In the Footsteps of the Brontë Sisters: 5 Days in Haworth
For as long as I can remember, I have adored the Brontë sisters. Last month my best friend Charlotte and I went on a Brontë-themed trip to Haworth, which was a dream come true. In this post I’ll be telling you all about the wonderful couple of days we spent in Haworth. I also decided to vlog the trip, so I’d be able to relive it whenever I want. You can check out the video of the trip below!
In 2018 I went on a Jane Austen-themed trip to Bath for my birthday and spent a few days essentially walking in Jane’s footsteps. This trip to Haworth, I realised only right before I left, had a similar literary theme. When I booked the trip, I didn’t realise I was actually continuing my journey of connecting with these iconic and inspirational female authors, who’s words changed my life.
Day 1 (January 29th)
On the first day of our trip, we arrived at our cute little cottage, Hill Cottage, around 11 a.m. After an hour or so of unpacking our things and exploring the house (including the creepy basement), we headed out to the village centre. It was quite a climb up the hill to Main Street, but once we got there, we were treated with a beautiful view of the rest of the village and the hills beyond. We walked past the Brontë Parsonage, which was still closed for the winter holidays at the time, and onto the field behind the Parsonage. The mossy green hills were absolutely magical and we knew we’d found the place for the little photoshoot we had planned the following morning.
Next, we went food shopping at the local Spar and picked up some sandwiches at Villette, a local bakery. We returned to the cottage to drop of the shopping and have lunch, which was delicious (Villette makes the best sandwiches). Then we left to go exploring again. This time, we walked to the churchyard next to the Parsonage and through a little gate that led us onto the most breathtaking fields, divided by low stone walls and muddy, mossy footpaths. As we ran across the fields, the rain came pouring down, soaking us both. It was a truly liberating feeling.
For dinner that night, we made chicken and gravy pies, mushy peas and fried potatoes in the cottage’s little kitchen. Charlotte and I had travelled together before, but previously we had only stayed in hotels and never had our own kitchen to cook in, so it was quite lovely to have one now. On the first night of the trip, I went to bed at 10, as we planned to get up quite early the next morning.
Day 2 (January 30th)
On the first full day of our trip, I dragged myself out of bed at 7:30 and put on my beautiful Little Women Atelier dress and my Docs, expecting the walk to be quite a muddy after the rain the night before. Around 8:45 Charlotte and I walked over to the pretty fields we’d discovered behind the Parsonage the previous day. I changed my Docs for a pair of more vintage-looking shoes I’d brought with me in my bag and we spent an hour or two taking photos. It was a delightful morning and, as the wind blew through my hair and I wandered across the hills of Haworth, I truly felt like I was living in a Brontë novel. Charlotte and I carefully climbed up a steep hill, which was quite the challenge, but was definitely worth it for the incredible view. At some point the sun came out from behind the clouds and cast a beautiful golden light across the valley. Really, I could write 10,000-word paper on that morning and all its beauty and magic.
After our little photoshoot, we walked back to the cottage, had breakfast and changed into clothes that were more suitable for the hike across the moors we had planned for that afternoon. Around 1 p.m. we set out on our walk, following the signs marked ‘Brontë Way.’ I had brought my copy of Wuthering Heights with me on the trip to Haworth and, as we hiked across the moors, I slowly began to understand what had inspired Emily Brontë when she wrote her famous novel. Heathcliff’s character was reflected in this extraordinary landscape: melancholy, wild, and powerful. The wind howled around us, loud and impressive, and nearly knocked me off my feet a few times. The moors were as beautiful as they were windy and, as we sat down between some rocks, hoping they would shield us from the wind (they did not) and enjoyed our lunch (Villette sandwiches, again), I felt very grateful to be in such a wonderful place.
We returned from our walk around 4 and spent a while lounging on the sofa, before we started preparing dinner: soup and garlic bread. After dinner, we watched some YouTube videos and played board games till about 12. I ended the night by reading a few pages of Wuthering Heights, still finding it hard to believe I was actually reading that extraordinary novel in the village where Emily Brontë had written it nearly 200 years ago.
Day 3 (January 31st)
I woke up to a beautiful rainbow this morning (the first of four I would see that day) and knew we were going to have another lovely day in Haworth. Charlotte and I decided to have lunch at one of the cute cafés on Main Street, so we left around 12. We thought about going to Villette again, but figured we should probably try some other places as well, so ended up going to Cobbles and Clay instead. We both ordered avocado toast and elderflower-pear lemonade. The food and lemonade were delicious, and the café was very cosy and offered a pleasant escape from the cold.
We didn’t have any set plans for this day but just wanted to explore the area a bit more. We started our hike on the fields behind the Parsonage and, after coming across some signs pointing to the Brontë Waterfall, decided that would be the destination of our walk. The weather that afternoon was quite gloomy, but that didn’t stop us and rather gave the walk an extra moody touch.
We stumbled upon an abandoned farm, which was perfectly spooky and looked like it came straight out of Wuthering Heights. The farm was surrounded by warning signs, telling people not to attempt to enter the building, so naturally I tried to enter the building but, alas, this wasn’t possible. The closer we got to the waterfall, the wilder and more beautiful the landscape around us became.
The Brontë Waterfall, which is situated in the most magnificent valley, was a favourite spot of the Brontës. In an 1854 letter, Charlotte Brontë wrote, “I had often wished to see it [the waterfall] in its winter power – so we walked on. It was fine indeed; a perfect torrent racing over the rocks, white and beautiful!” With these words, Charlotte perfectly described the wonderful, serene place we found after our 1.5-hour walk. Sitting on a rock near the waterfall, I imagined the Brontë sisters sitting in that very place and writing their stories, inspired by the impressive surroundings and the lively sounds of the water.
After having a quick snack, Charlotte (my friend – not the Brontë sister) and I started our hike back to the cottage. The wind had settled down a bit and the sky had turned a soft purple, perfectly complimenting the moors around us. I felt very grateful to be in that magical place with my lovely friend. We returned home around 5:30 and had dinner, ravioli, quite a while later, around 7:45. That night, I read some more of Wuthering Heights and had a cup of tea, then went to sleep around 12:30.
Day 4 (February 1st)
This lovely Saturday was the first day the Brontë Parsonage Museum opened after the winter holidays and Charlotte and I arrived just after 10 a.m. to be among the first visitors of the new year. Walking around the Brontë sisters’ home, knowing that they themselves had walked around those same rooms so many years ago, was an incredibly special experience. It was thrilling to see the dinner table, where the sisters had written most of their famous novels. My favourite items on display were probably Anne’s drawings, Charlotte’s dress and Emily’s writing desk.
The exhibition room was filled with an incredible array of Brontë artefacts and manuscripts. In January I had written a 5000-word paper about the Brontë sisters and publishing in the nineteenth century. In the paper, I had discussed several documents that were on display at the museum. It was very special to see these documents, that I had written about in detail, in real life. I was also really excited to see the newly acquired Little Book, written by Charlotte Brontë, which had finally been returned to its home after so many years. I had an interesting conversation with one of the museum volunteers about a few objects on display, which was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Brontë family and the time they lived in. All in all, I had a wonderful time at the museum and the visit really completed my Brontë-themed trip.
At the Brontë Parsonage Museum gift shop, I got three books (The Complete Poems by Emily Brontë, Selected Letters by Charlotte Brontë and A Literature of Their Own by Elaine Showalter), a few postcards and the prettiest print. After visiting the museum, Charlotte and I went to the Haworth Parish Church to look at the Brontë memorials, and walked around the churchyard for a bit. Next, we returned to Main Street and spent some time browsing the cute independent shops. We had lunch at Villette (again, haha), which was lovely. Around 4:30, we set out to explore the moors one last time, in the pouring rain. The beautiful views and muddy paths made the walk perfectly gloomy, like a scene from Jane Eyre.
We returned to the cottage around 6 and prepared dinner. It was quite a bittersweet night, we were very happy to be in Haworth in our cute little cottage, but also sad to be leaving the next day. I read a few more pages in Wuthering Heights and went to sleep around 12, already missing Haworth.
Day 5 (February 2nd)
On the final day of our trip, I got up early to see the Parsonage one more time before we left. I headed out to the village centre around nine. As it was a Sunday morning, the streets were very quiet and I only encountered a few people on my way (including a milk man, who was delivering milk in glass bottles). After my walk, I had a quick breakfast in the cottage and then Charlotte and I set out on our journey back home.
I had the most wonderful time in Haworth and am so grateful to have had the opportunity to stay in the village where my favourite authors lived and wrote their incredible novels. I will definitely be returning to the village in the future, as it is without a doubt one of my favourite places in the world. Until next time, Haworth.