Chapter and verse Colin Dexter's Oxford The city of dreaming spires is haunted by the ghost of Inspector Morse, Dexter's morose detective. The brooding buildings are as important a presence as any of the characters in the novels and the 33 episodes of the television series which concluded last year with Morse's death in The Remorseful Day. A two-hour Inspector Morse walking tour departs from the tourist information centre at Gloucester Green at 1. 30 pm every Saturday.
Price 6. 35 (3. 50 for children). Book on 01865 726871. Treat yourself at Oxford's most stylish hotel, the Old Bank, in the historic heart of the city. Double room from 155.
Phone 01865 799599. James Joyce's Dublin. Dublin literary groupies turn out annually to celebrate Blooms day - June 16, the date of Stephen Dedalus's fictional odyssey across the city in Ulysses. For a crisper celebration of the work of Joyce, Brendan Behan, Oscar Wilde and other Irish literary greats try the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl.
This two-hour tour calls at a selection of pubs such as the Palace Bar where Flan n O'Brien was a regular at the "intensive care unit" (the lounge at the back). Actor-guides proclaim extracts en route. The tours start at the Duke Pub, Duke Street, at 7. 30 pm Thursday-Sunday in winter and daily in summer, plus noon on Sunday year-round. EUR 8. 89 (5.
50). 00 353 1 670 5602, dublinpubcrawl. com. Cresta (0870 2387711, uk.
mytravel. com) offers three nights at the Orm and Quay (decorated on a Joycean theme and close to the Duke) from 220 pp flying from Gatwick. Seamus Heaney's Bellaghy Ulster's Nobel Prize-winning poet was brought up at Bellaghy - still "the place in the world I feel most at home in." There is an exhibition of Heaney's life and work at the Bellaghy Bawn, a 17 th-century plantation stronghold converted into a craft centre. Watch a splendid 20-minute film in which Heaney introduces the local landscapes that feature in his poem - then explore them yourself. The Bellaghy Bawn (028 793 86812, magherafelt. gov.
uk / sporran ) is open Tuesday-Saturday, daily from Easter to August 31. 2 adults children. Stay at the Bush mills Inn (028 207 32339, from 44 pp per night B&B) on the dramatic Antrim coastline. For travel information, see ireland travel. co. uk or phone 0800 0397000.
Charles Dickens's London "London looks so large, so barren and so wild," cries Little Dorr it. The city is central to all of Dickens's novels (except Hard Times) and it is still possible to slip into the dark alleys and back streets and recreate the London where his characters led their oppressive lives. Follow Jean, in Victorian dress, on a two-hour journey into the nooks and crannies of Dickens's London with The Original London Walks (020-7624 3978, walks. co.
uk) every Friday at 2. 30 pm, price 5. Just turn up at the Temple underground station. Superbreak (08705 992993, superbreak.
com) offers four-star B&B in London from 49. 50 pp. William Wordsworth's Cumbria Wordsworth celebrated the daffodils "beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze" in his 1804 poem but the moment is also captured in his sister Dorothy's journal for April 15, 1802, when the pair were walking at Gow barrow Park by Ullswater: "I never saw daffodils so beautiful... they tossed and reeled and danced in the wind." For information on the Grasmere and Wordsworth Museum, contact the Wordsworth Trust (015394 35544, wordsworth.
org. uk). Grasmere tourist information centre, 015394 35245. Tours of Discovery (07949 149759, cumbria. com / discovery ) runs six-night literary walks. Jane Austen's Bath Persuasion and North anger Abbey were set in Bath, where Austen lived from 1801 to 1806.
The city retains a strong Georgian identity, with the Jane Austen Centre in a Georgian townhouse on Gay Street. There are daily walking tours in the summer and a festival runs September 21-29. The Jane Austen Centre, 40 Gay Street (01225 443000, jane austen. co. uk) is open daily. Admission 3.
95. The award-winning Queensferry (01225 447928, bathqueensberrry. com), an upmarket small hotel in Russel Street, near the Assembly Rooms. Double rooms from 120 including breakfast. William Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon The Bard's birthplace has its share of tourist tat but this is outweighed by the quality of performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company at the theatre on the banks of the Avon. This summer's season includes new productions of Much Ado About Nothing, Antony and Cleopatra (with Sinead Cusack), The Winter's Tale and The Tempest.
The RSC short break programme, operated by Sunvil UK (020-8758 4799, sunvil. co. uk / rsc ), offers a two-night break at the Stratford Moat House, within walking distance of the theatre, from 108 pp including an A-class ticket to the theatre. Irvine Welsh's Edinburgh The citizens of Edinburgh are famously described as "all fur coat and nae knickers"; these two extremes can be found on an Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour which celebrates works as diverse as Welsh's Trainspotting and Muriel Spark's more genteel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
The tour is led by two fictional characters, Cart and McBain, who debate the merits of Edinburgh authors from Sir Walter Scott to Welsh. The Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour (0131-226 6665, scot-lit-tour. co. uk) starts at the Beehive Inn, in the Grass market, at 7.
30 pm on Fridays in winter, daily in mid-summer. Price 7, no need to book. Seven Danube Street (0131-332 2755, about edinburgh. com / danube ) is a New Town Georgian house, from 90 for a double room B&B.
The Bront's Yorkshire The dark sandstone in the Pennines, west of Bradford, heightens the sense of isolation and bleakness on the windswept moors that inspired the novels of the remarkable Bront sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne. Emily's Wuthering Heights and Charlotte's Jane Eyre were written while the family lived at Haworth parsonage, where their father was vicar. Much of life in the village still revolves around the sisters today. For details about the town, call the tourist information centre on 01535 642329 or see bronte-country. com and haworth. yorks.
com. Stay on Haworth Moor at Hill Top Farmhouse (01535 643524) for 23 B&Bpp. Thomas Hardy's Dorset Hardy lived 82 of his 87 years in Dorset. The thatched cottage in the hamlet of Higher Bock hampton where he was born in 1840 and Max Gate in Dorchester, his home from 1885 until his death in 1928, are both National Trust properties.
Hardy's novels and most of his poetry are rooted in a landscape - the fictional Wessex - that remains largely unchanged today. Max Gate is open Monday, Wednesday and Sunday and Hardy's Cottage daily from Sunday to Thursday. See national trust. org. Blue Badge Guide Christine McGee (01258 817751) will tailor tours of Hardy country.
The Caster bridge Hotel in Dorchester (01305 264043, casterbridgehotel. co. uk). Double rooms from 58. Sebastian Faulks's Picardy The fields of northern France are still pockmarked with the scars of first world war battles.
Faulks's Birdsong is set in prewar Amiens and, later, on the western front during the bloody battles of the Marne, Verdun and the Somme. Poppies still flower on the broken ground and the graveyards remain a reminder of the hideous losses suffered there. The poems of Wilfred Owen vividly describe the "pity of war" on the same fields. Holds Tours (01304 612248, battle tours. co. uk) has an introductory tour to the battlefields: from 395 for four days half board.
Dostoevsky's St Petersburg Crime And Punishment and the Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky's sprawling novels, could only have been written in St Petersburg, a city of intrigue where western liberalism and eastern orthodoxy collide. Martin Randall Travel (020-8742 3355, martin randall. com) has a 12-day Russian Culture tour to St Petersburg and Moscow for 2, 550, which focuses on writers, composers and artists. Robert Louis Stevenson's Samoa "The first love, the first sunrise, the first South Sea island, are memories apart," wrote Robert Louis Stevenson. And while his work may be more readily associated with Edinburgh, it was Samoa that turned out to be Stevenson's last love: this restless traveller settled on the South Pacific island from 1889 until his death in 1894. His home is now a museum and his grave can be found on the hill above.
All Ways Pacific Travel (01494 432747, all-ways. co. uk) can include seven nights at the Sina lei Reef Resort on Samoa as part of a Pacific tour for 511. Graham Greene's Saigon The Quiet American, a story of decadence and naivety in the failing days of French colonialism in Vietnam, long predated the American war. Yet many of the landmarks that feature in Greene's novel survive in Ho Chi Minh City, as Saigon was renamed. Rue Catinat is now Dong Kho i and the brothel of 500 girls has become a ballet academy, but the Majestic Hotel and the Palais Caf remain much as they were.
Magic of the Orient (01293 537700, magic-of-the-orient. com) offers a four-day private tour of Ho Chi Minh City from 188 as part of a tour of the Far East.