The Yorkshire village of Haworth, at the very heart of Bronte Country, sets the scene for a picturesque weekend break, says Dianne Bourne
‘Heathcliff, it’s meee, a-Cathy, I’ve come home,” I trilled in my best Kate Bush voice on the wiley, windy moors above Haworth.
Yes, I admit I got a bit carried away.
But that’s what wandering atop the West Yorkshire moors, which inspired Emily Bronte’s literary masterpiece Wuthering Heights, can do to a girl. Luckily, it was a pretty solitary experience walking those wild moors so barely a soul got to hear my banshee wailings.
That’s not to say this beautiful area is not a well-trodden path of Bronte enthusiasts from across the world.
Indeed, Haworth has become quite the tourist destination for all those literary lovers keen to walk in the footsteps of Emily and her sisters Anne and Charlotte.
The Brontes’ former home, the Haworth Parsonage, is now a museum in honour of their place in history, and makes a fascinating place to spend an afternoon, just a short stroll out of the village.
There’s also a very useful tourist information in the village centre, where you can buy maps of the area – including the route to the old farm building thought to have inspired the Wuthering Heights of the novel.
You can also book guided walking tours from here.
The base for our stay in this most romantic of settings was the stunning Ashmount Country House Hotel.
Having won a bevy of awards last year, including an AA 5-Star Accommodation Award, as well as an AA Rosette for its Drawing Room restaurant, we had high expectations – but the place itself managed to exceed them.
Situated in a grand mansion, the interiors have been stylishly renovated, while a guest house across the road from the main hotel also offers rooms with an al fresco hot tub too.
As our visit was in a still-chilly spring, we opted for a room with a large indoor bathtub instead – which offered stunning views over the Yorkshire hills beyond. It was perfect.
And as for the food, our evening meal in the intimate setting of the drawing room, overlooking landscaped gardens and the hills beyond in the main house, was sensational.
They also offer an exquisite-looking afternoon tea, but we weren’t able to fit it in during our visit.
It’s just a short stroll from the hotel into the village centre, set along a cobbled street with a host of wonderful little shops, cafés and pubs.
The village is home to an annual 1940s vintage weekend in May, but the vintage feel remains throughout the year with wonderfully retro shops that look as if they’ve been beamed straight out of a film set. I loved looking at all the wonderful hand-crafted soaps in Rose & Co Apothecary, as well as the vintage style knickers and dresses at the back of the shop.
In fact, I could probably have spent a whole day noseying around the shops and buying little trinkets. But my very own Heathcliff was keen to drag me back off to the moors again for more bracing walks.
And while the weather was the only thing less than perfect during our stay, this little village certainly left a big impression.
Dianne Bourne was a guest at the Ashmount Country House Hotel in Haworth.
She stayed in the Suite Dreams room, where prices start from £160 a night (Sunday to Thursday) and £175 a night (Friday to Saturday) based on two people sharing and including full Yorkshire breakfast.
Other room prices vary from £99 per night up to £225 night for exclusive hot tub bedrooms. For offers and more details see ashmounthaworth.co.uk
For tourism advice head to www.visitbradford.com/ Bronte_Country/