by Katrina Quick
If you’re looking to organise a fun day out with friends, a solo literary trip, or are eager to please a fellow bookworm, look no further. Erato is here for all book lovers (and their plus ones) this summer with our list.
Photo: Hulki Okan Tabak, Unsplash
With an obvious literary location at the top of the list, The Globe is not to be missed. Located on the bank of the River Thames, allow yourself to be whisked away by the imaginary dulcet tones of actors centuries ago reciting prose poetry to an enraptured audience. Either book tickets to an event – Much Ado About Nothing is currently running from the end of June through to October – or simply take a guided tour around this historic site and end up at the fancy Swan Bar & Restaurant. I’ll see you there!
21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT, United Kingdom
Photo: Swati Kedia, Unsplash
Sticking with the Shakespeare theme, Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon has to be included on the list. Although the bard famously spent most of his working life at the Globe, his family home was where he retreated to unwind from his busy schedule. Head here to uncover fascinating tales behind the undoubtedly fascinating man. I recommend you grab a copy of Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet and maybe revisit one or two of Shakespeare’s plays to really set the scene before you venture here. You could even get involved with the guided Welcombe Hills Walk and walk in the footsteps of a man searching for inspiration.
Henley St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6QW, United Kingdom
Home of the Brontës
Photo: Hannah Smith, Unsplash
If, like me, you read Wuthering Heights and wept (internally) at the beautiful ill-fated love between Cathy and Heathcliff, this is an absolute must. Located in Haworth, the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, the moors nearby are said to have inspired the novel and it’s easy to see how the sparse landscape evoked stories of struggle and hardship. The Bront Parsonage Museum features many enchanting details, such as the minute stories the Brontë’s wrote together as children. There’s even the desk and chairs where masterpieces such as Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were penned. The village is cute and homely, full of kitsch country shops, and a fabulous pub called The Hawthorn (I can personally recommend the food).
Church Street, Haworth, Haworth, Keighley BD22 8DR, United Kingdom
The British Library
If you have a secret (or not so secret, in my case) obsession with libraries, visiting this sizeable and impressive collection five minutes from St. Pancras station will bring much joy to your inner bookworm. Current exhibitions include Gold, which you can access for under £10, and it’s open until 2 October. This exhibition explores the relationship between gold and the elevation of art in both manuscripts and books. If you’re not looking to splash cash, there’s always the free exhibition Treasures of the British Library, featuring some real gold (pardon the pun) in the form of handwritten manuscripts by Sylvia Plath and Angela Carter. There’s even initial sketches from Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpieces and ancient religious texts to pique your intellectual curiosity.
96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB, United Kingdom
Jane Austen’s House
Photo: Elaine Howlin, Unsplash
What better place to spend a sunny day than the very place Austen wrote Emma. This charming location is nestled in the rural village of Chawton, Hertfordshire. You can swan around in a fabulous fitted corset number and imagine you are Austen’s inspiration for the protagonist. Flutter and glide amongst some of the most enthusiastic Austen fans, who no doubt will have endless charismatic and interesting gems of knowledge to provide. End the tour with strawberries and cream amongst the heady scent of roses and congratulate yourself on a day well spent. The House will be open from 20 June until the 2 October.
Winchester Rd, Chawton, Alton GU34 1SD, United Kingdom
Charing Cross Road
Photo: Nathalie Stimphl, Unsplash
This Westminster road is full of specialist and second-hand book shops. Whether you’re looking for general second-hand and rare book shops such as Quinto Bookshop, Henry Pordes or Any Amount of Books or you’re hungry for specialist stores such as Foyles, there’s plenty to make the bookworm's heart, mind, and bank account tremble with excitement. Look out for rare editions and the comforting smell of books old and new. Find yourself a rare literary emerald and indulge with a well-made coffee at a coffee shop nearby.
Charing cross road, London, United Kingdom
The National Poetry Library
Photo: lvaro Serrano, Unsplash
This is a bit of a surprise addition for the book lovers who appreciate poetry. This Library houses the largest public collection of modern poetry. Based at the Southbank Centre in London, this library even allows you to borrow poetry if you join up. Feed your poetic soul with the romantic and deeply-felt spoken word of thousands of poets, writers, and creatives.
Level 5, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London SE1 8XX, United Kingdom