Literary connections

Generations of writers, playwrights and poets found inspiration in the beauty of the places where they lived and worked. Whether it was a house, a garden or a landscape, these places inspired creativity, and continue to do so today. We now care for many of these special places so you can discover the inspiration behind the words for yourself.

The rose garden and pond at Bateman’s, East Sussex

Bateman's, East Sussex 

Rudyard Kipling wrote 'Puck of Pook's Hill' in 1906, taking inspiration from the hill behind this beautiful Jacobean house. Kipling’s strong associations with the East can be seen within the house in the many Oriental rugs and artefacts. Most of the rooms - including his book lined study - are much as he left them.

The garden in September and view of the back of Coleridge Cottage, Somerset

Coleridge Cottage, Somerset 

Samuel Coleridge lived in this 17th-century cottage for three years, from 1797. It was during his time here in Somerset that Coleridge wrote his finest works, including The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, Frost at Midnight, The Nightingale, Cristabel and This Lime Tree Bower my Prison. Both Coleridge and Wordsworth are seen as crucial in the development of the literary Romantic movement.

The exterior of Greenway, Devon

Greenway, Devon 

The scene of the crime in Agatha Christie's 'Dead Man's Folly' was Greenway. The property also had a starring role in her personal life as her beloved holiday home on the River Dart in Devon. We care for Christie's extensive collections as well as the beautiful Georgian house. You'll discover these on your visit, from Tunbridge Ware to books of poisons. You can also find beautiful views from the boathouse.

The view across the garden to Hardy's Cottage, the birthplace in 1840 of novelist and poet Thomas Hardy

Hardy's Cottage, Dorset 

This cottage is steeped in literary history. It's here that Thomas Hardy was born and where he wrote 'Under the Greenwood Tree' and 'Far From the Madding Crowd'. A short journey away is Max Gate, a red brick villa designed by Hardy himself. Here 'Tess of the d’Urbervilles', 'Jude the Obscure' and 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' were created. You can find out more about Hardy's life at the nearby Hardy's Birthplace Visitor Centre.

Herbaceous borders along the path leading to Hill Top, Sawrey, Cumbria

Hill Top, Cumbria 

Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top with the royalties earned from Peter Rabbit and the garden is laid out to reflect Peter’s adventures with Mr McGregor. Tom Kitten, Samuel Whiskers and Jemima Puddleduck were all created here. Down the road in Hawkshead is the Beatrix Potter Gallery with exhibitions of original sketches and watercolours from the celebrated children’s stories.

The Writing Lodge at Monk's House, East Sussex

Monk's House, East Sussex 

Virginia Woolf is recognised as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the 20th century. She and her husband Leonard purchased Monk’s House in 1919, at the start of Virginia’s career as a published author. The cottage garden and surrounding Sussex landscape were a constant source of inspiration for Virginia. You can visit this intimate home, which is still full of their favourite things, and get the sense that the couple have just stepped out for a walk.

The rotating writing shed at Shaw’s Corner

Shaw's Corner, Hertfordshire 

Shaw's Corner was the beloved home of George Bernard Shaw for 44 years. He left it to the Trust on his death, and we've taken care of it ever since. Shaw was a towering figure of the 20th century, renowned for his wit and imagination and the enduring characters of his plays. The house is much as Shaw left it, with a fascinating collection of personal effects. You can also visit his famous writing hut, which is tucked away at the bottom of the garden.

The view over the stone wall at the front of Wordsworth House

Wordsworth House, Cumbria 

William Wordsworth, a great poet of the Romantic age, was born in this Georgian townhouse. We've presented the home and the gardens as they would have been in the 1770s so that you can experience it as Wordsworth would have done in his childhood. Costumed interpreters are on hand to provide an insight into the daily life of the family and their servants.