Escapism comes in many forms, whether that’s getting lost in a good book or getting lost in the great outdoors. It’s no surprise, then, that literary tourism is on the rise, with 27% of Brits sharing arts and culture as a top priority when booking a staycation.
Therefore, to celebrate Children’s Book Week (6th–12th November), the travel experts at Sally’s Cottages have teamed up with Amelia Clayton and Rachelle Carter, directors at primary school book providers Madeleine Lindley, to reveal the best UK destinations to visit based on your child’s favourite book genre.
1. Book genre: picture books
Location: Lake District
The Lake District’s awe-inspiring views have inspired writers from Beatrix Potter to William Wordsworth, just as picture books’ vibrant illustrations bring stories to life. It’s a perfect setting for sparking a child’s imagination and perhaps even inspiring them to create their own picture book.
No visit is complete without stepping into Beatrix Potter’s illustrated world at The World of Beatrix Potter. With this experience, her characters come to life before your very eyes. For lesser-known Beatrix Potter spots, check out Esthwaite Water, which features in Jeremy Fisher. There are also many quirky and independent bookshops to visit too, including the Lakes’ oldest bookshop, Sam Read Bookseller in Grasmere, which opened as far back as 1887.
2. Book genre: history
For budding historians who can’t get enough of time-travelling adventures and historical figures, York is a living history book. With its ancient walls, the Clifford’s Tower, and the Jorvik Viking Centre, it offers a strong connection to England’s rich past.
Make sure to take a visit to York Minster’s library, which is one of the oldest in the country, and marvel at the beautiful stained-glass windows bringing famous biblical stories to life. You can even take the Coastliner bus to Whitby to visit Whitby Abbey, a famous abbey burned down by Henry VII, which also inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
3. Book genre: fairytales
Destination: The Cotswolds
If your child is captivated by folklore and fairytales, the Cotswolds are like stepping into a storybook. Brimming with thatched cottages, rolling hills, and charming villages, it’s easy to imagine elves, fairies, and magical creatures residing in its hidden corners. So much so that the area even inspired some of the most famous writers in the world, including J.M. Barrie and Lewis Carroll.
Across the Cotswolds, there are plenty of independent bookshops to get lost in, with Octavia’s Bookshop in Cirencester a particular favourite for younger readers.
4. Book genre: mystery
For young detectives who love solving mysteries, Edinburgh’s cobbled streets and dark alleys provide the perfect backdrop. The city’s rich history is filled with tales of intrigue, making it a thrilling destination for those who love a good whodunit.
Edinburgh is also the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, with many writers, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and J.M. Barrie, hailing from its cobbled streets. Dotted with literary landmarks, a walk through the city is never complete without a visit to the Scott Monument or Greyfriars Kirk, where the names on headstones will be instantly recognisable to Harry Potter fans.
5. Book genre: fantasy
If your young one is enchanted by tales of wizards, dragons, and magical quests, Glastonbury is the place to be. Known for its Arthurian legends and the mythical Isle of Avalon, it’s a place where the line between reality and fantasy blurs. Glastonbury Tor is a must-visit, offering panoramic views and a sense of otherworldly wonder.
Commenting on the research, Sarah Pring, Digital PR Manager at Sally’s Cottages, said, “With Children’s Book Week on the horizon, to celebrate the UK’s literary heritage, we wanted to showcase some of the best areas the UK has to offer based on your child’s favourite book genre. From the Lake District to the Cotswolds, there are so many places to explore, regardless of their literary interests.
We hope that our research has inspired holidaymakers to immerse themselves in some of the amazing cultural heritage the UK has to offer!”