Last weekend I went on a literary pilgrimage to Haworth in Yorkshire, home of the Brontë sisters. Jane Eyre being one of my favourite books, I’ve wanted to go since watching the BBC drama about the Brontës, To Walk Invisible, so someone lovely took me away to Haworth for the weekend.
We stayed in a cosy B&B called The Old Registry in the heart of the quaint cobbled village, complete with a four poster bed and scenic view of the Pennine Hills.
On Saturday, after a delicious Full Yorkshire Breakfast made from local produce, we wandered up Main Street and had a look in the quirky independent shops. We then made our way through the graveyard of St Michael and All Angels church, where all the Brontës are buried (apart from Anne), to the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
Patrick Brontë was appointed curate of Haworth in 1820 when he moved into the Parsonage with his family, which remained their home for the rest of their lives. You can look around the Parsonage as it was, exploring the rooms from Mr Brontë’s study to Charlotte’s room and the kitchen.
My favourite was the Dining room, where Charlotte, Emily and Anne did most of their writing and planning of their novels including Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Agnes Grey. It was amazing to see the desk where some of my favourite books were written and discussed.
It was also really interesting to see the costumes and props from To Walk Invisible on display, as well as original, incredibly intricate writings and drawings by the Brontës within the historic setting of the Parsonage. I couldn’t resist getting a copy of Jane Eyre from the gift shop and, just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, the cutest tailless cat snuck in!
To escape the drizzle we went for a drink by the open fire in The Black Bull, Haworth’s most famous pub frequented by Branwell Brontë, at the top of Main Street. Afterwards, feeling peckish, we also popped into a delightful little cafe called Cobbles and Clay for a slice of cake and a hot chocolate before going back to the B&B to watch the rugby. In the evening the B&B turns into an atmospheric restaurant serving tasty traditional food where we had dinner – basically we ate and drank our way around Haworth!
The next day we set off after another big breakfast to walk the Brontë Trail. The moorland setting of Haworth had a profound influence on the Bronte sisters’ work and following one of their favourite walks in the snow, I was in my bookish element! On the walk you come across Brontë Waterfall and Brontë Bridge, which looked magical in the snow.
Just over a mile on from the Waterfall you get to Top Withens, a ruined farm building said to have been the inspiration for the location of the Earnshaw family’s house, Wuthering Heights, in Emily Brontë’s novel.
“Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr Heathcliff’s dwelling. `Wuthering’ being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed; one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun.” – Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.
I was too cold and covered in snow to take a photo when we reached Top Withens but we sat inside and stopped for a much-needed flask of tea before heading back. Facing into a blizzard on the way down, it was a bit scary but even more rewarding when we made it back to Haworth for lunch and felt like we’d been on an adventure!
If you’re a fan of the Brontës or simply looking for somewhere to go for a weekend away then I’d definitely recommend taking a trip to Haworth. Even in adverse weather it’s a beautiful place and you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to picturesque walks and friendly, welcoming cafes, shops and pubs to discover. Being a bookworm I had the best time following the footsteps of the Brontë sisters and will read their work in a different light now I’ve had a glimpse into their remarkable lives.