I love literary destinations – so much so that when my partner, Matthew, and I tied the knot earlier this year we had our honeymoon in Yorkshire so I could visit Brontë country. It completed our love story, really, because the first book I read when I moved from France to England was Jane Eyre – a gift from Matthew when he discovered my love of 19th-century literature.
Visiting literary destinations can be a brilliant way for kids to connect to reading, too. What better way to spark their interest in books than by taking them to places where writers have created characters and magical worlds from the inspiration around them. There are also some great museums and visitor centres where kids can learn more about their favourite author through interactive exhibits and activities.
You might like to try these...
The World of Beatrix Potter™
Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs. Tittlemouse – you’ll meet a whole host of Beatrix Potter’s characters during this tour. You can pop into Mrs Tiggy-winkle’s kitchen, see Tom Thumb hiding under the floorboards and get a photo of Mr. Jeremy Fisher on his lily-pad boat. There’s also a short film that introduces you to the author and her stories. While you’re in the Lake District, take a trip to Potter’s house, Hill Top, which has been kept exactly as she left it when she died in 1943. http://www.hop-skip-jump.com/ https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hill-top
The Gruffalo Trail
At Thorndon Country Park in Essex, kids can use a map or app to find the cast of characters from The Gruffalo – which, by the way, is my favourite business book. Just follow the clues and you’ll discover hand-crafted carvings of mouse, fox, owl, snake and, of course, The Gruffalo himself. http://www.visitparks.co.uk/education/gruffalo-trail/
Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre
You’ll find the fantabulous world of Roald Dahl in the Buckinghamshire village of Great Missenden, where the writer lived and wrote for over 30 years. The galleries are packed with things for 6-12 year-olds to see and do – like creating a character, making up a gobblefunk word, smelling chocolate doors and finding the mouse in the gobstopper jar. http://www.roalddahl.com/museum
Pooh Country Tour
It’s a real adventure tracking down the places that inspired author A A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books. A map will help you find the East Sussex locations for Roo’s Sandy Pit, The Heffalump Trap and Where The North Pole Was. A favourite for kids is Poohsticks Bridge, where Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore had fun racing their sticks in the stream. http://www.pooh-country.co.uk
The Harry Potter Experience
At the Warner Bros studio tour Harry Potter fans can step into the Great Hall, marvel at the Forbidden Forest and see the Hogwarts Express on Platform 9 ¾. There’s also chance to view props like the Puking Pastilles dispenser and a whole range of movie costumes. Plus you can find out more about the special effects used to bring Harry’s magical world to life. https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/experience
These are some of the best literary destinations in the UK, but do you have a favourite literary destination where you are? Tell me in the comments below
Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile. She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids. Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.