One of the things we love about reading is that it can take us to all sorts of wonderful places without ever having to leave the comfort of our own home. But every now and again, like Bilbo Baggins, we get the urge to leave our wee hobbit hole and venture a bit further afield in the real world. This doesn’t mean that we have to leave the world of books behind however and there are many literary related holiday destinations that would satisfy both the traveller and the bookaholic within us.
For me there is a small list of places I am determined that somehow, someway, someday I WILL visit. Actually that’s not true there are a million literary themed places that I want to visit but I don’t want you falling asleep while reading this so I’ll limit it to the top 4!
It won’t come as a surprise that this is top of the list. Like all Harry Potter fans when reading the books I became totally obsessed with the incredible world that J.K. Rowling created and when the studio tours started only dogs could hear the squeal I must’ve let out. Living in Scotland, it’s a mere country away so why haven’t I gone, you ask? There’s only one person I know who’s enough of a fan to go with me and she’s already been. Maybe if all of you kind bookaholics cross your fingers and toes, we’ll be able to convince her to go back! Carla, we’re looking at you kid! 😉 I have to wander down Diagon Alley at least once. I have to sit in the Gryffindor common room. I have to go to Honeydukes and end up in a sugar coma from all the sweets. I just have to!
This is one for all the Jane Austen fans out there as this is the house where she spent the majority of the last years of her life. She wrote Emma, Mansfield Park and Persuasion here, and revised Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. The house is now a museum open to the public where you can see the room overlooking the garden where she did her writing/reading and admire her favourite view, take a turn around the gardens as she and her sister, Cassandra must have done and visit the amazing giftshop for what I can only imagine is Christmas come early for Jane Austen fans like me. Can you imagine all the Austen souvenirs…? Sigh!
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London is a reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre built by Shakespeare’s playing company The Lord Chamberlain’s Men in 1599. I’ve seen modern day versions of Twelfth Night and Hamlet in the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow and this year I was lucky enough to see a unique interpretation of Much Ado About Nothing where the main characters were actually Benedick and Bertram, and the parties were more akin to the 90’s club scene that an Elizabethan ball! I had a wonderful time but to see a play in the Globe Theatre? To imagine Shakespeare watching from the wings (and yes, in my mind he looks like Joseph Fiennes from Shakespeare in Love)? That would be bliss.
Edinburgh is slightly different in that it’s only 2 hours away from where I live and I’ve actually been there many times. What I haven’t done, and what probably makes me a poor excuse for a bookaholic, is explore the extraordinary literary past of this great city. It’s the city with the largest monument in the world to a writer, the Scott Monument (pic above) dedicated to Sir Walter Scott. Open to the public, it’s 200 feet high and if you’re fit enough you can climb right to the very top for amazing views over the city. Edinburgh also houses The Elephant House where J.K. Rowling allegedly wrote some of the first Harry Potter and The Oxford Bar featured in the Inspector Rebus novels. You can walk in the footsteps of literary greats like Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle, and not too far away is the Rosslyn Chapel featured in The Da Vinci Code. If you’re lucky enough you might also be there at the time of the incredible International Book Festival and get to meet some of your favourite writers.
What about you? Have you been to any of these incredible locations?
Are there any literary related destinations you’d love to visit?