mount you can see the lakes of Grasmere and Windermere.

The gardens of Rydal are designed by William Wordsworth, which he described as his office. Tucked away from the main house William built a “Writing Hut”.

Even today Rydal Mount is owned by the Wordsworth family.

Visit Rydal Mount

During the Summer months the House, Garden & Tearoom are open to visitors daily. Guided tours of the House & Garden are available. In the Winter months the house is open on selected days.

Visit the Rydal Mount website →

Shakespeare’s Birthplace – William Shakespeare

photo: Philip Sheldrake

The greatest writer of the English language, William Shakespeare, was born in this house in Stratford-upon-Avon. The 16th century house is simple in design but has a rich history. The house depicts family life from Shakespeare’s time with period furnishings, a glass window inscribed with the signatures of visitors to the house over the centuries, and John Shakespeare’s glove making workshop.

Adjoing the Birthplace stands the modern glass and concrete Shakespeare center. It is the headquarters of the Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust which houses the library, documents and collections.

Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace

The house is open Saturday-Wednesday (10am-4pm). You can also visit the grounds of Shakespeare’s final home New Place. The huse is no longer there but the garden is dedicated to William Shakespeare

Visit the Shakespeare’s Birthplace website →

48 Doughty Street – Charles Dickens’ House

photo: Joyofmuseums

The Georgian terraced house in Holborn, London was the home of Charles Dickens from 1837 until 1839. In this house he completed The Pickwick Papers and wrote Oliver Twist & Nicholas Nickleby.

While visited the home you can wander through the Study, Family Bedchambers and Servants’ Quarters. The treasured visbile in the home are Charles Dicken’s handwritten drafts of the books he wrote at the house.

The Charles Dickens writer’s house museum holds special exhibitions, workshops, performances and talks on Dickens’s life, work and legacy.

Visit the Charles Dickens Museum

The House, Garden Café & Shop are open Wednesday-Sunday (10am-5pm)

Visit the Charles Dickens Museum website →

Shibden Hall

photo: charlesdrakew

The Tudor Hall in West Yorkshire was the family home of English diarist Anne Lister who was called “the first modern lesbian”. Anne Shibden became the owner of the Hall after her aunt died. She asked York architect John Harper and landscape gardener Samuel Gray to impprove the Hall. This included the addition of a Gothic tower, whcih she used as a library. After Anne’s dead the Hall passed to her partner Ann Walker.

The Hall is used in the BBC television series Gentleman Jack, which is about its most famous owner Anne Lister

Visit Shibden Hall

The house is open daily.

Visit the Shibden Hall website →

Green Knowe – Lucy M. Boston’s House

photo: Peter O’Connor

English novelist Lucy M. Boston perhaps lived in the most extraordinary house of this writer’s houses in England list. Lucy bought The Manor in Hemingford Grey in 1939. She quickly renamed the house Green Knowe which is also the name of her most popular children book series (the setting of these books is inspired by Lucy’s own home).

Green Knowe was built in the 1130s and is one of the oldest continiously inhabited houses in England. Some even say it is the oldest. Though the exterior of Green Knowe is Georgian, when you step inside you can see the 900 year old history of the house.

The garden is filled with old cottage garden plants, which are not commonly seen.

Visit Green Knowe

The House & Garden are open daily.

Visit the Green Knowe website →

Shaw’s Corner – George Bernard Shaw’s House

photo: Rolf Theil

The Edwardian Arts and Crafts house in Hertfordshire was the home of Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw. The house was built as a rectory but Shaw lived here from 1906 until his death in 1950. In 1925 George Shaw was awarded to Nobel Prize in Literature.

At the bottom of the garden a small hut was built which Shaw called “London”. So that when unwanted visitors called on the house, they could be told that Shaw was “visiting the capital”. A bust of George Bernard Shaw designed by Rodin can also be seen at the house.

Visit Shaw’s Corner

Shaw’s Corner is open to visitors Friday-Sunday (currently the house is closed due to Covid)

Visit the National Trust Shaw’s Corner website →

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Elizabeth Gaskell is one of Britains most important Victorian writer’s. She was known for her detailed portrayal of Victorian society, rich ánd poor. Elizabeth wrote the first biography of Charlotte Brontë (Charlotte also visited Gaskell’s house). And her novels Wives & Daughters, Cranford and North & South were all writted at this home.

The Victorian middle-class house is now a writer’s museum dedicated to Elizabeth Gaskell’s life and work. And it shows ever changing exhibitions.

Visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

The House, Garden and Tearoom are open to visitors Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday

Visit the Elizabeth Gaskell’s House website →

Milton’s Cottage – John Milton’s House

photo: Alan

The 16th century timber-framed house in Buckinghamshire is the former home of poet John Milton. John and his wife moved to the cottage in 1665 to escape the plague in London. They only lived in the cottage for one year, but it is the only existing house where Milton lived.

At the cottage Milton finished his most popular work “Paradise Lost”. The cottage is now a writer’s house museum showing rare books, paintings and prints that give a unique insight into Milton’s life, work and influence.

Visit Milton’s Cottage

At the moment the house is only open through advance booking.

Visit the Milton Cottage’s website →

Bonus: English Houses with a Literary Connection

Abney Hall

This Victorian house in Greater Manchester was owned by James Watts, the nephew of Agatha Chrstie. Agatha Christie often visited the house and wrote two stories at Abney Hall: “After the Funeral” and “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding”. The Hall also features in two of her novels: “The Secret of Chimneys” and “The Seven Dials Mysterie”. Writer E.M Forster also visited Abney Hall.

Chawton House

The Elizabethan manor house was owned by Edward Austen-Knight, the brother of Jane Austen. The Chawton House library is now The Centre for the Study of Early Women’s Writing, 1600–1830.

The house & garden are open to visitors. Visit the website →

Uppark

Uppark is a 17th century William & Mary-style house in West Sussex. Writer H.G. Wells convalesced in the house during the winter of 1887/1888, his mother was the housekeeper at Uppark. He also visited Uppark during his boyhood. The social hierarchy and well stocked library at Uppark formed his outlook and views.

The House, Garden, Café and Second-Hand Bookshop are open to visitors. Visit the website →

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

The spacious farmhouse in Warwickshire is the family home of Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare. Her family lived in the farmhouse until 1892, when it was acquired by the Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust.

The Cottage & Cottage Shop are open to visitors Saturday-Wednesday. Visit the website →

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House is a stately home in Derbyshire and seat of the Duke of Devonshire. The house is mentioned in Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice as one of the stately homes that Elizabeth visits with her aunt and uncle before she goes to Pemberley. Fun fact is that Chatsworth is used as a filming location for Pemberley in Pride & Prejudice (2005).

Chatsworth House & Gardens are open to visitors daily. Visit the website →

Blaise Castle

The castle is an 18th century folly near Henbury in Bristol. Blasie Castle is mentioned in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. John Thrope describes Blaise Castle in this novel as “the finest place in England – worth going fifty miles at any time to see”.

Blaise Castle is open daily. Visit the website →

Are you planning to visit one of these writer’s houses in England? Share your visit with #visiteuropeancastles for a chance to be featured on Visit European Castles’ socials.

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