As a country England is spoilt for choice when it comes to book-inspired destinations. It is, after all, the home of literary greats such as William Shakespeare and Jane Austen as well as children’s authors like Beatrix Potter, Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. Being able to combine literary history with travel is a great way to add a bit of education into a family trip. It seems more of us are looking for them too with more than half of Brits saying they’d chose to visit a literary destination, according to research by VisitEngland. To give you some inspiration, here’s eight literary destinations to visit with – or without – the family.

Stratford-Upon-Avon, William Shakespeare River Avon, Stratford-Upon-Avon England’s most famous literary great, William Shakespeare, was born in 1564 in Stratford-Upon-Avon in Staffordshire. You can visit the house where Shakespeare was born and spent his childhood. Four other houses associated with ‘The Bard’ are also open to the public including his daughter’s and love interest, Anne Hathaway. Children are catered for with craft activities, activity trails and dressing up.

Shakespeare's Birth Place, Stratford-Upon_Avon
Shakespeare’s House, Stratford-Upon-Avon (Credit: Shakespeare’s Birth Trust: Amy Murrell)

You can also look inside Holy Trinity church where Shakespeare was baptised and buried. See one of his works performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and adjacent Swan Theatre. The town’s half-timbered housing and riverside location makes it a picturesque place to wander around. For family-friendly events visit the Shakespeare website and for more on the market town go to the Visit Stratford-Upon-Avon website.

Cumbria, Beatrix Potter  Lake District, England The children’s books created by writer and illustrator Beatrix Potter were inspired by her holidays to the Lake District. The National Park in Cumbria, Northern England is an idyllic scene of rolling peaks and is home to Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain.

See the author’s 17th century farmhouse, Hill Top where she wrote her tales. Meet the likes of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny at Beatrix Potter World where you can walk through 3D scenes from her books. Take a tour of the picturesque region and discover more about the author and her books on the Beatrix Potter trail. For more information go to the Visit Cumbria website.

Haworth, Yorkshire – The Bronte Sisters Haworth in West Yorkshire The three Brontë sisters wrote some of the most powerful novels of their time in the early 19th century. They penned the books in their father’s parsonage in the small village of Haworth, North Yorkshire which is now a museum. Learn more about the family, their talents and tragedies (the family of six siblings all fell victim to Tuberculosis), view where they wrote their famous novels and see some of their personal possessions. Visit the Brontë Waterfalls and the Brontë Bridge, considered to be the sisters’ favourite places and wander around the surrounding moors where Emily got inspiration for Wuthering Heights and the brooding Heathcliff and Charlotte envisioned Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester.

Whitby, Bram Stoker Whitby, North Yorkshire, England Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel, Dracula, has spawned hundreds of films, parodies and follow up books. But it was during a trip to the seaside town of Whitby on the east coast of North Yorkshire where Stoker was inspired by the scenery and town’s local myths and legends. Whitby Abbey, north Yorkshire The town’s medieval Abbey and dramatic, craggy coastline provides the setting for the first few chapters of the book while the title name was sourced from a book he found at the public library. See the sights which inspired Stoker by taking the 199 steps leading up from Tate Hill to St Mary’s Church and Whitby Abbey. Head to the Royal Hotel on the West cliff and look down at virtually the same view Stoker would have seen in the 1890s. For older children (and adults brave enough) there’s the Dracula Experience. Make sure you try some of Whitby’s famous fish and chips too! Visit the Yorkshire website for more information.

Bath, Jane Austen Bath, England Although she grew up in Hampshire, Jane Austen spent several years in the spa city of Bath and it is where she wrote Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Visit the Bath Assembly rooms which feature in her books and the Jane Austen Centre. Learn more about the author at the centre and the era she wrote about. There’s the opportunity to dress up and add to the experience at the centre’s Regency tea rooms. Jane Austen Centre, Bath Just walking the streets of Bath will have you reimagining her novels. A great insight, especially for those studying her works. For must-see Jane Austen locations in England read my post here and for more information go to the Visit Bath website.

Alnwick Castle, Harry Potter Alnwick Castle, Northumberland You are spoilt for choice for Harry Potter inspired locations in the UK. From the Warner Bros studio tour to London’s Kings Cross station, the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland as well as JK Rowling’s home city of Edinburgh. But how about visiting Hogwarts itself? The first two Harry Potter movies were filmed at Alnwick castle near Newcastle. Take in the sweeping grounds and grand castle owned by the Percy family. You can do broomstick training and take a guided tour of some of the locations used in the Harry Potter films as well as other films and TV shows such as Elizabeth, Downton Abbey and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire – Roald Dahl  Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden The quaint village of Great Missenden in Southern England was where Roald Dahl lived for 36 years and aspects of which found its way into his beloved stories. It is now home to the award-winning Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. Aimed at 6 to 12 year olds, the story centre will help their imagination go into overdrive while the museum is filled with interactive galleries, a look at the history of Dahl’s life and it also has daily crafts. For Roald Dahl tours and walks around the village, set in the Chiltern hills, visit the region’s website.

Dorset, Enid Blyton Corfe Castle, Dorset The stories written by children’s author Enid Blyton during the first half of the 20th century  continue to be enjoyed today and this year marks the 75th anniversary of her best-selling Famous Five series. The London-born author spent her holidays in Dorest on England’s south coast and it provides the setting for many of her books. The ruins of the medieval Corfe Castle in Purbeck, for example, was the inspiration for Kirrin Castle in her Famous Five series. You can explore the castle, run by the National Trust, which puts on regular events for children and wander the surrounding hills and area. Jurassic Coast Blyton would walk along the striking Jurassic coast, go to Brownsea Island (Whispering Island) and visit the seaside town of Swanage. You can take a trip on a steam train, like Blyton would have done, on the Swanage’s heritage railway and retrace Blyton’s footsteps on the Enid Blyton trail. Go to the Visit Dorest website for more inspiration and look out for the Enid Blyon garden parties happening across all four RHS gardens throughout 2017.

Have you been to any of these literary destinations before and which ones would you like to visit or recommend going to?

*Disclosure: I am working with VisitEngland as part of the Year of Literary Heroes, looking at the best travel across the country for those who love books. Check out the #bookengland tag to discover more and share your experiences.

** Pictures courtesy of VisitEngland and Pixabay



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38 Comments on Top Literary Destinations For Families In England

  1. Wilbur
    April 23, 2017 at 8:51 am (7 months ago)

    Some great choices and loads more too like Dorchester for Thomas Hardy. I followed your advice and went to ‘Winnie the Pooh’ woods on Easter Monday. Unbelievably there was a fire whilst we were there – I put some pictures on wilburstravels. Wilbur.

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 10:34 am (7 months ago)

      Very true Wilbur, we really are spoilt for choice in the UK. Oh great, but not so great on the fire. Will check it out.

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 10:34 am (7 months ago)

      I am a big famous five fan too! It’s interesting to see how broad their appeal is and continue to be!

      Reply
  2. Phoebe | Lou Messugo
    April 24, 2017 at 8:59 am (7 months ago)

    I love the idea of visiting locations with a literary connection but am ashamed to say I’ve only been to 2 of these places: Alnwick Castle and Beatrix Potter’s Cumbria. I can’t believe I haven’t been to Stratford or Bath, how this has happened is beyond me!!! I actually go to North Yorkshire reasonably often so next time must make more of an effort to do some literary tourism. #mondayescapes
    Phoebe | Lou Messugo recently posted…Sunday Photo – mountain reflectionMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 10:36 am (7 months ago)

      Well, if we are going on confessions Phoebe, I’ll admit I’ve not been to the Lake District before. It’s on my list for this year. You do have a good excuse though – you are based in France!

      Reply
  3. Katie
    April 24, 2017 at 5:44 pm (7 months ago)

    I am ashamed to say that I actually haven’t seen much of the UK even though I am British! I am heading to Bath and Stonehenge this summer and can’t wait for our weekend trip to Liverpool this weekend 🙂 #mondayescapes
    Katie recently posted…TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN HONG KONGMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 9:19 pm (7 months ago)

      Have a great time! Sometimes it’s the places closest to us that we put off visiting.

      Reply
  4. Wherejogoes
    April 24, 2017 at 6:15 pm (7 months ago)

    Lots of great ideas here. We visited Stratford on Avon and Corfe Castle last year and both were fab literary locations. Alnwick Castle is on our list – last time we went was pre Harry Potter! So we must be due a return visit! #MondayEscapes
    Wherejogoes recently posted…SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE THEATRE, LONDONMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 9:18 pm (7 months ago)

      Oh definitely time to go back. I would love to go to Corfe Castle. It looks amazing.

      Reply
  5. Jane @ Raincity Librarian
    April 24, 2017 at 6:17 pm (7 months ago)

    OK, as a librarian this list made my heart sing!! I love the idea of doing a literary road trip, though I don’t know if my husband would be quite as excited. 🙂

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 9:17 pm (7 months ago)

      Yay, glad you enjoyed it! Literary road trip is a brilliant idea…surely the hubby will roll with it!

      Reply
  6. Claire
    April 24, 2017 at 7:38 pm (7 months ago)

    I’m ashamed to say I’ve only visited Cumbria on this list. Bath is top of my list. #mondayescapes

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 9:15 pm (7 months ago)

      Cumbria is the one that has so far eluded me. Bath seems to be a popular choice. Great city!

      Reply
  7. Notmyyearoff
    April 24, 2017 at 8:58 pm (7 months ago)

    I would love to do all of these. I think I’ve only ever seen the lakes and Haworth. I really want to see Bath sometime soon!
    Notmyyearoff recently posted…A walk round beautiful EdinburghMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 24, 2017 at 9:15 pm (7 months ago)

      Bath is beautiful -well worth a visit and the Jane Austen centre is great to look around. Hope you get there soon.

      Reply
  8. Mini Travellers
    April 24, 2017 at 11:08 pm (7 months ago)

    We truly are spoilt in the UK with all these literary places to visit right on our doorstep. It’s a lovely round up. Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes.
    Mini Travellers recently posted…Monday EscapesMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 25, 2017 at 4:49 pm (7 months ago)

      Thank you – and for hosting!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 25, 2017 at 4:53 pm (7 months ago)

      How fab! That’s great!!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 30, 2017 at 6:28 pm (7 months ago)

      There’s certainly plenty of them!

      Reply
  9. Sarah Christie
    April 25, 2017 at 9:22 pm (7 months ago)

    Aw I love this post some great inspiration, I love Haworth it is not that far from us and no matter how often we visit I love the little cobbled streets and Stratford Upon Avon is one of my fave place in the Uk outside London x
    Sarah Christie recently posted…A Great Little Chocolate Brownie RecipeMy Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 30, 2017 at 6:34 pm (7 months ago)

      Thanks Sarah! Haworth is such a quaint village. I need to explore Stratford Upon Avon a bit more.

      Reply
  10. naomi
    April 29, 2017 at 3:30 pm (7 months ago)

    i love this post and how it’s book themed! so cute! i definitely have some of these to add to my list. i have fond memories of beatrix potter from when i was young. 🙂
    #mondayescapes

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      April 29, 2017 at 11:06 pm (7 months ago)

      Thank you so much! Loved Beatrix Potter’s stories!

      Reply
  11. Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me)
    May 5, 2017 at 2:22 pm (7 months ago)

    I really want to visit Whitby, and Haworth – places I’ve never been. We’re so lucky, having all this heritage around us! Great post, and thanks for linking up with #CulturedKids. Just give me a shout if the badge isn’t working x
    Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me) recently posted…#CulturedKids May 2017My Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      May 11, 2017 at 1:35 pm (7 months ago)

      We’re really lucky! I need to tick a few more off my list!

      Reply
  12. Cathy (Mummytravels)
    May 6, 2017 at 5:54 pm (7 months ago)

    There really is an amazing amount packed into one relatively small country – we are lucky.
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted…City Tripping #74My Profile

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      May 11, 2017 at 1:33 pm (7 months ago)

      We certainly are!

      Reply
    • Wander Mum
      May 11, 2017 at 1:33 pm (7 months ago)

      Oh, perfect for teens!

      Reply
  13. the Curious Pixie
    May 7, 2017 at 10:44 pm (7 months ago)

    I’ve done 4 out of the 8 mentioned, so not too bad. I’d love to go to Alnwick Castle. My girls would go nuts, looks like a great place. #CulturedKids

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      May 11, 2017 at 1:33 pm (7 months ago)

      Well done! That’s really good going!

      Reply
  14. Helena
    May 20, 2017 at 9:46 pm (6 months ago)

    Books and travel two of my favourites. I’ve seen a few places linked to books especially Narnia and Harry Potter that are really interesting. #CulturedKids

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      May 21, 2017 at 1:23 pm (6 months ago)

      It’s a great way to see different places and be inspired to travel!

      Reply
  15. Farmerswifeandmummy
    May 20, 2017 at 10:56 pm (6 months ago)

    Ooo I can’t wait to take my kids to howarth and despite being the biggest Shakespeare’ and Jane Austen fan, I’ve never been to Stratford or bath. Brilliant list

    Reply
    • Wander Mum
      May 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm (6 months ago)

      Thank you so much! I need to explore a bit more of Stratford myself.

      Reply

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