Literary Norfolk – A Place for Book Lovers

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Don’t miss these literary landmarks on your Norfolk cottage holiday!

Norfolk is a thriving, exciting county with so many things to do and a wide range of family activities to keep you busy and entertained throughout the day. What you might not know is that it is also the ideal destination for bibliophiles, with a huge number of literary landmarks that every book-lover needs to visit during their Norfolk cottage holiday.

Cromer Hall and Arthur Conan Doyle

Cromer is a beautiful and historic town, located on the northern coast. It has been an incredibly popular seaside destination since the 1700s and continues to attract holidaymakers today. Over the years, Cromer has inspired a number of literary marvels, including Elizabeth Gaskell, A.C. Swinburne and Oscar Wilde. Quotations from their works are engraved upon a series of stone rings at the Cromer promenade

One notable literary link comes in the form of Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes series, who visited the area in 1901 and dined at Cromer Hall. It is believed that this is where he drew the inspiration for Baskerville Hall from The Hound of the Baskervilles, which was published the following year.

Holt and W. H. Auden

The lovely market town of Holt, located in northern Norfolk, has charms that have attracted a fair few authors. The stunning Gresham’s School was once home to Stephen Spender and W.H. Auden – in fact, the school’s theatre is named after him as a commemoration. During his time at the school, Auden saw a pupil die following a fall from a tree, and wrote a poem that is believed to have been the inspiration for his famous eulogy “Stop All the Clocks”:

No dogs barked in the street below

The churchyard where they dug his grave,

The day wore nothing strange to show

The earth took back the dust she gave,

And cuckoos they were calling still

When we had left him in the hill.

Hunstanton Hall and P. G. Wodehouse

Hunstanton, a small seaside coastal town overlooking The Walsh, is one of the few places in England where you can watch the sun set over the waters. It is well known for its red and white chalk layered cliffs and for its famous Old Lighthouse. This area influenced P.G. Wodehouse, who regularly visited his friend Charles Le Strange. Wodehouse used Hunstanton Hall as inspiration for the locations in his comic novels and his novel Money for Nothing.

Great Yarmouth and Anna Sewell

In the coastal town of Great Yarmouth is the gorgeous St Nicholas’ Church which dates back to 1101. Near this building is a timber-framed house that was once home to Anna Sewell, writer of Black Beauty. When Sewell was 14-years-old, she became disabled following a fall on her way home from school. Her novel was published a short three months before she died, but it became a remarkable success and she remains a local legend.

Norwich – City of Literature

Norfolk’s capital, Norwich, has a long and varied history in literature and publishing, stretching back more than 600 years, but its literary associations haven’t abated over the years. In fact, Norwich became England’s first UNESCO City of Literature in May 2012. Norwich is home to the first provincial library in England and the first provincial newspaper outside London. In 1395, Julian of Norwich penned the very first book written by a woman. Today, visitors to Norwich can enjoy a wide array of libraries, theatres, museums, galleries and bookshops. While you’re in the area, pay a visit to ‘The Book Hive’, which was named ‘Best Small Independent Bookshop in Britain’ by the Telegraph.


For a cosy place to relax, unwind and read your book after exploring all that literary Norfolk has to offer, get in touch with the BimbleBox team. We can help you find the perfect cottage holiday to suit your needs.