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The Brontes, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre

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    Stop At: Wycoller Village & Country Park, Main St Wycoller, Colne England

    We start the day with a scenic drive through Cumbria, past the market town of Kirkby Lonsdale and into the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Our first stop is at the village of Cowan Bridge to see the buildings which were once the Clergy Daughter's School attended by four Brontë sisters, Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily. The poor conditions and harsh regime caused a scandal at the time and although the sisters were withdrawn from the school, it was too late for Maria and Elizabeth who died shortly after returning home. The school was the inspiration for "Lowood" in Charlotte's novel, Jane Eyre, and she never forgot the harsh treatment and unhealthy conditions the she and her sisters endured there.
    Our drive continues amidst beautiful scenery into the County of Lancashire. Following in the footsteps of Charlotte Bronte, our next stop is at the tiny village of Wycoller with its ruinous hall, the model for Ferndean Manor in Jane Eyre. The village is full of character and atmosphere with two ancient bridges and a ford crossing Wycoller Beck. Your guide will show you around the Gothically romantic ruined hall and explain the history of this sleepy little village.

    Duration: 40 minutes

    Stop At: Bronte Parsonage Museum, Church Street Nearest car park - Museum Car Park, Keighley BD22 8DR England

    As we move through the towns and villages, your guide will put the surrounding countryside and the impact of the Industrial Revolution on the area into context. We see one of the local mills, a survivor from the time of the Brontë's, up close on the way to Ponden Hall. As our time is limited, we only have time to view the hall from the outside. It is famous for reputedly being the inspiration for Thrushcross Grange, the home of the Linton family, Edgar, Isabella, and Cathy, in Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights. However, it does not match the description given in the novel and is closer in size and appearance to the farmhouse of Wuthering Heights itself. The Brontë biographer Winifred Gerin believed that Ponden Hall was the original of Wildfell Hall, the old mansion where Helen Graham, the protagonist of Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, fled from her husband. Ponden shares certain architectural details with Wildfell: latticed windows, a central portico and date plaque above. We will let you decide for yourselves which sister described it in her novel.
    From here, our journey takes us across the brooding Pennine Moors, a bleak and beautiful place where the sisters would wander to escape the industrial fumes from the chimneys of nearby Keighley and the emotionally charged atmosphere of the Parsonage in Haworth. Although there is no evidence that the now ruined farmhouse on Top Withens was the inspiration for Heathcliff's dwelling, locals and the Brontë Society say Emily was most likely thinking of its moorland setting when she wrote about Wuthering Heights. Describing it, she wrote: "One may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun." Pretty strong stuff when you are out there on those actual moors in the wind and the rain! Although we can experience the moors from the road, we don't have time to walk very far before moving on to our next, fascinating destination, The Brontë Parsonage Museum.

    Duration: 1 hour

    Stop At: Haworth Parish Church, Main Street, Keighley BD22 8DP England

    After your visit to the Parsonage, your guide will take you on a tour of the graveyard and the village where you will wander down the High Street of Haworth, hardly changed since the Brontë's walked here 150 years ago. You will see the Black Bull Inn where Branwell drank himself to death and the Apothecary where he bought laudanum, his other deadly addiction. Throughout the village, your guide will take you back in time to the places and people that the Brontë's knew, walking in their footsteps to bring the place alive for them again. You will also visit the church to see the family vault where all but Anne are buried.
    On this tour you can let your imagination run free, breathe the chill moorland air, gaze over the wild, dramatic landscape of "Wuthering Heights", "Jane Eyre" and "The Tennant of Wildfell Hall". Discover the freedoms and restrictions, the successes and failures, the loves and losses endured in the world of Victorian England, a place which fashioned the passionate, emotional and tragic lives of the world's most famous literary family.

    Duration: 30 minutes
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    1 - 5 of 5 reviews
    Reviewed 1 week ago

    I absolutely loved this tour and it really brings the Brontë story to life. The whole experience was absolutely gripping and Gillian the tour leader painted a vivid and haunting picture of the three sisters' lives (as well as Branwell and their father). I learnt...More

    Date of experience: July 2019
    Thank EHHT
    englishlakestours, Manager at English Lake District Tours, responded to this reviewResponded yesterday

    It is one of the joys our tour guides have when they are able to take enthusiastic people on a journey through the lives of the many people that our tours cover. We take delight in immersing you in the world of such people as...More

    Reviewed 4 weeks ago

    I have taken a good number of tours that I have ranked as "excellent." But, in retrospect, none has come up to the standards set by Gillian and Time with the Bronte tour: 6 stars would be appropriate for this tour. They have 3 goals:...More

    Date of experience: July 2019
    Thank NHnorthCountry
    englishlakestours, Manager at English Lake District Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

    We are so pleased that you enjoyed the Bronte Tour so much. We always try to make it more than just a casual visit to sites that relate to them as it puts everything in context and makes it more immersive for you.

    Reviewed 29 June 2019

    Took this tour on 21/06/19 absolutely amazing experience the guide Gillian, was fantastic she gave us so much information and experience on the journey to the parsonage that once we got there it wasn’t just a visit to an attraction we were totally invested with...More

    Date of experience: June 2019
    Thank irene m
    englishlakestours, Manager at English Lake District Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 4 July 2019

    To fully appreciate the Bronte sisters we think it is very important to give you much more of the contextual background because, as you say, you then become totally invested in the family. Simply visiting the Parsonage on your own or just walking up the...More

    Reviewed 15 May 2019

    Usually tour descriptions are far better than the actual tour. This time it was for my sister and me the other way round:Talking to Gillian we got the feeling, we met a good friend of the Bronté sisters, speaking about the time, the living conditions,...More

    Date of experience: May 2019
    Thank Seaside13687624910
    englishlakestours, Manager at English Lake District Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 24 May 2019

    Ah, the Brontes, one of Gillian's favourite tours! To fully appreciate why they wrote their novels and poetry you have to see the locations that inspired them and the place where they lived. Only then can you really understand them. Our tour tries to provide...More

    Reviewed 10 April 2019 via mobile

    My friend and I are Bronte sister fans... we love the books and we both love history. We were beyond excited to find a tour that gave us background on the sisters and that we were able to visit the places they used as inspiration...More

    Date of experience: December 2018
    Thank LesLee Z
    englishlakestours, Manager at English Lake District Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 14 April 2019

    Our guides spend a long time research each and every tour that we operate. We know that we are showing enthusiasts some of the background to people like the Bronte sisters and its very gratifying to receive such great reviews!

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    Rachel V
    18 April 2019|
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    Response from LesLee Z | Reviewed this property |
    We were picked up at the train station in Windermere. Since the tour took us all around the countryside they dropped us off at a different location to catch a train back to York so we wouldn’t have to back track to the train... More
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