Inspired by the countryside they lived in, the Brontë Sisters are arguably the most famous literary family in Britain. Writing under the pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, the three sisters wrote poetry and several classic novels that are still read almost two hundred years later, including Jane Eyre, The Tenant ofWildfell and Wuthering Heights.
Today, literature fans often explore the famed Brontë Parsonage, where the sisters wrote their novels, on train holidays in the UK. Visitors can appreciate the beauty of the West Yorkshire moors that influenced the family's writing on a scenic steam-hauled journey on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. Travelling in vintage carriages, the line passes through the landscape that the sisters knew, loved, and wrote about as the dramatic backdrop for their now famous stories.
The Brontë family moved to the parsonage in Haworth, now known as the Brontë Parsonage, when Patrick Brontë was appointed the village rector in 1820. Here, the girls grew up writing stories together with their brother Branwell, collaboratively building fascinating fantasy worlds riddled with drama and political intrigue. Later, the sisters would go on to write novels from their home in the parsonage, drawing on the wild surrounding moorland for inspiration.
Now preserved by the Brontë Society, the parsonage serves to educate the public whilst protecting the legacy of the sisters. Acting as a museum, the Brontë Parsonage hosts several events throughout the year, as well as guided tours and exhibitions detailing the lives and work of the Brontë sisters.
After Stratford upon Avon, Haworth is the most visited literary destination in Britain. Situated in West Yorkshire, the pretty village is encompassed by seemingly endless moorland, allowing visitors ample opportunity to take picturesque photographs of the land immortalised in Wuthering heights. Owing to this outstanding natural beauty, Haworth is also home to a number of delightful scenic walking routes. Follow in the footsteps of the Brontës on a stroll across the moors, or take in the charms of the village itself. Here, the church where Patrick Brontë was rector still stands, and to this day he remains its longest-serving incumbent.
Often cited as the setting for Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, Top Withens (sometimes "Top Withins") is a hillside location topped with farmhouse ruins. Despite that the farmhouse looks entirely unlike Brontë's description of Wuthering Heights, its dramatic location has led enthusiasts to speculate that Top Withens played a crucial role in the novel's formulation. The Brontë Society placed a plaque on the farmhouse wall in 1964, explaining both the lack of evidence that Top Withens bears any significance in Brontë's story, and the local interest in the legend. Though the building has been unoccupied since the 1920s, and is currently dilapidated, tourists continue to visit the site to this day.
Experience the rugged moors, the charming village of Haworth and the fascinating Brontë Parsonage for yourself with Rail Discoveries on an escorted tour in England.