After what can only be described as the strangest school year EVER, the summer holidays have finally arrived!
A large number of children have spent the past four months at home, as Coronavirus has cast its hand of destruction across the globe.
It’s been a funny old year, and every single one of us has had to adapt to a new way of living, working and socialising.
With so much ongoing uncertainty in regards to travelling abroad, even the ordinary joys of the summer holidays are looking somewhat bleak for jet-setting families in search of the obligatory staples of sun, sea and sand.
But restrictions on holidays overseas needn’t mean a summer spent at home!
The UK is renowned worldwide for its glorious countryside, hearty food, hidden gem beaches and unrivalled heritage. When it comes to exploring our home turf, the possibilities really are endless! Whether its a wild weekend on the roller-coasters in Blackpool, or a few days trekking the rural hills of Wales, the UK has something for everyone.
Reading was a big part of my childhood. While I loved stepping into the pages of my beloved books and immersing myself within the endless possibilities of imaginations between the words, there was something so magical about visiting the real-life locations that had inspired the stories.
I have such fond memories of frequenting the Lake District, craning my neck out of the train window to catch a glimpse of Jemima Puddle-Duck flying overhead, or Tommy Brock gambolling in the hedgerows as we passed.
When I was younger, my Grandma and Grandad bought me a beautiful hard-backed collection of Beatrix Potter’s stories, complete with illustrations. I would sit on the floor at the foot of my Grandma’s armchair, totally enthralled as she read out tale after tale. Through Beatrix’s sublime descriptions and drawings, I fell under the spell of the Lake District long before I visited.
Below are a number of UK locations inspired by and themed around a variation of children’s literature that the whole family can visit this summer!
J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter -
The UK is a veritable Harry Potter shrine!
HP fans, take your pick!
Take a trip to Edinburgh and marvel at the very cafe JK sat in while crafting her masterpieces. Pop into the Greyfriars Graveyard and see if you can spot Tom Riddle’s headstone!
Edinburgh is a striking city with many curious twists and turns to explore and olde-worlde cobbles to tread. A stroll around the exhilaratingly mysterious town will transport one to another world – a world in which magic is to be believed…
Speaking of cities… Are you heading to London? Why not venture out of the city towards Watford for a day well spent at the incredible Warner Brother’s Studios?
Step behind the scenes of the films, while sampling Butterbeer, having a nosey around Snape’s potions lab, and gazing up at the quirky triple-decker Night Bus.
Why not extend the HP madness with a mooch around the capital, stopping off at various movie hotspots, including Kings Cross Station, Leadenhall Markets and the Millennium Bridge.
My personal favourite HP site-seeing staple has to be the breathtaking Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland.
Famed for the sight of the red stream train passing over en-route to Hogwarts, the bridge is undeniably iconic, and not to mention the fact that it showcases spine-tingling scenery from every angle!
Standing below its magnificent arches, you can almost hear the rumble of the approaching Hogwarts Express...
Beatrix Potter -
Is there anywhere dreamier than the Lake District?! I don’t think so!
The Lake District has an almost indescribable charm that draws visitors back time and time again.
Blessing yourself with a Lakes getaway assures an immediate release of all of life’s stresses and adversities.
Roaring countryside, jaw-dropping lakes, and a sprinkling of adorable boutiques and afternoon tea establishments make up Windermere, Ambleside, Ullswater, and everywhere in-between.
Beatrix fanatics can take a boat across Windermere Lake and attend Hill Top Farm, where the author once resided. In addition to this, the Peter Rabbit museum will bring childhood dreams to life. Whether Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten and Pigling Bland were a part of your childhood 50 years ago, or whether they are very much an integral part of your life now, the Lake’s link to Beatrix Potter will enchant all ages.
Roald Dahl’s The Witches -
Perhaps one of the most haunting tales of my childhood, the film adaption of Roald Dahl’s eerie novel boasts some stunning scenery!
Did you know that you can actually stay in the hotel that Luke and his Grandma visited?!
The Headland Hotel is set high upon roaring Cornish cliffs, and is as grand as it appears on the big screen. Surrounded by wild West Country splendour, it offers many an opportunity for limitless rambles and outdoor activities.
Keep an eye out for mice… And witches!
Enid Blyton’s Famous Five -
This is one for grown-ups to indulge in as well!
Who didn’t spend their childhood wishing that they could be a part of the epic Five gang?!
Thanks to the Famous Five, I spent my younger years yearning for Five-worthy adventures, rounded off with ‘lashing of ginger beer!’
Enid Blyton gathered much of her inspiration from the Dorset countryside. Rumour has it that Kirrin Castle was based upon Dorset’s very own Corfe Castle!
Pack a ‘wizard’ picnic to rival the Five’s and follow Enid’s footsteps and train of thought along craggy cliffs, perfectly quaint villages, and marvellous moorlands.
Who knows - you might even stumble upon an adventure of your own!
Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo -
Delamere Forest in Cheshire is a sweeping woodland wonderland!
It is the ideal place to burn off some energy and blow away the cobwebs. If one so desires, they are able to walk for miles, for the forest is seemingly infinite, and serene in abundance.
… But be aware – you’re not alone!
Somewhere in the depths of the forest stands the Gruffalo himself, patiently waiting to make some new buddies. Children will delight in the carved Gruffalo’s life-like stature and cheeky expression, and it’s a top opportunity for a selfie!
Explorers both young and old are bound to need some fuel after an exciting morning of Gruffalo hunting. Luckily, there is an amazing cafe/ice-cream parlour at the entrance of the forest – a divine accompaniment to a long walk!
Cara Jasmine Bradley