It's been twenty years since I last visited Haworth. My then boyfriend, now husband, took me there on the steam train to show me a little bit of Yorkshire I'd never heard of. It was summertime when we visited and it was super busy and truthfully I don't remember much about it apart from a pub lunch in The Black Bull and that the train stations along the line were used in the film of The Railway Children.
This time we drove as the steam train doesn't run a regular schedule during the winter season. The car park we chose was in a wooded area. Surrounded by tall trees, it was gloomy, grey and many crows were circling overhead, cawing. Wind whistled down the ginnel and it was a little bit eerie. A winding path took us through to the churchyard, where hundreds of graves are crammed in to a tiny space. From there we arrived at the top of the main street where a sudden burst of sunshine immediately lifted the oppressive atmosphere.
Monday seemed like a quiet day in Haworth. Many of the shops were shut as weekends are obviously their busiest time. But there were a few things open including the wonderful Rose and Co Apothecary. Entering the shop is like stepping back in time, glass cabinets stuffed full of treasures, glittering chandeliers, battered advertising signs and of course, a fabulous range of bath time treats. It's a feast for the eyes and nose and you will come out smelling like a perfumed garden. I'm a big fan of the rose petal salve, it works wonders for dry and cracked lips.
There are vintage shops galore in Haworth too, but sadly none were open whilst we were there. So I will have to return another day soon to explore these further. I really wanted to get in this second hand bookstore as I loved those Enid Blyton 'Secret Seven' book jackets. Haworth holds a vintage 1940s weekend in May which looks fantastic and I'm putting it on the list of things to do this spring. Lunch was in the Cobbles and Clay art cafe and it was fantastic. It's has a lovely rustic, laid back charm, was super family friendly and both the food and service were great. Definitely one to return to again and again.
Our main reason for returning to Haworth was to visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum. Over the last few months I've been working my way through the novels of Charlotte, Emily and Anne. I have wanted to find out more about these three incredible writers as each of their novels has touched me in different ways. But if I had to choose, then Anne's 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' is by far my own personal favourite. The Parsonage was home to the family for many years and all three wrote their novels around the table in the dining room. I have to admit that I shed a little tear at finding out that Emily had died in that very room aged only 30. But once you read more about the conditions the whole village lived in it is unsurprising to discover that the average life expectancy was 25 years old. You are not allowed to take any photographs in the museum but it is beautiful inside. Each room is exquisitely laid out with original pieces owned and used by the family. It's also stuffed full of interiors inspiration - stunning wallpaper, paint colours and fabrics galore - it's a little like stepping into the pages of the Farrow and Ball catalogue. Once you have visited Haworth and the moorland surrounding it, you get a much stronger idea of how these places strongly influenced their stories. The family were talented artists too, and I bought myself a postcard of one of Charlotte's watercolours 'heartsease' and have displayed it on my mantel. We were planning on having a little wander around the meadow behind the Parsonage.. It used to be where the Bronte's hung their washing out and is now home (in summer) to wild flowers and a spectacular view of the moors. But it was a bit muddy underfoot after all the snow and slush so we will definitely return in better weather and have a picnic, breathe in the flowers, take in the scenery and embrace these three women who wrote some of the greatest novels in English literature. x