I've been lucky enough to visit a few of the places that inspired some of my favourite authors, and it gives a real insight into how they and their characters lived and felt, and it helps make your favourite stories come alive.
Here is more detailed information about the literary locations shown on the map, along with a couple of examples of just how close by you can rent accommodation for a truly relaxing break...
Mavellous Museum For Roald Dahl Fans
During what would have been his 100th year, see the fantastical world of author Roald Dahl come alive at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden. Featuring three interactive galleries, find out about Roald Dahl's school days, see his original Writing Hut and put your imagination centre-stage with fantabulous activities to inspire your little writer.
Roald Dahl Museum, HP16 0AL
The Windmill, Wendover, nr. Aylesbury, Property Ref: PKKW
Just up the road from The Roald Dahl Museum, Cottages.com list this amazing detached windmill where you really would have a unique holiday. Built around 1800 and used as a working windmill until 1900, it's now converted to provide comfortable spacious accommodation over five floors - with gorgeous views over the Chiltern Hills from the second floor living room, and an enclosed rear garden - perfect for pets and small children.
For walkers the famous Ridgeway Path runs right down Wendover High Street, and the area, nestling in a gap among the Chiltern Hills and close to Whipsnade Zoo, is criss-crossed with many well-known walks through some of southern England’s most enjoyable countryside.
Price: WAS £839, NOW £788 for three nights’ self-catering arriving on 21st March 2016. Sleeps 10 people and two pets. www.cottages.com / 0345 498 6900
Find Stick Man, Stick Lady and Family Three
I've spoken before about the Stick Man Trails set up by The Forestry Commission to bring the latest hit from favourite Julia Donaldson to life throughout the UK. Not only is the trail a great way to explore nature, with a host of downloadable activities from their website you can even have fun on rainy days!
Breathe In The Stunning Countryside Which Inspired Beatrix Potter
A trip to the Lake District is an amazing experience anyway, and with strong links to the stories of Beatrix Potter, it's the perfect opportunity to find out more about this incredible author. For younger children there is the Beatrix Potter Lake District Trail, following clues to find her iconic characters amongst the countryside, and older children may prefer a visit to her house and an insight in to the writer’s life.
The Cottage, High Oxen Fell, nr. Coniston, Property Ref: 948
If you really want to know how it felt to be Beatrix Potter then this cottage adjoins a 17th-century farmhouse she once owned (now National Trust). In a very quiet and secluded position amid a traditional Lakeland working hill farm, it is surrounded by rocky bracken-covered hills and high fells. The views from all around are across the magnificent Langdale Valley to the surrounding woods and mountains. This is a TV free cottage to enable you to relax in peace, truly 'away from it all'.
Price: £419 for seven nights’ self-catering arriving on 26th April 2016. Sleeps four people. www.cottages.com / 0345 498 6900
Harry Potter and the wizard world of Hogwarts have touched many places across the UK. You can visit Alnwick Castle or Durham Cathedral to see the locations from the film or spend a day at Harry Potter World, where you can sample Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans straight from Diagon Alley.
Harry Potter World, WD25 7LR
Alnwick Castle, NE66 1YU
Glenfinnan Viaduct, PH37 4LT
Durham Cathedral, DH1 3EH
Camas Tana, Glenfinnan, nr. Fort William, Property Ref: W42895
Nearby to the Glenfinnan Viaduct this delightful detached 3 bedroomed, single floor holiday lodge is situated on the ’Road to the Isles’ in the historic village of Glenfinnan, on the banks of Loch Shiel. An ideal base for touring the West Highlands, with breathtaking scenery and attractions including the NTS Monument, the beautiful St Mary and St Finnan Church, and the Jacobite Steam Train which featured as Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films. A good base for trips to Fort William or the Isle of Skye via a short ferry crossing from Mallaig.
Price: £489 for seven nights’ self-catering arriving on 16th April 2016. Sleeps six people and 2 pets. www.cottages.com / 0345 498 6900
A Bear Who Likes Marmalade
The classic stories of Paddington Bear, and the more recent film adaptation can be brought to life with a trip to Paddington Station. See where Michael Bond’s fictional bear was found and if you have time, why not take the Paddington Bear Bus Tour which takes in some of the famous locations from the film.
Spend A Day With Peppa And Friends
A trip to Peppa Pig World is a perfect day out for any family with young fans of the show. With rides, attractions, all of your favourite characters and no doubt some very muddy puddles!
Peppa Pig World, SO51 6AL
Thomas Land at Drayton Manor is a fantastic family day out with 12 wonderful themed rides and a spectacular indoor play area. Bigger siblings over 1m can start to take advantage of the full theme park.
Thomas the Tank Engine, Thomas Land, B78 3TW
Step Back In Time With The Railway Children
Picturesque Haworth in Yorkshire is where you can find the train station featured in the film versions of E. Nesbit’s Railway Children. A real glimpse into the past, the traditional station is a great introduction to the classic book of adventure. Haworth also has a wealth of literary history for slightly older readers, with connections to the Bronte sisters.
Oakworth Station, Haworth
Messing About On The River
You can find Ratty, Mr Toad and Badger at the River and Rowing Museum, near to the Thames. Watch the boats and rowers take on the water outside, and inside see the characters of Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows come alive, while learning about the river systems and environment in the process.
River and Rowing Museum, RG9 1BF
The Wonderful World Of Winnie The Pooh
A.A Milne's hometown was Hartfield in East Sussex, and it was Ashdown Forest close by which inspired some of his endearing stories. There are a number of Pooh Walks to guide you through the settings for some of his ever-popular tales and see Pooh, Christopher Robin, Piglet and Eeyore come to life.
A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh Walks at Ashdown Forest
The Oast House, Nutley, Property Ref: PJJX
Right on the edge of Ashdown Forest is this unusual detached period barn. Lovingly restored and with a ceiling full of exposed beams, it nestles in the owner’s 15 acres of grounds and has its own small garden area.
There are 6,500 acres of open heathland on the highest sandy ridge top of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Despite its name, woodland makes up less than 40% of the total area and sheep, cows and goats graze freely.
Price: WAS £971, NOW £918 for seven nights’ self-catering arriving on 19th March 2016. Sleeps eight people. www.cottages.com / 0345 498 6900
I’m Late, I’m Late, For A Very Important Date!
Alice in Wonderland fans can have their very own Mad Hatter’s tea party at the St James Court Hotel in London. The eclectic menu of cakes and pastries includes ‘Queen of Hearts’ Mango Tarts, ‘Drink Me’ strawberry potion, ‘Caterpillar’s Mushroom’ Raspberry Marshmallows and Pocket Watch macaroons. Pre-book only.
St James Court Hotel London, SW1E 6AF
Famous Five And Secret Seven Come Alive
You can barely mention Dorset without an image of Enid Blyton's Famous Five, ice creams and lashings of ginger beer. Boasting fabulous beaches alongside beautiful countryside, Dorset is a great holiday destination in itself. The area around the town of Purbeck inspired Enid Blyton's writing and there are a number of local activities available, including a location tour.
See The Tartan Bear
Author Mary Tourtel wrote and illustrated the Rupert Bear stories in Canterbury, and fans can find some of the original artworks, as well as memorabilia and images from the latest animated Rupert Bear at the Canterbury Heritage Museum, CT1 2NR
Renting a cottage can be an excellent way to have an affordable break together at any time of year. A break that isn't incredibly hard work, and gives you access to some of the most beautiful places on Earth. Many properties accept pets, and larger properties can sleep the whole family, even if it's as large as mine.
To celebrate World Book Day www.Cottages.com are also giving one of my readers the complete Roald Dahl collection as a giveaway prize. You can find the giveaway here (closes midnight 27th March).
This is a collaborative post on behalf of Cottages.com