Thursday, 14 August 2008 12:00 AM
Whether you want to walk where famous authors have walked or visit the haunts of your favourite fictional characters, the world is full of literary tourist destinations. Places influence writing and often great writing ultimately influences place so here are the top ten literary destinations in the world, as rated by editors from travel community TripAdvisor.
Great expectations: London, England
London was the birthplace or home of many of the greatest authors of all time, including Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton, John Keats and HG Wells.
Visitors can stop by the home of Dickens, see the house where Samuel Johnson wrote the first comprehensive English dictionary, or go on one of many guided walks that let you follow in Sherlock Holmes' footsteps.
Some are born great: Stratford-upon-Avon, England
As the birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon is a Mecca for literature enthusiasts.
Travellers can catch a glimpse into the Bard's early life, see the magnificent Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) perform, or pay tribute to the father of modern literature at his final resting place.
The game is afoot: Edinburgh, Scotland
We have Edinburgh authors to thank for some of the world's most beloved stories and characters - from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes to JK Rowling's Harry Potter.
Take a walking tour of Edinburgh's medieval Old Town to learn about Scottish literary characters and history, or celebrate the contributions of Robbie Burns, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson at the Writer's Museum.
Portals of discovery: Dublin, Ireland
Dublin's greatest authors from Yeats to Heaney have often found inspiration from their home city. This is particularly evident in James Joyce's Dubliners and Jonathan Swift's satirical A Modest Proposal.
The Dublin Literary Pub Crawl is now in its 20th year, with actors and writers guiding tourists through some of the cities most famous literary haunts.
A wink of the eye: New York, New York
Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg once hung out in New York's White Horse Tavern; Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer and John Ashbery called the city home; and the Harlem Renaissance brought to light African-American literary greats like Richard Wright and Langston Hughes.
Take a literary walking tour of Greenwich Village or immerse yourself in the New York Public Library's immense collection.
Live free: Concord, Massachusetts
A unique destination for its small size and depth of literary history, Concord is the site of Walden Pond, inspiration for Thoreau's Walden, and also the house where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women.
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne also called Concord home in the 1800s and for the ultimate literary pilgrimage, visit the final resting places of all these literary giants in the Author's Ridge section of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
Absorbed in thought: Paris, France
The literary history of Paris - from French authors like Victor Hugo, Voltaire, and Alexander Dumas to Americans such as Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald and others of the 'Lost Generation' - is rich and diverse.
With its famous book stalls ("Les Bouquinistes") lining the Seine, and famed literary cafes like les Deux Magots, once frequented by greats like Hemingway and Albert Camus, the City of Light's literary vibe lives on.
See with the eyes of angels: San Francisco, California
When Ginsberg and Kerouac moved from New York to San Francisco, they brought their new literary style with them, establishing the city as a new hub of the Beat Generation.
See the site of their famed first poetry reading - along with others of their circle like Philip Whalen - at the Six Gallery, still one of the city's hippest galleries with live music, readings and two bars.
Or have a coffee in the Vesuvio cafe, once patronised by Kerouac.
Or visit the popular City Lights Bookstore, founded by Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, which brings literature and progressive politics together. http://www.citylights.com/
Time flies: Rome, Italy
Birthplace of some of the world's most influential literature, Rome was home to ancient greats like Virgil, who penned The Aeneid.
Rome's literary importance has continued to the present day, with foreign authors like Keats, Shelley, James and many more coming to draw inspiration from the hub of the ancient world.
Be sure to visit the Keats-Shelley House on Rome's historic Spanish Steps, a site visited by many other authors and artists throughout history.
Beauty is mysterious: St Petersburg, Russia
With its remarkable history highlighted by Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Alexander Pushkin and Fyodor Dostoevsky, St Petersburg is a renowned literary destination.
Dostoevsky inhabited a number of apartments throughout the city, and in his last, where he wrote The Brothers Karamazov, there is now a museum dedicated to his life.
Literary walking tours also allow visitors to see the city through the famous authors' eyes.