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Gothic Literary Locations You Need to Visit In The UK.
Thinking of visiting some of the gothic literary locations in the UK? Stick around and let me walk you through the best gothic location to visit.
I am somewhat of a sucker for gothic horror. It’s that mix of beauty, romance, and a scary plotline that gives me all the vibes. Not to mention they are some of the most aesthetically pleasing films. Gothic Literature is often ‘dark academia eat your heart out’ visual masterpieces.
This literature is also known as gothic horror is a genre of literature and film that covers horror death and often mixes it with romance. Gothic Literary locations also tend to be a mix between beauty and desolation.
What is Gothic Literature/Horror?
Believed to have all started with Horace Walpole‘s 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, later subtitled “A Gothic Story”.
They often tend to cover what is called pleasurable terror and emphasis the internal torture of characters as well as the external torture. Think Bram stoker’s Dracula or Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and you easily understand what gothic horror is.
What also makes these works of fiction different too is how the environment and setting are used to convey emotions. The settings often matching the emotions and turmoil of our main characters.
Gothic Authors in the U.K.
Many of these gothic authors lived in the UK. They used the wild and dramatic locations they lived in as inspiration for their novels. These locations have inspired some of the most iconic stories, scenes, and characters that we love today.
Since we are in Halloween season let’s do a tour of some of the gothic literary locations to get you in the spooky mood.
Whitby, North Yorkshire- Dracula
For those who have followed me on Instagram for a while, you may remember my Bram Stoker Dracula month. Still some of my favourite content.
Whitby, while never mentioned in the novel is believed to be the town where Count Dracula first arrives in the UK. Stoker’s description in the novel and a Whitby trip while writing leads most to this conclusion.
The town just screams creepy with a side of beauty, Overlooked by an imposing Abbey with small windy streets. It’s a location known for battering storms, it’s just the perfect setting.
It was in the old library here that Stoker discovered ‘An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldovia’, a book by William Wilkinson. This book also opened his eyes to “Vlad the Impaler” and his nickname Dracula.
He also read about a local shipwreck a Russian ship the Dmitry from Narva which later in his novel became the Demeter carrying Dracula to the UK.
One trip here and you will know how it inspired Bram. When you sit on the bench dedicated to him you see the same landscape he saw. It’s easy to see how it inspired such a story.
Whitby gets overrun at Halloween with the abbey lighting up in celebration. When I went it was early September the while the area was still busy I managed to get some great pictures. You can read more about that trip here.
This is one of those gothic literary locations you will want to visit again and again.
Strawberry Hill House, London, The Castle of Otranto
The Castle of Otranto is believed to have been the book that started the whole gothic literature trend. Written by Horace Walpole who was the son of Britain’s first prime minister.
Walpole built Strawberry House, building it is stages adding more gothic features with each stage. The house is a beautiful example of Gothic Revival architecture and must have made quite the stir in its day.
It was after completing the house Walpole said the idea for the novel came to him
The house is as unique and beautiful inside as it is outside and this place is on my list of gothic literary locations to visit so expect some pictures soon.
There is no doubt it has all the gothic vibes and you never known perhaps a visit will inspire you to write your next great masterpiece.
Bath, Somerset, Frankenstein.
I actually went to university in Bath, and while I absolutely love this town, when you are trying just to live your life surrounded by constant tourists it can be a bit much. However, if you haven’t visited Bath it is well worth it.
Bath is most well known for its Jane Austen connections but its atmosphere and architecture also inspired a much more sinister tale.
In September 1816, an eighteen-year-old Mary Shelly took lodging at 5 Abbey Church Yard, Bath. Here she wrote Frankenstein an idea conceived in Lake Geneva while holidaying with Bryon.
Frankenstein was further brought to life while in one of her lectures. One of her tutors, Dr Wilkinson suggested that electricity could bring inanimate matter to life. The rest is history!
5 Abbey Church Yard no longer exists, it was demolished to make way for the pump room extension. A plaque in the pump room now commemorates that fact.
While there isn’t really a lot to see just merely knowing you are in the same spot this masterpiece was written is enough. Combine it with a visit to Jane Austen Museum and you can tick two literary locations off your list at once.
A great gothic literary location to visit with lots to also see and do.
Fowey, Cornwall, Rebecca
Daphne du Maurier is famous for how she manages to write characters that somehow mimic the landscape around here. She lived in Fowey for over twenty years and adored the location.
Manderley the somewhat gloomy and forbearing house in Rebecca is loosely based on Menabily, a house near Fowey. It was a house she leased and renovated herself. Down a windy path, surrounded by woodland, and steep cliffs far from the road it makes the perfect spooky location.
The Birds was also inspired by this location although you wouldn’t know it from the film. The book and film differ a lot.
The book is about a farm worker and the behaviour of the birds is believed to be linked to the climate. The landscape of Cornwall features heavily in this book. The farmworker can read the sky and the book focuses a lot on topography and climate
I guess Cornwall possibly wasn’t glamorous enough a setting for Hitchcock. If you have never been to Cornwall it is stunning and I can see how it inspired such writing.
It is beautiful, wild, and rough all at the same time. Fowey is the perfect gothic literary location if you want to take in the majestic scenery.
Haworth, West Yorkshire
While Wuthering Heights may not be considered gothic horror it certainly is gothic literature. About obsession and violence, it gives you all the feels. The Yorkshire Moors and impartially Top Withens are well worth a visit.
One of the hallmarks of Gothic literature seems to be an isolated location, a tyrannical hero and a supernatural element and Wuthering Heights has them all.
I have recently spent some time in Bronte country and let me tell you it definitely has a gothic literature vibe. Top Withens doesn’t get more isolated and the surrounding moorland is both beautiful and foreboding.
There is something so on the edge about the moors, a bit like a dangerous beautiful male lead. The charm and beauty draws you in but one false step and you are off the path lost, isolated, and wishing you hadn’t started.
While there are many more Gothic locations in the UK these are the ones that stir me the most the ones I feel they give you the feeling of the book. You can imagine how it must have felt for the author writing it and see how the landscapes inspired them.
While I haven’t visited all of the locations I would say Top Withens gives you all the feels, yet, Whitby for me tops them all. There is something about Whitby that is just so intriguing for me.
If you want more to see and do go to Bath as there is so much to do there. Short of time go to Strawberry Hill and for that true isolated feeling, there is nothing like the Cornish cliffs.
Have a week to spare and want to some gothic literature locations? Why not spend some time in Haworth and Whitby? You might fall in love with this area as much as I have.