Breaks for bibliophiles

On every Landmark’s bookshelf is a collection of books carefully curated by a Landmark librarian, spanning fiction, poetry, history and nature. Myriad Landmarks have literary connections; here we illuminate a handful.

Robert Mcfarlane at West Blockhouse

Writer Robert Macfarlane completed his acclaimed Underland when staying at West Blockhouse on the Pembrokeshire coast – in his words ‘a beautiful paradox of a building: it seems both to rise from the rock and to soar above the sea…How is this building not either flying or floating?’. Robert also wrote a thought-provoking piece for us about Underland and his stay at this popular cliff-edge Landmark.

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Daphne Du Maurier’s Cornwall

Immerse yourself in Daphne Du Maurier’s Cornwall in the atmospheric oak woodland surrounding Frenchman’s Creek. In Du Maurier’s captivating 1941 novel of the same name, restless Lady Dona St Columb escapes to Cornwall from London’s Restoration Court, where she embarks on a thrilling affair with a French pirate. Built in about 1840 for a farm worker or boatman, our secluded and romantic cottage is a mecca for those who love proximity to nature and worship the woods and the water.

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Thomas Hardy in Wessex

Poet and author Thomas Hardy visited Wolveton Gatehouse as well as Clavell Tower on his rambles through the undulating county of Dorset. Hardy’s 1874 novel Far From the Madding Crowd explores his literary tropes - moments missed and characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances. Arguably it is also Hardy’s novel with the happiest ending, with Wessex landscape the backdrop for the twists and turns of the relationship between Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak.

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John Fowles’ home in Lyme Regis

Our award-winning restoration of Belmont in Lyme Regis brought life back to the former home of seminal 20th century author John Fowles. In 1968 he finalised the proofs of The French Lieutenant’s Woman at his desk in the sitting room overlooking the Cobb. Many will picture the windswept and sea-sprayed pier from the 1981 film featuring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons. Today we celebrate Fowles’ literary legacy through biannual breaks for creative writing students at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

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Weatherland at Laughton Place

Alexandra Harris, a Professorial Fellow in the English Literature Faculty at the University of Birmingham, stayed at Laughton Place whilst researching Weatherland, an exploration of imaginative responses to the weather in England, including those by John Clare, Charlotte Bronte and Gilbert White. She wrote in a blog for us ‘I loved that tower in the fields from the moment we first glimpsed it, approaching on the old wartime track across the marshes. It wasn’t just that Virginia Woolf had discovered it on a walk with Vita Sackville-West and longed to live there - It was the way the building stood against the sky.’

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Many more Landmarks have literary connections, such as Coombe in Cornwall for its former resident and writer, the Vicar of Morwenstow, Robert Hawker. George Eliot, born Mary Ann Evans, grew up on the Arbury Estate near Nuneaton and was inspired by neighbouring Astley Castle.

Explore and book a literary Landmark

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