Themes

  • Literature

  • Gardening

  • Historical

  • Film Locations

The Brontës & Literary Classics of Yorkshire

A Romantic Tour to Yorkshire and Harrogate

Prices From $5,140p/p

The Brontës are well known as poets and novelists and their home, now the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Yorkshire, has become a place of pilgrimage for thousands of visitors each year. We make the journey north to York to discover places associated with their lives, alongside other historic houses with literary associations such as Knebworth House, once the residence of dramatist Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and East Riddlesden Hall, believed to be the inspiration for Gilbert and Sullivan’s Ruddigore.

Special extras included in your itinerary
• Guided walking tour of York
• Guided tour of York Minster
• Guided walking tour of Haworth
• Guided tour of Norton Conyers
• Guided tour of Nostell Priory
• Themed evening talk by a guest speaker

Day 1
Sunday: Arrival

On arrival at Heathrow airport, a private transfer will take you to our overnight hotel, the Macdonald Windsor Hotel. In the evening you are invited to join the group for a welcome drink, followed by dinner.

Day 2
Monday: Wrest Park and Stamford

We travel northwards, stopping first at Wrest Park. Here we can explore the evolution of the English garden with a stroll through three centuries of landscape design, from dazzling parterres and fragrant borders, to sweeping views and woodland walks.

Next stop is the picturesque market town of Stamford, described as the finest stone town in England. The town prospered from the wool trade and boasts a variety of 17th and 18th-century stone buildings, older timber-framed buildings and no fewer than five medieval parish churches.

Later, we check in to the Stapleford Park Country House Hotel where we stay overnight with dinner included. 

Day 3
Tuesday: Kirkstall Abbey, York and York Minster

This morning we head to Kirkstall Abbey, a ruined Cistercian monastery founded in 1152. Set in wonderful parkland along the banks of the River Aire, the abbey is one of the most complete examples of a medieval Cistercian abbey in Britain. The abbey is known to have been visited by Patrick Brontë (father of the Brontë sisters), and it is believed that this is where he proposed to Maria Branwell.

We continue on to York, where we enjoy a guided walking tour. The city is steeped in history, from its founding by the Romans in 71AD to its wealth as a medieval wool trading center and there is plenty of evidence of this fascinating past left to admire, from the Roman city walls to the surviving medieval streets known as the Shambles.

We also take a guided tour of York Minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe and home to some of the most stunning stained glass windows that have led to the Minster being described as ‘the Sistine Chapel of England’.

Later we check in to the Grand Hotel & Spa, our base for the next four nights. Tonight, we enjoy dinner together at the hotel.

Day 4
Wednesday: Temple Newsam House, Haworth and Brontë Parsonage Museum

Our first visit is to Temple Newsam House, a magnificent Tudor-Jacobean country mansion set in 1,500 acres of beautiful parkland. The house is famous as the birthplace of Lord Darnley, notorious husband of Mary Queen of Scots, and has been beautifully restored to its former glory. Temple Newsam is celebrated for its wonderful collections of fine and decorative arts, one of the finest publicly owned collections of English decorative art outside London.

Afterwards we head to Haworth, where we enjoy a guided walking tour of this picturesque hilltop village with its cobbled main street, discovering the context of the famous Brontë sisters’ lives and work. The Brontë sisters spent much of their lives in the village and their former home is now the Brontë Parsonage Museum, which has been lovingly preserved and contains the largest and most important Brontë collections in the world, which we discover after our tour.

The evening is left free to make your own dinner arrangements in York.

Day 5
Thursday: Norton Conyers and East Riddlesden Hall

We start the day with a guided tour of Norton Conyers, a late medieval manor house with Stuart and Georgian additions which has been in the Graham family since 1624. The house’s exterior has distinctive Dutch-style gables while the interior contains some fine 18th-century plaster ceilings. In 1839 Charlotte Brontë visited Norton Conyers and heard the legend of a mad woman confined in the attics, which is said to have given her the idea for the mad Mrs Rochester in Jane Eyre. It is also believed that the house's interior gave her ideas for ‘Thornfield Hall’ in the novel.

We then pay a visit to East Riddlesden Hall, a 17th-century manor house, which has been used as a filming location for many Brontë adaptations. The hall was built in 1642 by wealthy cloth merchant, James Murgatroyd and is home to a wonderful array of 17th-century needlework, rich panelling and original exquisite plasterwork ceilings. The Murgatroyd family are reputed to be the inspiration for the Murgatroyd Baronets in the comic opera Ruddigore by Gilbert and Sullivan, and WS Gilbert is reported to have often stayed at the hall.

After dinner back at the hotel, we are treated to a fascinating talk by a guest speaker.

Day 6
Friday: Saltaire and Harrogate

The Victorian model village and textile mill of Saltaire was built in 1851 by Sir Titus Salt, a leading industrialist in the Yorkshire woollen industry. Thanks to its preservation, Saltaire is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and we spend some time exploring the village and the impressive mill itself which is now home to an inspiring David Hockney gallery, a selection of shops, restaurants and cafés.

The afternoon is spent in the elegant spa town of Harrogate, where notable sights include the Royal Pump Room and the Grade II listed Royal Hall. Don’t miss the attractive Montpellier Quarter with its pedestrianised streets lined with 19th-century buildings.

The evening is left free for you to make your own dinner arrangements.

Day 7
Saturday: Nostell Priory

After a morning at leisure in York we head south, stopping to visit Nostell Priory where we enjoy a guided tour. Set in landscaped parkland, this 18th-century architectural masterpiece has been the home of the Winn family for 300 years and is also home to England’s best documented collection of Chippendale furniture, designed especially for the estate.

We then head to our overnight hotel, the Waterton Park Hotel. Later, we enjoy dinner together at the hotel.

Day 8
Sunday: Grantham and Knebworth House

Continuing our journey south, we make a short stop in the market town of Grantham. Sir Isaac Newton was a pupil at Grantham’s Kings School and the town is the birthplace of the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Our final visit is to Knebworth House. Set in 250 acres of rolling countryside, Knebworth has been home to the Lytton family since 1490, with its most famous resident being the Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton. The romantic exterior with its turrets, domes and gargoyles, conceals a red brick house dating back to Tudor times. Every generation of the Lytton family has left its mark, making Knebworth an extraordinary walk through 500 years of British history. Stories and heirlooms reflect the family’s contribution to literature, politics and Foreign Service, plus visits from the likes of Charles Dickens and Winston Churchill.

Afterwards, we return to the Macdonald Windsor Hotel, where we enjoy a farewell dinner together.

Day 9
Monday: Departure

A private transfer will take you back to Heathrow airport for your return flight home.

Please note: As this tour travels from Windsor to Yorkshire and back, some days will involve fairly long journeys.

What’s Included
• Airport transfers from London Heathrow*
• 2 nights at the Macdonald Windsor Hotel
• 1 night at the Stapleford Park Country House Hotel
• 4 nights at the Grand Hotel & Spa York
• 1 night at the Waterton Park Hotel
• Welcome drink and canapés
• Full English breakfast each day
• 3-course table d’hôte dinner on 6 nights at the hotels (with after dinner tea and coffee)
• Services of a tour director throughout your stay
• Travel to and from all excursions
• All entrance costs
• Porterage

*supplement applies for transfers from all other airports

Special extras included in your itinerary
• Guided walking tour of York
• Guided tour of York Minster
• Guided walking tour of Haworth
• Guided tour of Norton Conyers
• Guided tour of Nostell Priory
• Themed evening talk by a guest speaker

Nights One and Eight – Macdonald Windsor Hotel
The Macdonald Windsor Hotel is situated in the heart of the historic town of Windsor, opposite the famous Windsor Castle. The classic interiors, with a contemporary edge, fit perfectly with the Georgian elegance of this townhouse hotel. The luxury bedrooms are individually-designed and the hotel also offers a stylish bar and restaurant.

Night Two – Stapleford Park Country House Hotel, near Melton Mowbray

Nights Three to Six – The Grand Hotel & Spa
The Grand Hotel & Spa is situated in the heart of the historic city of York. Housed in the iconic former headquarters of the North Eastern Railway Company, the stunning Edwardian building retains many of its original features with views of York Minster and the city’s ancient walls. The hotel offers elegant guestrooms with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, while the luxury spa is located in the atmospheric vaults of the building.

Night Seven – Waterton Park Hotel, Wakefield