Yorkshire, the largest county in England, and one of the greenest, is a great place to make an escape from the daily grind, with precedents set by literary icons both real and fictional.
Located in northeast England, the stunning landscapes and beautiful castles and country houses of Yorkshire provide the perfect setting to relax and unwind completely. In fact, they seem to be perfectly designed for anyone who wants to disappear without trace, as demonstrated by such disparate figures as Agatha Christie, Dracula and Cathy and Heathcliff. Here, where the paths of nature, history and literature converge, we suggest three routes that delve into three classics of English literature.
1. Reliving Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights, the immortal tale that was Emily Bronte's only novel, is set against a backdrop of the Yorkshire Moors. Early on, Mr Lockwood, the narrator, writes in his journal, "This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society." And it is surely only in such a vast natural wilderness that such a story of love and alienation, cruelty and passion could have taken place. Here the Pennine Hills - the backbone of England - are always at hand, waiting to be explored, and prepared to offer the perfect location for your next getaway. Don't miss: Keighley & Worth Valley Light Railway, Red House Museum at Gomersal and Salts Mill in Saltaire.
2. On the trail of Agatha Christie
In 1926 the best-selling novelist of all time, Agatha Christie, staged a disappearance that would have put Hercule Poirot himself in a quandary. For ten days, the mistress of mystery managed to hide from the world under a false identity, leaving no clues to her whereabouts other than a letter saying she was going to Yorkshire. At last, the police discovered her in Harrogate, a spa town famous for its waters. Don't miss:Harewood House in West Yorkshire, Royal Horticultural Society Harlow Carr Gardens and Betty's Cafe Tea Rooms.
3. The legacy of Count Dracula
Whether or not you've read the novel itself, you are almost certainly familiar with the legend of Dracula and have seen one or more of the countless adaptations of Bram Stoker's Gothic novel. What you may not realise, though, is that the original masterpiece of terror was inspired in Yorkshire and much of the action takes place there. The ship bringing the vampire to England ran aground on the windswept North Sea coast at Whitby and the most famous vampire of all time took refuge in the beautiful and romantic ruin of Whitby Abbey. Don't miss:Whitby Abbey, Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Crescent Gardens (the best cliff views), Farsyde Riding Centre (horseback riding) and Castle Howard.