Victorian Novelists


Give your students a new perspective on Victorian literature by visiting one of the most important literary homes in the area. Find out about its most famous literary resident Edward Bulwer Lytton, as students examine the literary and social context in which he and close associates, such as Charles Dickens and Lord Tennyson, produced their work.

“Think of a great moment in the evolution of Victorian fiction and Lytton was there. He can plausibly claim to be the father of the English detective novel, science fiction, the fantasy novel, the thriller and the domestic realistic novel.”     John Sutherland, Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature, University College, London


Students will widen their knowledge of Victorian literature by learning about significant features of texts. Extracts from a variety of genres, primary archive material (such as Bulwer Lytton’s own letters) and critical texts are all made use of during your visit. Students will find out why Bulwer Lytton was a pioneering writer and his influence on modern literature and language.Pupils should continue to have opportunities to write for a range of real purposes and audiences. 

What to expect

Your morning in Knebworth House will consist of a tour of the House, visiting literary highlights such as the Library, Bulwer Lytton’s study and the Banqueting Hall  where Dickens staged plays for the family. In the afternoon, teachers will lead their group in exploring the Victorian history of the Gardens and the gothic exterior of the house, following a self-guided trail ‘Gargoyles and Greenery’. Alternatively, reward pupils with an afternoon visit to the Adventure Playground.


Please arrive by 10.00 am to get ready for your day. We will meet your coach and show you the facilities. You will then be taken through the Garden to the House where the programme starts at 10.15 am promptly  There is a lunch break at around 12.00 midday for students to have their packed lunch. Your guide will show you the outdoor picnic tables at the Barns where you can have your picnic.

If you would like to book a visit to the Gift Shop during the lunch break, please indicate this on the booking form. Students will enjoy browsing the wide range of affordable souvenirs. Alternatively, we can make up pre-paid  themed goody bags to various price points. Please discuss with the group bookings team.

The afternoon session commences at around 12.45 pm  and concludes around 2.15 pm to enable you to rejoin your coach in good time for the trip back to school.

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