02/09/13 - "Out on the wiley, windy moors...": Exploring Brontë Country

I didn't get a real summer holiday this year.  My family had a week in Kent, but I had to work so that was a no-go.  With my current lack of employment (and therefore lack of funds) and most of my friends being in a similar situation, any chance of me going anywhere at all seemed to be slipping away.  Then my wonderful parents came up trumps with a fantastic idea.  While my brother was off trekking Snowdonia for his gold Duke of Edinburgh award, myself and my parents went for a night in Haworth, best known as Brontë Country.  While this may not be everyone's idea of a satisfactory summer holiday, it was more than enough for me.  


Quaint is the best word to describe Haworth's main street.

Despite having lived not too far from Haworth for the past three years and being an English student is the perfect excuse for literary-themed weekend jaunts, I had never been before.  It is possibly because - and hold onto your hats here, prepared to be shocked - I've never really read much by any of the Brontës.  I've only read the first three chapters of Jane Eyre and I studied it at GCSE, A-level and degree level.  Oops!  However, I am a big fan of that Kate Bush song, so it all evens out...right?

We stayed at the Ashmount Guest House, formerly the home of Amos Ingham who was doctor to the Bront
ë sisters.  The room we stayed in was actually Ingham's bedroom and it was stunning.  Utterly gorgeous.  Any room with such an amazing view is alright by me, but the four-poster bed, fluffy dressing gowns and complimentary sherry were the icing on the cake.






We spent Thursday night wandering up and down (and up and down, and up and down) the hilly cobbled streets in search of somewhere to eat before settling on a nice old pub.  Friday morning consisted of a cooked breakfast at the hotel (delicious) and then out to get our Brontë on, starting with the parsonage in which the sisters lived with their father and brother.  The small cottage has been largely restored to how it's believed it would have looked when the Brontës lived there, and is open to the public as a heritage site.




I found the museum to be fascinating, full of original documents and pieces of furniture such as the actual sofa on which Emily died, still in the sitting room where the sisters did much of their writing.  I enjoyed not having too much prior knowledge, as it meant that everything I saw was new to me.  It was a lovely little slice of history, well-restored and with lots of interesting facts as you go around.  The staff all seemed really friendly and clearly very knowledgeable, which is always positive!  Photography inside the house isn't allowed, so I suggest you venture there yourself if you're interested.  It's very good value for money and definitely worth a visit, whether you're a huge Brontë fan or not.

After the museum, we explored the church where Patrick Brontë was parson and where most of the family are buried.  It was awfully picturesque as we were lucky enough to stumble upon some good weather, but I can imagine it would have looked rather bleak in typical Yorkshire rain - it's almost no surprise that the Brontë sisters' works are so tinged with tragedy, with this as their inspiration!




After all this literary and historical exploring, it was time for a browse down the high street.  Cue a lot of time spent in the variety of secondhand bookshops (always a stalwart of our family outings), me pining for a totally impractical vintage dress which cost £220, and a thorough forage through the well-stocked traditional sweet shop.  We stopped for a delicious lunch at the almost painfully adorable Cobbles and Clay, a little cafe with an impressive range of vegetarian options and a really interesting of ice cream menu; elderflower flavour?  Check!  Liquorice flavour?  Check!  Amazing.  If you're in the area, you'd be a fool to miss out on this gem of a place.

And what Brontë pilgrimage would be complete without a wander on a moor?  I've never been a big fan of the great outdoors and normally the idea of trekking through a field would fill me with dread, but I was inexplicably excited to get out there.  Although I was maybe not dressed entirely appropriately for more than a casual stroll, I really enjoyed it.  Fortunately, the weather was fairly tame but I can see how the dramatic landscape could get a little more 'wuthering' in the right conditions.  Next time I venture to Haworth, I intend to go properly equipped and walk the eight miles from the parsonage to Top Withens, the inspiration for Wuthering Heights.  And it's not every day you'll hear me get excited about exercise and nature, and particularly not the two combined.  I'm an urban girl at heart.  But if Emily Brontë can do it in all weathers, I'm sure I can too!





Not exactly the outdoorsy type.
If you're ever in the area or if you're a fan of the Brontës and their work, I can't recommend a trip to Haworth enough.  It's actually inspired me to crack on with expanding my literary horizons, and I intend to start The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as soon as I finish my current book.

And in the meantime, you can do some wuthering of your own...whack on the song below and imagine yourself on a moor.  There's nothing better in my opinion.  If you have the time and inclination, teach yourself the dance Kate does in the video.  The pay-off is worth it; it makes a wonderful party piece, trust me.



Have you ever been to Haworth?  Let me know in the comments!

6 comments:

  1. Oh, how this brings back memories of our Lower Sixth trip here and us stumbling out of the pub at night singing this ;) I love Haworth!

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  2. I love visiting here so much :) Me & Cathrin went when we were studying Wuthering Heights for our A-Levels and it was great.

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    1. I can't wait to go again, it's so beautiful and atmospheric :) xx

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  3. You are beautiful, and the pictures are nice :)
    Thanks for coming to check my blog out! xx
    http://lovethesister.blogspot.fr

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  4. It sounds like you had an amazing time. Britain is so beautiful! It's just knowing where to go! This is a place you have definitely made me want to visit!
    Donna xx
    www.polkadot-pink.com

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