Book me in: Exploring the village where Emily Bronte wrote Wuthering Heights – and the stunning moorland landscape it was set in
- Emily Bronte spent most of her short life in the moorland village of Haworth, where her Irish father was curate
- Bronte Parsonage Museum houses the table where she wrote wrenching love story Wuthering Heights
- Three miles west, past the Bronte Bridge, is the desolate Top Withens, reputedly Wuthering Heights itself
There’s no greater pleasure than diving into the pages of a good book, but what happens after the story ends? In the latest of an occasional series, we explore the story behind a classic book and discover more about its author – plus find fabulous places to eat, drink and stay. This week: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte.
Before it was a GCSE set text, and long before Kate Bush was singing about it, Wuthering Heights was a novel so sensational that when it was published in 1847, reviewers recoiled from its ‘savage cruelty and outright barbarism’.
More shocking still was the life of its author, Emily Bronte. Born in 1818 in West Yorkshire, Emily was the fifth of six children, and spent most of her short life in the moorland village of Haworth, where her Irish father Patrick was curate.
Emily Bronte spent most of her short life in the Yorkshire moorland village of Haworth. Pictured is Haworth Moor
But life dealt Emily a series of terrible blows. Losing her mother when she was three, then two older sisters when she was seven, Emily retreated into a fantasy world, writing stories and poetry with her siblings.
Oldest sister Charlotte published a collection of these poems under a pseudonym in 1846, and although it sold only two copies, it inspired the sisters to publish their own novels the following year: Charlotte published Jane Eyre; Anne, Agnes Grey and Emily, Wuthering Heights.
Emily never lived to see its success – she died aged 30 a year after it was published.
Emily poured her suffering and passion into Wuthering Heights, a wrenching love story as raw as the Yorkshire Moors on which it’s set.
Bronte shrine: Haworth’s Bronte Parsonage Museum, where guests can see the dining table where Emily wrote Wuthering Heights
The family’s parsonage in Haworth is now the Bronte Parsonage Museum (bronte.org.uk). Visitors can see the dining table where Emily wrote Wuthering Heights.
Stay next door at Weavers Guesthouse, a beautifully restored 19th Century weavers’ cottage (weaversguesthouse.co.uk).
It’s a short walk from here, past the Old School Room – built by Patrick Bronte in 1832 and where all the sisters taught – to St Michael and All Angels’ Church, where all of the Bronte siblings, except Anne, are buried.
The village of Haworth is touristy, with cafes and a pub that serves hearty pies and local ale
An amazing aerial shot of the desolate Top Withens farmhouse, reputedly Wuthering Heights itself
Though touristy, Haworth is a beautiful moorland village. Catch your breath, along with a cup of tea, at 10 The Coffee House, or the Fleece Inn (fleeceinnhaworth.co.uk), which serves hearty pies and local ale.
Then follow in Emily’s footsteps out on to the moorland.
Three miles west, past the Bronte Bridge, is the desolate Top Withens, reputedly Wuthering Heights itself. You can also steam across the moors – heritage Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (kwvr.co.uk) stops at Haworth.