With the summer holiday’s coming up, you’ll no doubt be looking for inspiration on how and where to spend the long six-week break. Why not travel to the places that inspired our best-loved children’s stories? Many of the most popular children’s tales are set right here in the UK – in our villages, towns and cities. To celebrate these incredible places that inspired authors and enchanted generations of children, Premier Inn has mapped out the UK, one iconic children’s book at a time.
The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Friends by Beatrix Potter – Set in and inspired by The Lake District
As a child the English author and illustrator Beatrix Potter, spent her summers in the Lake District taking in the beauty of the area which she painted, and the beloved yet naughty Peter Rabbit was created from the animals she sketched.
In 1905 she bought Hill Top Farm and moved to the Lake District permanently buying pieces of land as her books made more money so as to preserve the unique hill side landscape. This summer take a trip to the beautiful market town of Kendal which gives you a great base for visiting the Lake District, near to Kendal Castle and the World of Beatrix Potter.
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne – set in Ashdown Forrest, East Sussex
Winnie-the-Pooh is possibly the most treasured bear of all time and his famous stories have been captivating children since 1926. The stories, set in the beautiful surroundings of Ashdown Forest, allow for the most wonderful of woodland adventures for all who visit.
Take a quick trip to the education centre on site where you can pick up a map of the forest and follow in the great bear’s footsteps. As you follow the path, you’ll come across Pooh’s much-loved bridge where you can take a moment and play Pooh Sticks which was made famous by the yellow honey loving bear. Stay nearby in East Grinstead to also visit Hever Castle and the Bluebell railway.
Peter Pan by JM Barrie – set in London and Neverland
Peter Pan tells the tale of the mischievous boy who never grew up, and spent his days fighting pirates became one of the most beloved of children’s book characters.
JM Barrie commissioned a statue of Peter Pan which stands in Kensington Gardens and by staying close by in Kensington you can visit other places of interest, like Bloomsbury Square where the Darling family lived, and then down to St Martin's Lane to the Duke of York's Theatre where Peter Pan made its stage debut in 1904.
The Borrowers by Mary Norton –Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
Written by Mary Norton, The Borrowers tells the trials and tribulations of a family of tiny people, who live secretly beneath the floorboards of an old English house ‘borrowing’ from the big people in order to survive.
Set in Bedfordshire, the first of five adventures were written in 1955 and 50 years later a blue plaque was unveiled to honour the author. The house in which The Borrowers was set is now a school and you can see the blue plaque displayed proudly upon it. Other things to do in the area include a trip to Whipsnade Zoo, the Stockwood Discovery Centre and a Birds of Prey Centre in nearby Wilstead.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – Set in Oxford and Guildford, Surrey
Full of nonsense, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written in 1865 by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the name of Lewis Carroll. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland follows the story of a brave heroine named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by atypical anthropomorphic creatures.
Set in Oxford, the town offers many ways to acquaint the visitor with the history of the novel and its author. Or you could try a themed walking tour of the city and see the original copy of the books in the Bodleian Library. If you want to expand your ‘Carroll’ tour, take a trip to Guildford, Surrey where he wrote Alice Through the Looking Glass.