It is always so lovely when children discover a real enjoyment for books. Their excitement for something they’ve learned from a classic novel or a more modern tale is really infectious. I’ve always loved seeking out places which have inspired children’s books and places where little ones can let their new love of literature run wild. There are many great locations around England to bring books alive and here are five child friendly attractions for the perfect junior literary tour of England.
1. The Gruffalo trail, Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, Kent
Arguably Julia Donaldson’s most successful and well-loved children’s book, The Gruffalo has allowed a generation of children to be as brave as a clever mouse. This fabulous trail in Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, Kent gets little ones to explore inside the world of mouse, fox, owl and snake and head out to try and spot a Gruffalo of their very own.
Armed with an augmented reality app, children (and the whole family) will love the chance to seek out clues, spot footprint markers and you can also pick up a special spotting kit which includes activity cards, stationary, stickers and a collection bag. This is a popular trail so check their website for information on the best times to visit.
2. The Wind in the Willows, Oxfordshire…and Cornwall
Kenneth Grahame’s classic tale of life on the riverbank and the adventures of Toad, Badger, Ratty and Mole have been much loved for over a century and taking a stroll out in the Oxfordshire countryside around Mapledurham House you can quite imagine the tale being dreamt up in this idyllic location and the house itself is thought to have conjured up the idea for Toad Hall. However as we learned on a trip to Falmouth, Grahame wrote some of the novel in Cornwall and if you explore the National Trust run Ethy Wood you can see why Cornish locals believe this might have been the place that helped create the locations in the book, filled with wonderful trails and a chance to spot wildlife of all shapes and sizes.
A literary tour of England for younger children – five literary inspired attractions your kids will love
3. The Tales of Peter Rabbit, The Lake District
On stop three on our literary tour of England, you won’t struggle to find inspiration in the Lake District and dotted around this wonderful national park you can discover more about Beatrix Potter, including her home at Hilltop, not far from Lake Windermere. The park is packed with places for youngsters to explore with Derwent Water being a great location to try out some sketches in the same way Beatrix did. If your children know the tales well they’ll love to climb Cat Bells in the footsteps of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and step on to St Herbert’s island – home to Old Brown. There’s so much to enjoy here.
4. The BFG, Bamburgh Castle and Beach, Northumberland
The fantastical tale of the BFG takes place in a variety of locations, ranging from Giant land to Buckingham Palace and the recent film of Roald Dahl’s classic novel has brought to life a whole host of locations in the book. One place which is perfect to visit for a spot of fun is Bamburgh Castle and beach (shown at the top of the page) where the BFG’s footprints were washed away in the sea and his home while on his adventures. This is a really wonderfully evocative area and the perfect spot to have a Whoopsy whiffling and Hopscotchy time!
5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Oxfordshire
While our junior literary tour of England doesn’t include a trip down the rabbit hole to Wonderland, it is possible to take a trip down the River Thames through Oxfordshire where a girl called Alice was first told the tale which became the much loved children’s novel. The three mile trip along the river from Folly Bridge to Godstow gave Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pseudonym of Lewis Carroll, the idea for the adventures. He even set the tale in the county of Oxfordshire, meaning that Wonderland surely has to be somewhere nearby. Taking a short boat trip along the Thames from the bridge and following in their wake is the perfect way to enjoy this beautiful stretch of water.
‘A literary tour of England for younger children – five literary inspired attractions your kids will love’ is part of our collaboration with Visit England – keep an eye on the ‘Literary Adventures’ tab at the top of the page for more inspiration and find out more about Visit England here – https://www.visitengland.com/