The Literary Capitals of the UK: Celebrating World Book Day

Britain is famed for its literary greats, from the likes of the Brontes, to Shakespeare, Dickens, and more recently JK Rowling.

World Book Day

It’s World Book Day! Britain is famed for its literary greats, from the likes of the Brontes, to Shakespeare, Dickens, and more recently JK Rowling. And with great writers comes great cities, with many flocking to particular destinations to find their inspiration.

We may associate the likes of Paris and Dublin as literary capitals of the world, but there are many across the UK too. With World Book Day just around the corner on March 4 and plenty of our bingo rooms already full of people talking about it, we run down the biggest literary capitals of the UK…

London

London is of course home to many authors and it’s difficult not to start with the UK capital. William Shakespeare spent his entire working life in the city and Charles Dickens set many of his works here, including the famous Old Curiosity Shop.  The city was also the home of TS Eliot, George Orwell and Virginia Woolf to name a few and you’ll find inspiration on every corner, whether that be Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross, or the great Globe Theatre standing on the banks of the Thames.

Bath

Much of Bath has remained untouched and it’s one of the most historic cities in the UK. You can follow in the footsteps of the likes of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, both of whom wrote their first works in the city. Dickens first visited Bath in 1835 and stayed at the Saracen’s Head pub, a venue you can still visit to this day, while the Jane Austen Centre is also a great visit to discover more.

Oxford

Oxford is well known for its prestigious university and many revered authors have passed through its doors. With notable alumni including CS Lewis, Oscar Wilde, Philip Pullman and JRR Tolkien, who wrote much of his Lord of the Rings work in the city. There’s plenty of Oxford that have influenced famous novels, from the Queen’s Garden and Alice in Wonderland to the Botanic Gardens where you will find Will and Lyra’s bench from the Northern Lights series.

In the city you’ll also find the Story Museum, and many budding writers who will go on to become the modern-day greats of English literature.

Stratford

Stratford is associated with one man, but it’s enough to make it into the top five UK literary capitals due to his stature. Yes, Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare and today is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company. There are plenty of attractions to explore in Stratford, from the writer’s birthplace to the grave of his wife, Ann Hathaway, and much, much more.

Performances are staged all year round, when they can, and no lover of Shakespeare can go without a trip to this literary capital.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of the most stunning cities in the UK and bursting with history that has inspired many down the years. It was the birthplace of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stephenson. It is also a big influence on the Harry Potter series, with JK Rowling writing Harry Potter in the city. It’s UNESCO’s first City of Literature and you really can get lost roaming the streets and uncovering the inspiration on every corner.

Enjoy the read – Happy World Book Day!