Bookworms will swoon over this top list of literary destinations worldwide. Most literary tours show off bookshops and author’s birthplaces. But we’ve read between the lines to find cosy corners and magical museums where you can actually immerse in a fictional world and transform into your favourite character for a day.
Kids of all ages, bring your wizarding wands and detective hats. Oh, the places you’ll go!
Books and destinations for littlies
Winnie the Pooh – Hartfield, England
Follow the honey-trail into the real Hundred Acre Wood, which is in Ashdown Forest, East Sussex.
A.A. Milne drew inspiration for his stories from watching his son, Christopher Robin, play in this very spot. Stop by at River Medway in Posingford Wood for a game of Poohsticks en route to nearby Hartfield. Pop in to Pooh Corner for a honey treat in Piglet’s Tea Room and a small museum of Pooh paraphernalia. You can also buy maps and information on Winnie the Pooh attractions in the region.
Wind in the Willows – Henley-on-Thames, England
Henley-on-Thames is home to the River and Rowing Museum, which has a dedicated Wind in the Willows museum. You can make a cup of tea in Toad’s caravan and enjoy other interactive activities with 3D models, lighting and music.
Read more: Sleep like royalty in these English castles
Dr. Seuss – Springfield, Massachusetts, USA
The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum is located in the home town of Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr Seuss. You can enjoy the interactive first floor in Spanish or English. Play the Lorax recycle game, try out a Giant Marble Maze and enjoy the Seuss Bakery. Climb on the Wump of Gump, stack Yertle and his turtle friends and play an instrument in Horton’s Whoville Band. Upstairs, discover a recreation of Dr Seuss’ studio and living room. Pack a picnic lunch of green eggs and ham to munch on in the memorial park, beside bronze statues of Horton and the Lorax. The rest of Springfield’s Museums are right next door, so you might want to explore the Science Museum, Fine Arts Museum and more while in the neighbourhood.
Books and destinations for primary schoolers
Anne of Green Gables – Prince Edward Island, Canada
Everyone’s favourite fiery redhead hails from Prince Edward Island. Cavendish and Charlottetown are packed full of all things Anne. First on the itinerary is the Green Gables Heritage Place, the inspiration for author L.M. Montgomery’s setting. Take a self-guided tour of the farmhouse, meet Anne herself and venture out on one of Anne’s favourite walking trails along Lover’s Lane or through the Haunted Wood. You can also visit the Anne of Green Gables Museum at Silver Bush for one of Matthew’s Carriage Rides or stock up on souvenirs at the Anne of Green Gables Store in Charlottetown.
Read more: Return to the wild in Canada
Harry Potter – United Kingdom and beyond
England is full of encounters with literature’s most famous young wizard. King’s Cross station in London really does have a Platform 9 ¾. Visit Alnwick Castle in England’s Northumberland, which appeared as Hogwarts in the first two films, and watch the Hogwarts Express cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland’s Inverness. Venture further afield into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Orlando Resort, where you can sip on a butter beer in Hogsmeade.
Little House on the Prairie – De Smet, South Dakota, USA
Live a day in the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote about her childhood in De Smet, South Dakota. You can drive the covered wagon, sit in on a lesson in the old School House, twist hay into sticks, make your own corn cob doll and take home a jump rope. You’ll learn plenty about pioneer history along the way! For die-hard fans, camping is available on the property. Pitch your own tent, or book in for a good night’s sleep in a covered wagon or the Bunkhouse.
Sherlock Holmes – 221B Baker Street, London, England
In Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels, quirky detective Sherlock Holmes and his offsider Dr. Watson could be found at this London address. Now, it is home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, as well as many a pipe and an armchair.
Books and destinations for teens
Wuthering Heights – Yorkshire Moors, England
Call out for Heathcliff as you wander the wind-beaten moors of North Yorkshire. The Bronte sisters grew up in the small mill town of Haworth and surrounds. There is no doubt that the atmospheric outdoors inspired their famous gothic romances. The Bronte Parsonage Museum was their house and now contains their letters, manuscripts and early editions.
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand
Step into the Shire, only two hours from Auckland. You can take fully guided tours of the hobbit holes, the Mill and the Green Dragon Inn, all used in the films. Keep an eye on the special event calendar, which includes Christmas parties (hobbit-style) and a Middle Earth mid-summer celebration. Be sure to book in advance.
Twilight – Forks, Washington, USA
Vampire fever hit this once-sleepy town hard thanks to Stephanie Meyer’s teen romance about Bella and Edward. Pick up a Twilight Tour map from Forks Chamber of Commerce. It will guide you past key sites including Bella’s pick-up truck, La Push beach and Miller Tree Inn, which matches the novel’s descriptions of the Cullen house. The much-loved Forever Twilight in Forks Festival will next run from September 10th to 13th in 2020.
Romeo and Juliet – Verona, Italy
Feel the passion of Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers in sun-drenched Verona. You can even look out from Juliet’s balcony at the Casa di Giulietta, once belonging to the Capello family. There is a bronze statue of the fated beauty in the courtyard, and a long tradition of sticking a letter to Juliet on the walls for luck in love.
Jane Austen – Bath, England
Two of Jane Austen’s novels, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, were set in Bath. Austen herself spent many years living here. Wander the Regency- and Georgian-era architecture before landing at the Jane Austen Centre at 40 Gay Street. Located in an original Georgian townhouse similar to those in which Austen and her characters would have stayed, the centre has costumed guides, walking tours, wax statues, films and exhibits. Enjoy an afternoon tea in the Regency Tea Room.
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