7 of the best UK literary walks

1. Dylan Thomas Trail, Llanon to New Quay, Wales

Welsh poet Dylan Thomas perhaps best known globally for his radio-to-stage play Under Milk Wood has inspired a walking route through his purported favourite parts of the Ceredigion area in Cardiganshire.

The walk begins in Llanon (sometimes Llan-non) leading you through some of Wales’ best bits in between: pretty woodland, secret valleys, the hamlet of Talsarn and the beautiful Cardigan Bay, to name a few. The town of New Quay – your final destination – is thought to be where Dylan began writing this piece. Sometimes it’s even touted as the drama’s fictional town Llareggub (best read backwards), though Laugharne in Carmarthenshire may fight you on that one.

This trail is some what challenging so if you tend to favour a quiet stroll, simply choose your favorite spots along the route and enjoy a peaceful walk. 

2. Zadie Smith’s north-west London, England

Walk just about anywhere in central London and you’re bound to find a literary connection, head in any direction from the centre of the capital and you’ll start seeing blue plaques, recognisable street names, and neighbour hoods illuminated by countless novels.

When it’s time for a walk away from the tourist traps discover north-west London through the eyes of bestselling novelist Zadie Smith. Her book, NW, details a trail covering Willesden, Kilburn, Hampstead and Hornsey, embarked on by one of the main characters. The walk will make you feel, in some small way, like you’ve stepped inside NW’s pages – there’s also the connection to the author herself. Zadie is a north London native, and the area also serves as one of several locations in her smash-hit.

This trail isn’t marked nor is it available as a walking tour. Instead you’ll have to rely on your reading material nearby tube stations, and perhaps the odd direction from a kind stranger. Plot your route with a bit of help: Zadie narrated a highlighting some key places from NW, and journalist/blogger Andrew Whitehead made the journey himself in three hours and detailed his route here

3. Narnia aka Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland

If you’re after literary highlights and hot spots in Northern Ireland you can’t go wrong with Belfast. A number of pubs old-school libraries and quirky independent bookshops combine to make this a charming stroll for any book-lover whichever you decide to visit. Naturally there are countless walking tours on offer

Visit Mourne Mountains highlights two trails for CS Lewis fans: one in (you guessed it) his hometown of Belfast following his favorite childhood nature spots, and the second is a challenging hike through the mountains, called the Cloughmore Trail. Here you’ll find interesting stops like the Tree People, the Dancing Green and even a 50-ton granite boulder thought to have inspired Aslan’s table.

4. Thomas Hardy’s Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, England

There are many places to follow in Victorian writer Thomas Hardy’s footsteps throughout southern England – and many official trails to choose from – though his birthplace, Hardy’s Cottage in Higher Bock hampton, is a fascinating place to visit and makes a lovely walk if you want to get there on foot.

To reach the cottage, a seven-mile trail from Dorchester through the nature reserve at picturesque Thorncombe Wood is recommended by Visit Dorset, Simply follow along and enjoy the Dorset countryside.