To mark the 20th anniversary of World Book Day on 2nd March 2017 new research from VisitEngland shows that more than half of British holidaymakers would visit a literary attraction on holiday in England. Findings also show that one in four Brits visited a literary location in England during a holiday break in the last year. The same amount had read literature relating to a place they had visited in the country. 

VisitEngland’s first ever research into literary tourism, which surveyed more than 1200 people, found that 21% of trips with a literary link were to London. Famous for its connections with Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens, the capital just pipped Yorkshire to pole position. 

The figures also show that 20% of trips with a literary link were to Yorkshire, home of Haworth and Brontë country and Whitby Abbey, which inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The North West, the setting of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons and the home of Beatrix Potter, was the destination for 18% of literature-related travel. 

VisitEnglandDirector Patricia Yates said: “Books fire up our imagination, they conjure up people and places and they inspire us to explore locations and landscapes associated with our favourite stories. Our literary heroes have created a wealth of must-see literary attractions across the country, motivating generations of readers to explore and discover more of regional England.” 

Kirsten Grant, Director, World Book Day, said: “World Book Day is all about celebrating and promoting the pleasures of books and reading. We know that, for readers of all ages, interest in characters and book settings extends well beyond the page. We would love everyone to join our celebration and do something booky for World Book Day this year, whether getting down to their local bookshop, visiting a literary destination or simply reading a good book! We are delighted to be partnering with VisitEngland and National Trust to celebrate our special anniversary year. Literary destinations all over the country will be taking part in events on World Book Day itself and through World Book Day weekend, so find out what is happening near you.” 

England is home to more than 50 literature-related attractions, spanning authors’ homes, dedicated museums and world-renowned libraries. Sites associated with luminary writers Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare were the most popular among the English authors the research asked about, with half of respondents expressing an interest in visiting. Also high on the wish-list were locations associated with Roald Dahl, JK Rowling, Beatrix Potter, JRR Tolkien and Arthur Conan Doyle. 

VisitEngland has named 2017 the ‘Year of Literary Heroes’ in recognition of this year’s milestone literary events including the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and 75 years of The Famous Five. 

Tourism is worth more than £127 billion annually to the UK economy.