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Walk In The Shoes Of Your Favourite Authors - The UK's Best Literary Days Out

Ever finished a book and wished you could have been there? Well now you can! Sort of, anyway - here you can see the places which have served as the setting or inspiration for a number of fantastic books!

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J. R. R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings – Moseley Bog in Birmingham

Young John Ronald Reuel (yes, that’s what that second R stands for) grew up in Birmingham, and Moseley Bog was where he often played as a child. He has stated that the nature reserve served as his inspiration Middle Earth’s “Old Forest”, the home of Tom Bombadil.

Charles Dickens: The Pickwick Papers – The Spaniards Inn in London

The man himself – Charles Dickens – used to visit The Spaniards Inn, which was built in 1585, and set a scene of The Pickwick Papers in it. It also featured in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Keats reportedly wrote Ode to a Nightingale while there. Grab an ale and soak yourself in the literary atmosphere.

Roald Dahl: Fantastic Mr Fox – Angling Spring Wood near Great Missenden

Mr Dahl spent a lot of time walking through these lovely woods, and The Witches’ Tree inspired in him the ideas behind the home of Fantastic Mr Fox. Sadly, that tree in particular was felled by a storm in 2003, but it lies where it fell to this day, allowing visitors to still appreciate it.

Lewis Carroll: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Christ Church College in Oxford

Oxford is a very literary city, having influenced a wide variety of different tales and raising a number of acclaimed authors and playwrights. If you’re looking to see the areas that helped Lewis Carroll imagine Alice’s adventures, Oxford is the place to be. The best spot to visit is the Great Hall in Christ Church College – Carroll studied mathematics at this part of the University, and there’s a beautiful stained glass window there, featuring a portrait of Alice herself.

Thomas Hardy: Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Stonehenge in Wiltshire

The dramatic finale of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel takes place right here at Stonehenge. If you’re a fan of your classics, you’ll definitely want to take a look around – or even if you’re not! It’s Stonehenge after all, you’re missing out if you’ve never seen it for yourself.

Beatrix Potter: The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies – Gwaenynog Hall in Denbigh

One of Beatrix Potter’s most beloved stories found its basis here at Gwaenynog Hall in Denbigh; the estate belonged to her uncle, and The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies ended up being set in the gardens there. If you’re willing to further explore Denbighshire, you can find a host of child-friendly activities to take part in, all to help get you a little closer to the famed children’s author.

Agatha Christie: Sleeping Murder – The Imperial Hotel in Torquay

If you’re in this seaside town and are a lover of crime fiction, you’d best head down to the Imperial Hotel! This 19th-Century hotel was visited by Agatha Christie on a number of occasions, and starred in three of her works! It appears as the Majestic Hotel in The Body in the Library and Peril at End House, and finally got to feature under its own name in Sleeping Murder, the final Miss Marple story.

A. A. Milne: Winnie-the-Pooh – Ashdown Forest in East Sussex

We all know that Christopher Robin was based on a real boy (Milne’s son), but did you know the Hundred-Acre Wood was based on a real forest? Ashdown Forest, to be precise, which even offers two dedicated “Pooh walks”, along which you’ll see such sites as Roo’s Sandpit and the Poohsticks Bridge, before stopping off at a picnic stop to enjoy a pot of hunny.

Bram Stoker: Dracula – Whitby in North Yorkshire

Believe it or not, Whitby actually provided the eerie backdrop for much of Bram Stoker’s seminal 1897 work, Dracula. Feeling brave? Fancy following in the vampire’s footsteps? Then you might want to give the local ghost walk a try – it’s called “In Search of Dracula”.

Charles Dickens: Bleak House – Bleak House in Kent

Formerly known as Fort House, Bleak House was a holiday estate belonging to Dickens himself. It was here he wrote David Copperfield, as well as starting Bleak House itself. After his death, Fort House was renamed in his honour. If you want to see how old Charlie wrote, take a look around his study.

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