The picturesque village of Haworth in West Yorkshire may be small, but it boasts a very big history and is very significant in the literary world. This pretty British village is where the iconic Brontë sisters lived between 1820 and 1855 and wrote some of their most famous books that went on to rock the literary kingdom all around the globe.
Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë were the novelists of their time, writing many of their iconic works at the Parsonage in Haworth - which was transformed into the Brontë Parsonage Museum. But it's not just the Brontës and their famed books that attract worldwide visitors to this incredibly beautiful place - the village's quintessentially British attractions, rich culture and history, magnificent historic remnants, and stunning countryside all equally put Haworth on the map.
What Is This Region Like?
This breathtaking part of England is wild and rural and sprinkled with historical remnants. In the wilderness near Haworth that is the moors, visitors can spot plenty of remote farmhouses - much like the one that inspired the Wuthering Heights novel. There are other mill villages nearby too, which are all peppered across the land in river valleys that used to power the mills once upon a time.
And, thanks to the county's prime spot in the "backbone of England," the landscape here is utterly heart-stopping - think beautiful hills, interesting topography, and charming natural surroundings that are irresistible to lovers of the great outdoors. Visitors here are never far from historic walking trails, pretty waterfalls, lush woodlands, and green rolling English countryside.
Who Were The Brontë Sisters?
An Irish vicar named Patrick Brontë moved to Haworth in 1820 with his children. Those children were sisters Charlotte, Anne, and Emily Brontë, who, whilst growing up, drew inspiration from Haworth along with its surrounding villages and mighty moorlands to create some of the most famous and successful novels of the 19th century that took the literary world by storm.
In this period of history, women had very few privileges and even fewer rights - the right to vote not even arriving for yet another century. So, to avoid their writing not being taken seriously, the sisters first submitted their manuscripts and published their works under the male pen names Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell.
Their novels became global sensations, and even today, they're well-established and famous all around the world, being hailed as some of the greatest pieces of the literary art of all time. That's why bookworms from all corners of the Earth gravitate to Haworth year-round to see where classic novels like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were written.
The Brontë Parsonage Museum
Whether you're a book-lover or not, visiting the Brontë Parsonage Museum is an absolute must. Once home to the Brontë sisters and their father, Patrick Brontë - who was a priest at the Haworth Parish Church next door - this historical building was purchased by a local businessman in 1928 and donated to the Brontë Society who turned it into a wonderful museum that commemorates the family and their works.
The Brontë Society has since worked on acquiring the Brontës’ belongings and returning them to Haworth over the years. The house has also been restored and refurnished as closely as possible to resemble what it was like when Charlotte, Emily, and Anne lived there.
Visitors can quite literally walk in the Brontë sisters' footsteps as they explore their humble and modest home, which is a treasure chest of Brontë artifacts, showcasing everything from their furniture, clothes, and toys, to their writing apparatus. Brontë fans should also pay a visit to the beautiful Ponden Hall, where Emily and Branwell Brontë used the library. The house is also said to be the inspiration for Thrushcross Grange in Wuthering Heights.
St Michael and All Angels Church at the top of Haworth Main Street was rebuilt after the death of Patrick Brontë. The Brontë siblings along with their father and mother are all buried there - except for Anne - with their tombs on display for visitors to appreciate.
Taking a walk around the churchyard gives tourists a true feel for what life was like back in the Brontë sisters' days - the 1800s was a harsh, miserable time with diseases like smallpox, scarlet fever, and tuberculosis ending the lives of many far too soon.
Life expectancy was just 24, and child mortality rates for kids aged six and under was a whopping 40%. It's estimated that around 40,000 people are buried in the area, and guests can see many of their gravestones dotted throughout the eery churchyard, which evokes a sense of sadness and reality, but also awe.
The Old Haworth School Room
Visitors can also visit the Old School Room near the Parsonage Museum, which was championed by Patrick Brontë who was passionate about his community.
The Brontë sisters all taught at the school - which is also where Charlotte held her wedding reception.
Haworth Main Street
Haworth's charmingly British, quirky shopping scene is also entertaining - even if you don't actually buy anything. Haworth Main Street has a fun, interesting, and diverse collection of little shops all lined up and down the famous cobbled street. You'll find every kind of store, from vintage clothing and toys, second-hand books, and quirky gifts, to retro games, novelty items, nostalgic old-fashioned candy, artisan chocolates and so much more.
The Main Street also boasts pretty cafes where visitors and locals alike gather to enjoy a delightful afternoon British cup of tea and a slice of cake, as well as several restaurants each unique in style and what they offer - hungry diners can choose from authentic, rustic British restaurants with cozy comfort food, or fine dining featuring a variety of local and international cuisines at some of the higher-end restaurants.
Haworth's nightlife leaves little to be desired too - visitors are spoiled for choice by a number of bars dotted up and down the cobbled street that ranges from ambient to lively. Don't forget about the traditional English pubs either - they're a great excuse to stop off and enjoy a cold pint and a hearty pub lunch whilst chatting with the friendly locals.
The Black Bull pub is a local favorite and is where the unfortunate Branwell Brontë spent the majority of his drinking days - look for the sign outside the pub that commemorates his life. Other great, long-standing pubs include the Old White Lion, The Kings Arms, The Fleece, and Haworth Old Hall with its large pub garden right at the bottom of the cobbled street.
The Keighley And Worth Valley Steam Railway
Even if you're not a trainspotter, a visit to the nearby Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is worth your time.
This magnificent, historical steam railway runs from nearby Oxenhope to Keighley, and is not only historically famous but also well-known for appearing in the film The Railway Children - the old train station in nearby Oakworth is where this iconic movie was filmed.
Exploring Haworth's Great Outdoors
Said to be the inspiration for the Earnshaw Home in Wuthering Heights, visitors won't be disappointed by a walk to Top Withens, which is an abandoned farmhouse accessible via Penistone Moor or the famous Brontë Waterfall. Another great walk if you have the time is to head towards the tiny village of Stanbury, where you can take in some of the Yorkshire Dales's signature scenery along the way.
No matter where you go for a stroll, exploring the outdoors here is an authentic way to get to know the landscape and culture that inspired the Brontë sisters' stories and literature. Be sure to wear proper walking footwear though - many of the paths are steep.
Where To Stay In Haworth
There really are a variety of choices to suit most kinds of guests in Haworth. The village boasts everything from budget youth hostels, to beautiful guest houses, B&Bs, and lovely self-catering options.
Here are a few accommodations to consider with average prices ranging from around £40 to £80:
- Rosebud Cottage Guest House
- Weavers Guest House
- The Apothecary Guest House
- The Fleece Pub
- Haworth Main Street Apartments
- The Old Registry
- September Cottage
- Haworth Holiday Lets
Haworth and the Worth Valley area is more than just a pretty English place with the jaw-dropping countryside, cutesy shops, traditional British pubs, and fun nightlife. Its ancient remnants, underlying history, and rich inspiration that fed the iconic Brontë sisters' passion for fiction are what truly put this cultural hotspot on the global map of must-sees. Aptly named the Brontë Country, Haworth is where these globally-admired author sisters called home - and all literary-buffs, history fanatics, nature lovers, and Anglophiles alike should add this pretty, picturesque village full of stories of past to their bucket list.