The best hotels in the UK with literary connections

Catch up on your reading while indulging in these inspirational hotels for your next break

(Image credit: Hasselblad H5D)

There's nothing better when you're on holiday than kicking back and getting lost in a good book. Here we explore the UK's best literary hotels, from those that inspired some of the classics to the ones which provided a welcome sanctuary for some of history's best creative minds.

Stone House Hotel

Set in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales in an acre of old English gardens, the Stone House Hotel has charm in spades. It also has a unique connection to one of Britain's best-loved fictional characters courtesy of a famous former guest. Back in the early 1900s, the hotel's head gardener was also known as a talented cricketer, described by one spectator as a 'demon bowler'. During a match in 1913, a certain PG Wodehouse, who happened to be in the crowd, was said to have been so impressed with the performance that he always remembered the name of the player, Percy Jeeves, who unwittingly inspired the name of the famous butler.

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(Image credit: ©Hotel Photography)

Brown's Hotel

As one of London's oldest five-star hotels, Brown's has celebrity in its DNA. Throughout its 180-year history it's welcomed regal and Hollywood dignitary alike, and can even lay claim to being the setting of the UK’s first ever phone call, when Alexander Graham Bell put his invention to the test while staying there in 1876. As for literary connections, the list of storied former guests reads like a who’s who of celebrated writers. Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, JM Barrie and Bram Stoker were all regular guests. Agatha Christie is said to have based her novel At Bertram's Hotel on Brown's, and Rudyard Kipling, who spent his wedding night at the hotel in 1892, apparently wrote The Jungle Book during one of his regular stays. Though this fact is somewhat disputed, Brown's wears the association like a badge of honour, with the sprawling, jungle-inspired Kipling Suite dedicated to the novelist.

Moonfleet Manor

The Dorset village of Fleet was immortalised in J Meade Falkner's Moonfleet, a tale of smuggling, treasure and treachery. In the book, the ghost of Colonel "Blackbeard" Mohune is said to haunt the local graveyard and, although it is a work of fiction, the Mohune family were very real. Maximillion Mohune built Fleet House – as it was formerly known – in 1603, which passed through many hands throughout the centuries before undergoing a £1million refurbishment in the 1990s to transform it into the luxury hotel it is today. The secluded Georgian Manor, overlooking Chesil Beach, provides the perfect vantage point to take in the Dorset coast.

(Image credit: Michael Weber Photography)

The Langham

Europe's first Grand Hotel, throughout the Victorian era The Langham was a home-from-home for royalty, artists and musicians across the world, finding particular popularity with the literary set that frequented Fitzrovia and Bloomsbury. Counted among them are Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain and the establishment was of particular significance for Sherlock Holmes novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. His character Count Von Kramm takes inspiration from the hotel's high-class clientele, with The Langham receiving a name check in the short story A Scandal in Bohemia.

The Old Swan

This hotel in Harrogate provided refuge to Agatha Christie in 1926 where, as the story goes, she disappeared from her Berkshire home following revelations that her husband was having an affair. For the 11 days she was missing, even the home secretary at the time, William Joynson-Hicks and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were brought in to track down her whereabouts. She was identified as a guest at the Swan Hydropathic Hotel, as it was then known, under the name Mrs Teresa Neele from Cape Town. Now called The Old Swan, this distinguished Victorian hotel is the ideal bolthole from which to explore the pretty historic spa town.

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