Everything you need to know when visiting the home of the Bronte sisters
Situated ten miles out of Bradford, West Yorkshire, Haworth is a little place with a very big history, it is also my home.
It most certainly would have been another forgotten Yorkshire village if an Irish vicar had not made his way there in 1820.
That vicar was Patrick Bronte, among his children were the Bronte sisters: Charlotte Bronte, Anne Bronte and Emily Bronte.
These three women were to write some of the most famous novels of the 19th century, transforming the literary world and Haworth village among with them.
Literary fans now flock to see where famous novels including Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were penned.
In addition Haworth boasts breathtaking scenery, quirky independent shops, cafes, restaurants along with a steam railway. At the centre of all this are the famous Haworth cobbles.
Here are just a few things to do in Haworth.
Where to stay
There is a good selection of different places to stay from the Youth Hostel (only open to exclusive hire at the moment) to a range of guest houses and B&Bs as well as self catering. I’ve mentioned a few below.
1) The Apothocary Guest House: Average price £40
2) The Fleece Pub: Average price £50
3) Rosebud Cottage Guest House: Average price £50
4) Weavers Guest House: Average price £75
5) The Old Registry: Average price £80
*The above prices are bases on a search on Booking.com in October 2020.
If you want to look at some self-catering options try
1)Haworth Main Street Apartments
2) Haworth Holiday Lets These are two period cottages one with a grandfather clock made my the same Haworth clock maker as the one in the Parsonage Museum.
3) September Cottage
And for Bronte fans take a look at Ponden Hall, not only a breathtaking location the house has a number of Bronte connections.
It has been identified as the inspiration for Thrushcross Grange in Wuthering Heights. The Emily and Branwell also used the library at the house.
If you want quirky Haworth Main Street has this in bucket-loads. You will be hard-pushed to find a more eclectic selection of shops.
Towards the bottom of the street are Modo Creative and Lighthouse Lane both of which are great for lovely gifts.
Heading up and you will find Hawksbys along The Store and Wave of Nostalgia to name a few.
There are some lovely secondhand books shops my favourite is Hatchard and Daughters for the weird and wonderful.
Situated half way up the Main Street Spooks has to be one of the quirkiest – worth a visit for the novelty factor alone.
At the Cabinet of Curiosities you will find a beautiful shop with some amazing items. Two hundred years ago Branwell Brontes visited to buy his opium.
The very lovely and chocolate sells the most wonderful selections of chocolate treats. For a bit of nostalgia head to Mrs Beighton’s where you will find jars full of old fashioned sweets.
At the very top of Haworth Main Street you will find Pretty Penny another lovely gift shop.
I’ve only mentioned a few of the great shops on the Main Street. You really need to visit yourself to see the great selection of offer.
Keighley and Worth Valley Railway
Situated at the bottom of Haworth, the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is a beautiful steam railway running from Oxenhope to Keighley.
The line is famous for being the setting for The Railway Children. Oakworth appears in the film as the station used.
They also do a host of events including a beer festival, which this year hasn’t gone ahead for obvious reasons.
Other events that are taking place however include the Elf Express and the Mulled Wine Special.
Bronte Parsonage Museum
Probably the most famous building in the village is the Bronte Parsonage Museum at the top of the Main Street.
It is a treasure trove of artefacts from the lives of the Brontes with everything from clothes and furniture to writing equipment and toys.
Seeing the humble residence of the Brontes really drives home the magnitude of their achievements. At a time when women enjoyed few privileges and fewer rights; the vote not arriving for another century.
The museum reopened in August and visitors are welcome on a pre-booked basis.
A range of events take place each year and the museum also has a great gift shop.
Eating out in Haworth
I’ve been to most of the cafes in Haworth a number of times including Villette and Emma’s.
My favourite has to be Cobbles and Clay and we go often for breakfast. I’ve not yet made it to the relatively new ForTeas tea room at the bottom of the Main Street or Old Apothecpary but they both look lovely and are often busy.
The newly opened Hunters of Haworth looks fabulous, I’ve only been for coffee but it is next on my list to eat.
Evening meal-wise The Hawthorn is great, they also do food in the day with a lovely breakfast. I’ve also heard of lots of good things about The Old Registry too.
For home cooked meals the The Fleece is a favourite for us but definitely not the only pub in the village.
I’ve been to Haworth Old Hall many a time, although not eaten there. It has a lovely garden out front which is great for a sunny day.
A new place which looks great is Tap and Tonic at the bottom of the Main Street.
If you walk up the Main Street and find the Black Bull, look out for the sign detailing Branwell Bronte, the ill-fated brother, this is where he spent most of his drinking days.
Other long-established pubs in the village include The Kings Arms and the Old White Lion.
St Michael and All Angels Church situated at the top of the Main Street was rebuilt after Patrick Bronte’s death.
All the family, apart from Anne are buried there and you can see their tomb.
Currently the church is closed to visitors. You can however walk around the church yard which is a fascinating insight into what life was like at the time of the Brontes.
In the mid-1800s Haworth was a very grim place. Life expectancy being 24 and more than 40 per cent of children never reaching six due to smallpox, measles, whooping cough and scarlet fever.
Records for burials date back to 1645 and it is estimated some 40,000 people are buried there. It’s a grim but interesting place to visit.
Haworth School Room
The Old School Room is situated just down from the Parsonage Museum. The project to build the school was led by Patrick Bronte who was passionate about social reform.
All three of the Bronte sisters taught at the school and it was also the location for Charlotte’s wedding reception.
If you really want to immerse yourself in the Bronte experience a walk to Top Withens is a must.
An abandoned farmhouse, Top Withens is thought to be the inspiration for the Earnshaw Home in Wuthering Heights.
You can access it via Penistone Moor and to Bronte Waterfall or drive up to Stanbury and walk from there.
You need good walking attire as the weather is often changeable and the footpaths steeps.
It is a breath-taking walk, with some of the most beautiful scenery in the Yorkshire Dales.
It is a fabulous way to emmerse yourself in the landscape that inspired the literature.
If you want something a bit less hilly try the Railway Children Walk. It is a circular walk and can be done in sections.
There’s a link here to a full map.
Also if you have smaller children Haworth’s Central Park is a lovely for a stroll around and also has a children’s play area. The park is just across the road from the bottom of the Main Street.
Away from the Cobbles
There is much more to Haworth than what you see on the cobbles and if you head down towards the train station you will find the Mill Hey area.
Here is the Industry Barista Lifestyle Lounge along with the Mill Hey Brew House and Industry Barbers along with a host of others shops.
Parkside Social Club heading up Butt Lane is a local club which allows non members so worth a visit.
If you’re a hardened Bronte fan make your way over to Thornton the birthplace of the Brontes.
It is a 15 minute drive, there some lovely cafes and you can see the house the Brontes were born in.
There is a wonderful cafe there but at the moment it does appear to be closed.
Head to South Square for where you will find Plenty at the Square. currently doing a take out menu.
If you are sticking around the area some other great places are Cliff Castle and East Riddlesden Hall which is currently closed but due to reopen mid-November.
Haworth is my home so of course I’m a huge advocate for the place but I do think it offers something for everyone.
As a literature fan or historian it is a must-see place and for families it is a quirky tourist-spot with plenty to enjoy.