Camping breaks near UK literary hotspots
Whether you're celebrating World Book Day, or simply a fan of British literature, the UK is full of scenic landscapes and interesting buildings that have inspired authors over the years.
From Harry Potter to Jane Eyre, the UK has inspired so many great literary works... Take a look at our top picks for the best places to soak up some literary culture.
By: Rochelle Hibbitt | 3 Mar 2020
DCI Ryan Mysteries, L.J. Ross - Northumberland
"We have both recently finished reading the DCI Ryan series of crime thrillers written by L.J. Ross - all 15 books! - set in Northumberland and the first one is centred around Holy Island which has inspired us to go and have a look there - especially as we don't know that county very well."
- Richardandros, caravanners from East Yorkshire
Our members also recommended going to visit the Penshaw Monument in Wearside (pictured above), which is also mentioned in the series. See where else our members recommended and share your thoughts in our Club Together discussion.
Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien - Moreton-in-Marsh
If you’re a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, stop at the Bell Inn pub in Moreton-in-Marsh.
Considered by many to be the inspiration for the Prancing Pony - Middle Earth’s most famous pub – the Bell Inn has been awarded a printed map of Middle Earth by the Tolkien Society, which is proudly on display at the quaint bar in the Cotswolds.
The inspiration doesn’t stop there; St. Edward’s Church in Stow-on-the-Wold features an Elven-esqe tree-flanked gate, which is said to have inspired Tolkien’s door to Moria.
Camp out or pitch up at: Moreton-in-Marsh Club Site
Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne - Ashdown Forest
Revel in a childhood classic and take a stroll through the home of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh – Ashdown Forest in East Sussex. Several locations in the Winnie the Pooh stories can be matched to real places in and around Ashdown Forest, namely the real ‘Five Hundred Acre Wood’ which inspired the story’s ‘Hundred Acre Wood’.
The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is perfect for long walks or playing Poohsticks on the bridge across the river in Posingford Wood. Take a look at Ashdown Forest’s suggested walking routes.
Camp out or pitch up at: Alderstead Heath Club Site
Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling - Edinburgh
Arguably the best-selling book series of all time, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series takes inspiration from multiple places around the UK, from Gloucester Cathedral posing as Hogwarts’ hallways in the film adaptations to the fictional Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross Station in London.
To really pay homage to J.K. Rowling’s legacy we suggest visiting the Elephant House coffee shop in Edinburgh, where Rowling spent many days here working on her draft of the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. Visit the Elephant House on Marshall Street and try their Fleur’s Fantasy Coffee, named for Triwizard Champion Fleur Delacour.
Camp out or pitch up at: Edinburgh Club Site
Visit the ruins of the old abbey in Whitby, a seaside town on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors to see the inspiration for Dracula’s castle. Bram Stoker reportedly spent several holidays in Whitby, researching the vampire’s tale.
Walk up the 199 steps to Whitby Abbey to admire the old building, or experience the novel brought to life with the Dracula Experience.
Camp out or pitch up at: Thirsk Racecourse Club Site
Charles Dickens - Broadstairs
Explore the seaside town of Broadstairs in Kent, and walk in the footsteps of the great Charles Dickens. Visit the Dickens House Museum, with its wealth of memorabilia and prints - once the home of Miss Mary Pearson Strong, the inspiration for Miss Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield.
There are plenty of homages to Dickens throughout the town – stop in at the Charles Dickens pub for a pint, which serves food in the Copperfield restaurant upstairs.
Camp out or pitch up at: Black Horse Farm Club Site
The Brontë sisters - Haworth
Visit the Brontë sisters 19th century home, Haworth in West Yorkshire. The rugged landscape is etched in their most famous works, including Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights.
Explore the nearby moors to find Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse which is said to be the inspiration for Heathcliffe's home, Wuthering Heights and other landmarks from Emily Brontë's novel. Walk the 44-mile Brontë Way walking trail which joins the dots between many of the region's key landmarks.
Camp out or pitch up at: York Rowntree Club Site
Thomas Hardy - Bockhampton
Discover Thomas Hardy’s birthplace and wander the woods where he grew up in Bockhampton, Dorset. Many of Thomas Hardy’s books hark back to the southwest landscape of his youth – a leisurely drive through the country lanes in Dorset would plunge you into the world of Tess of the D’urbervilles.
Thomas Hardy fans can visit the National Trust Hardy’s Cottage in Bockhampton, built from cob and thatch by his grandfather nearly 200 years ago.
Camp out or pitch up at: Hunter’s Moon Club Site
Roald Dahl - Cardiff
Writer of children’s classics like the BFG, Matilda and The Twits, Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff outside Cardiff in 1916. Visit the Cardiff Story Museum, a must-see to find out more about Roald Dahl’s history in the city.
For a deeper look into Dahl’s past, explore the old roads of Cardiff – you can even visit the sweet shop where he bought his childhood sweets, although it is now a Chinese takeaway!
Camp out or pitch up at: Tredegar House Country Park Club Site
Beatrix Potter - Lake District
Best known for her beautifully illustrated children’s books of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck and friends, Beatrix Potter spent many childhood days in the Lake District.
Visit the Lake District Visitors Centre at Brockhole for all things Beatrix Potter, or walk the Beatrix Potter trail around Brockhole’s lakeshores and learn about the wildlife that inspired her. In Bowness-on-Windemere, explore the World of Beatrix Potter attraction for a self-guided walk through the world of Peter Rabbit and friends.
Camp out or pitch up at: Coniston Park Coppice Club Site
Arthur Conan Doyle - London
Delve into the realm of Sherlock Holmes, or as we know it, London. Visit his home on Baker Street, now a museum dedicated to the master detective’s disorderly study filled with odd Victorian bits and bobs, plus a recreation of Dr Watson’s tidier quarters.
There’s plenty of Sherlock Holmes fun to be had in and around London – Start your day off with the Arthur Conan Doyle Walk, starting at Piccadilly Circus tube station, which explores his London and the places that are important to him, then head to Madame Tussauds for the Sherlock Holmes murder mystery experience. Finish your trip with a pint at the Sherlock Holmes pub in Piccadilly.
Camp out or pitch up at: Abbey Wood Club Site