Visit 5 Classic Women Authors’ Homes in England
For aficionados of classic women authors, there’s nothing like visiting the homes in which they lived and wrote. Fortunately, there are many such homes that are open to the public, keeping the spirit of these authors alive for present and future generations. Many hold public events, and most feature libraries and archives. Here are 5 classic women authors’ homes to visit in England — see where Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Beatrix Potter, Virginia Woolf, and Vita Sackville-West lived and worked. At right, Beatrix Potter in the doorway of Hill Top House.
Photo: National Trust
Virginia Woolf’s Monk’s House
Rodmell, Lewes, East Sussex
BN7 3HF UK
Phone: 01323 870001
Website: Monk’s House
From The National Trust website: This small weather-boarded house was the home of Leonard and Virginia Woolf until Leonard’s death in 1969. The rooms reflect the life and times of the literary circle in which they moved. The garden writing room where Virginia used to work now houses extracts from her diaries and a display of her photographs.
Photo: Tony Hisgett
Vita Sackville-West’s Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Near Cranbrook TN17 2AB UK
Phone: 01580 710700
Website: Sissingurst Castle Garden
From Visit Kent UK: Vita Sackville-West, the notable poet and writer, began the transforming of Sissinghurst Castle in the 1930s with her diplomat and author husband, Harold Nicolson. Harold’s architectural planning of the garden rooms and the colourful, abundant planting in the gardens by Vita, reflect the romance and intimacy of her poems and writings.
Sissinghurst Castle was the backdrop for a diverse history, from the astonishing time as a prison in the 1700s to being a home to the women’s land army. It was also a family home to some fascinating people who lived here or came to stay. Today you can take in the ruined architecture of the extensive original buildings, vast panoramic views from the top of the Tower, the current working farm and the 450-acre wider estate along with Vita and Harold’s gardens.
Photo: Period Living, UK
Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top House
Near Sawrey, Ambleside
LA22 0LF, UK
Tel: 01539 436269
Website: Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top House
From the description by The National Trust: Beatrix Potter‘s house, and inspiration for many of her tales, Hill Top remains as she left it. Each room contains something that appeared in her books. Beatrix valued the house and its contents highly and when she died she left Hill Top to the National Trust, to open it to the public, on the condition that the house was kept with all her belongings in place.
The house has been open to visitors for the last 60 years, so enthusiasts can learn more about the ‘real’ Miss Potter by visiting her beloved Hill Top.
- The farmhouse where Beatrix Potter wrote many of her children’s stories
- Many of her beloved treasures are on display
- Hill Top was model for ‘Samuel Whiskers’ illustrations and others
- Hill Top was recreated for the film Miss Potter
Photo: Yorkshire Attractions
Brontë Parsonage Museum
Church Street, Haworth, Keighley
West Yorkshire, England BD22 8DR
Phone: +44(0)1535 642323
Website: Brontë Parsonage Museum
From the museum’s web site: Founded in 1893, and one of the world’s oldest, most respected literary societies, the Brontë Society is still preserving Brontë items today, growing the collection and teaching visitors about the lives and works of the three famous Brontë sisters — Charlotte, Emily, and Anne.
We are one of the oldest literary societies in the world, founded in 1893 and today we have a thriving worldwide membership. The Brontë Society depends entirely on admissions and the generosity of members for its income. It is responsible for running the famous Brontë Parsonage Museum in the picturesque village of Haworth in West Yorkshire, once the home of the Brontë family and also for promoting the Brontës’ literary legacy within contemporary society.
Photo: Visit Winchester
Jane Austen’s House Museum
From the museum’s website: The novelist Jane Austen is known worldwide for her popular novels describing the society of pre-industrial England. She spent the last eight years of her life here at Chawton in the 17th century house which is now preserved in her memory. She wrote some of her best work here. Come and visit us and let us tell you the story of Jane Austen and her family.
Jane Austen is one of the most popular and important novelists that England has ever produced. The house at Chawton is where she spent the last eight years of her life. It is of international importance as the place where she did the majority of her mature writing, but at the same time retains the charm of a village home. A 17th century house, it tells the story of Jane Austen and her family.
Revised at this house: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey
Written entirely at this house: Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion
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