Fancy sleeping where your favourite writer lived, worked or holidayed? Simon Whaley suggests six of the UK’s best literary stays.
1. Virginia Woolf’s Sussex
When not exploring the outstanding River Ouse, or the seductive South Downs, guests of this one-bedroomed garden studio in the grounds of Woolf’s country retreat have exclusive access to Monk’s Garden when it is closed to the public. Relax with the occasional birdsong filling the air, just yards from Virginia’s writing room.
Monk’s House Garden Studio, Rodmell, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 3HF
Tel: 0344 800 2070
2. Roald Dahl’s Tenby
Sandwiched between Tenby Harbour and Carmarthen Bay, The Cabin’s first floor self-catering apartment is where the author holidayed, every Easter, for sixteen years, as a child. Whether you’re exploring the Pembrokeshire Coast path or spotting sea-life from the living room window, every moment here will offer you your very own tale of the unexpected.
The Cabin, Pier Hill, Tenby, Pembrokeshire
Tel: 01437 772764
3. Seamus Heaney Country
Immerse yourself in the Northern Ireland childhood landscape that influenced some of this Nobel laureate’s early work. Just five miles from the new Seamus Heaney HomePlace centre, Laurel Villa is Ireland’s only poetry guest house, with a rare collection of first editions and an exhibition dedicated to the poet who visited and gave readings here.
Laurel Villa, 60 Church Street, Magherafelt, County Londonderry, BT45 6AW
Tel: 028 7930 1459
4. Gavin Maxwell’s Highland Island
This is where the otter-loving author of Ring of Bright Water lived his final months, on what was once an island, but is now linked to the Scottish mainland. Accessed through a gate in the bridge, this former lighthouse keeper’s cottage is perfect for spotting dolphins, basking sharks, and a surfeit of seabirds.
Gavin Maxwell Cottage, Eilean Ban, Kyleakin, Isle of Skye, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Tel: 01228 406731
5. John Ruskin’s Lake District
Brantwood was the stunningly-located home of this thinker, writer, painter and social reformer. This one-bedroomed apartment in the main house has the same lake views that inspired Ruskin’s imagination. What better place for creative contemplation than sandwiched between the Lake District’s quieter eastern shores of Coniston Water and Grizedale Forest?
The Lodge, Brantwood, Coniston, Cumbria, LA21 8AD
Tel: 015394 41396
6. Agatha Christie’s Devon Delight
Even the Queen of Crime had murder in mind when holidaying at Greenway, on the banks of Devon’s River Dart. It’s the setting for Dead Man’s Folly, amongst others, so it would be criminal not to explore the Dart Estuary and seductive South Devon coastline while staying here in this four-bedroomed apartment.
Greenway Apartment, Greenway, Greenway Road, Galmpton, Near Brixham, Devon, TQ5 0ES
Tel: 0344 800 2070