The Isle of Wight Literary Heroes Trail will take you to some wonderful places across the Island, introducing you to the wonderful sights and scenes which influenced some of the great literary heroes. Find out about the life of Oscar winning director, Anthony Minghella, discover what made the romantic poet John Keats tick and even find out where King Charles I was inspired to write poetry.
From Alfred, Lord Tennyson who made his home in Freshwater, to Lewis Carroll, who was inspired by the golden sands of Sandown, the scenery and tranquility of the Isle of Wight has long been a source of creativity for some of the world’s literary giants. The Isle of Wight Literary Heroes Trail takes you on a journey across the Isle of Wight, discovering locations where celebrated writers went on holiday, spent their childhood days and of course, the places that meant so much to them. Below are just a few key places on the trail:
“This Island is a little paradise.”
On visiting the Isle of Wight, Karl Marx said that this Island is a little paradise. Many literary heroes have walked these shores, and felt inspired by the beauty of this Island. The Isle of Wight Literary Heroes Trail will take you to the places the greats walked and wrote; from tucked away villages and hamlets to bustling seaside towns.
Discover Farringford – Tennyson’s home
From 1853 until his death in 1892, Farringford was the main home of the renowned Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. In this secluded spot on the Isle of Wight the new Poet Laureate produced some of his most famous works: Maud was composed in the attic, Enoch Arden in the summer house and Idylls of the King in the library. Farringford also attracted many of Tennyson’s eminent friends, becoming a locus of literary and artistic activity.
The writers Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Charles Kingsley, William Allingham, Coventry Patmore and Henry Longfellow were among many accomplished visitors. Since 2012 this dramatic Gothic house has been meticulously restored and decorated in a late 19th-century style that reflects the Tennysons’ tastes and interests. The grounds have also been returned to their authentic Tennyson-era appearance, complete with enchanting walled garden.
Farringford is now open to the public as an historic home. Visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy a stay in well appointed self-catering accommodation, situated in the house and grounds. Take a look at their website to book a trip and learn more about Tennyson, his circle and the enduring appeal of his magnificent poetry.
It’s no wonder this area attracted so many literary greats. Freshwater Bay is the setting for DH Lawrence’s second novel, The Trespassers. Lawrence took a holiday in Freshwater in 1909 with his wife. A life-size of iconic rock ‘n’ roller Jimi Hendrix will soon take pride of place at Dimbola Lodge near Freshwater Bay.
Not too far from Freshwater Bay, you will also be able to find the Tennyson monument – the Celtic cross is made of Cornish granite and was unveiled in 1897. Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman described the walk up to Tennyson’s memorial at the top of the Down as being like “a strange and terrifying dream”.
Craigie Lodge was the home of Pearl Craigie, who wrote under the name John Oliver Hobbes. The house, built in 1889, was home to Pearl Craigie for nearly 7 years of her adult life. Alfred Noyes, author of The Highwayman, also made his home in St Lawrence and lived on the Isle of Wight till his death in 1958.
Find out more about the rest of the places you can visit on the literary trail, here: https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/things-to-do/literary-heroes-trail