There are many locations dedicated to celebrating and exploring the link between travel and literature. So, whether you are a writer looking to get inspired or simply a devoted reader of great novels seeking to enrich their experience – there are plenty of fantastic literary locations the world over that it would be a crime to overlook. Imagine actually getting to walk through the settings of a novel, to actually witness what inspired the author of one of your favourite books!
Lord of the Rings Hobbiton Tour: New Zealand
Now, as a self-confessed Tolkein fan, I couldn’t help but begin the list with this entry. The Hobbiton set can be found near the north island town of Matamata. Now, like many entries in this list, this tour may be more of a homage to the films than the books, nonetheless, walking through Hobbiton was like my childhood vision manifesting itself into reality, it was an incredibly surreal experience and one that I suspect anyone can enjoy. This is not one of those tours that you get hurriedly rushed through, you walk at a leisurely pace and get to enjoy and photograph each of the 40 hobbit homes! Fortunately, this is but one of the numerous tours available on the island – should you wish to visit other settings; they are all at your disposal.
Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, UK
Those who wish to trace the same steps as famous literary figures such as Samuel Beckett, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, and others should look into this 2 hour tour. So many literary tours fall into the trap of reciting recycled facts with a general absence of enthusiasm, this tour cannot be cited as one of them. The two actors that lead this tour really know their stuff, are funny and often go off book. So for a tour with a little character, perhaps give this one a try. Pub crawls are not for everyone, but it could be a great means to incentivise pessimists who aren’t enthused by literary history!
Winchester Cathedral, UK
Many claim that Winchester is the birthplace of the English language. Winchester was home to an abundance of early English writers, from Jane Austen to John Keats. The cathedral is actually the burial place of Jane Eyre; many travellers visit the cathedral to see her brass tablet. Many also visit their gift shop which is also host to much Jane Eyre gifts; all of the profits are used to maintain the cathedral for future generations. The cathedral itself has also been the setting of a number of novels, such as ‘The Chronicles of Barsetshire’ by Anthony Trollope.
Dickens’ World, UK
What strikes me about this destination is just how much attention to detail is employed to the setting, they even go so far as to make the smell similar to that of Charles Dickens’ bleak and polluted 19th century London! There are also many re-enactments from your famous dickens novels. You may even be able to persuade your children to visit, as there are log-flumes and even strangely irrelevant tribute acts to pop icons – something for everybody then!
Harry Potter Tours, UK
The fan-base for Harry Potter is nigh on unrivaled, so where do you take a die-hard fan? For a tour of the film locations of course! Now – I acknowledge that this is still film-orientated, but nonetheless, witnessing locations from the book come to life is undeniably riveting. The 3 hour tours take place in London anyway, so whilst it may not be worth a trip on its own, if you plan on visiting London you definitely shouldn’t fail to give this a look.
Dr Zeuss National Memorial, USA
When I was a child I adored the creative rhyme and whimsy of Dr Zeuss, and witnessing these 5 bronze statues only created a resurgence of warm memories. It might not be a hugely time consuming or even diverse activity, but if you have a few hours I highly recommend that you go, I guarantee they will bring a smile to your face – and what more do you need?