The world is a book...
by Laura Gelder | 01 March 2017
…and those who do not travel read only a page – so goes my favourite quote. On the 20th anniversary of World Book Day, VisitEngland has released research which shows that more than half of British holidaymakers would visit a literary attraction on holiday in England.
This doesn’t surprise me as I’m one of them – I’ve played Pooh Sticks in Ashdown Forest, wandered through the rooms of Jane Austen’s house in Hampshire and fancied myself watching the rain from her writing desk and stalked the wilds of Bodmin Moor, imagining the bleak world of Daphne Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn.
I’ve always thought that reading about travel is the next best thing to doing it and I travelled to many of my favourite places on a page, long before I set foot in them. My love affair with Asia started nearly 20 years before I arrived there, in 2006.
My obsession with China, in particular, probably started with Arthur Ransome’s Missy Lee – a story about children kidnapped by Chinese Pirates. I loved the mystical-sounding names – like Tiger Island and their fierce captor Taicoon Chang. The tale of daring escape, sailing through a dangerous gorge aboard a Chinese junk called Shining Moon, made me long to see the emerald waters of the South China Sea myself.
When I finally touched down in the frenetic neon smog of Shanghai in 2012 it wasn’t quite the same vision that Arthur Ransome had penned in the 1930s. But I consider myself lucky to have travelled to two very different Chinas!
There are some places which look like they’ve leapt straight out of the pages of a book – like Monroeville in Alabama. Harper Lee’s home town is not so dissimilar from Maycomb, the setting for To Kill a Mockingbird. The streets are no longer dusty but the courthouse, which sits on the crossroads at the centre of the town, is still filled with rows of shiny wooden benches and the judge's pulpit backed by an American flag.
It doesn’t really matter if a place resembles its literary incarnation or not. The high-tech toilets and cat cafes of modern Japan are far removed from the sliding screen doors and tea ceremonies depicted in Memoirs of a Geisha, but it still helps you understand the formal rites of Japanese culture today, and if it inspires you to go somewhere then it's done its job!
VisitEngland has named 2017 the ‘Year of Literary Heroes’ in recognition of this year’s milestone literary events including the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and 75 years of The Famous Five.
England is home to more than 50 literature-related attractions including authors’ homes, museums and famous libraries dedicated to authors ranging from William Shakespeare and the Bronte sisters to Beatrix Potter and Agatha Cristie. You can see a literary map of England here.
by Jessica Pook | 05 December 2018
by Laura Gelder | 21 November 2018
by Jessica Pook | 08 November 2018
by Laura Gelder | 13 September 2018
by Julie Baxter | 12 July 2018
by Jessica Pook | 31 May 2018
by Jessica Pook | 10 May 2018
by Jessica Pook | 02 May 2018
by Ben Coren | 05 April 2018
by Louis Hepworth | 01 March 2018
by Jessica Pook | 22 February 2018
by Julie Baxter | 31 January 2018
by Laura Gelder | 25 January 2018
by Laura Gelder | 18 January 2018
by Jessica Pook | 21 December 2017
by Ben Coren | 06 December 2017
by Laura Gelder | 09 November 2017
by Jessica Pook | 04 October 2017
by Jessica Pook | 06 September 2017
by Nina Farrimond | 31 August 2017
by Nina Farrimond | 24 August 2017
by Hannah Wallis | 16 August 2017
by Maria Martinez-Ugartechea | 26 July 2017
by Sheena Adesilu | 24 July 2017
by Amelia Glean | 13 July 2017
by James Gray | 05 July 2017
by Ellie Smith | 28 June 2017
by Jessica Pook | 21 June 2017
by Ben Coren | 07 June 2017
by Carly Hacon | 01 June 2017
by Carly Hacon | 24 May 2017
by Ben Coren | 18 May 2017
by Laura Gelder | 03 May 2017
by Laura Gelder | 27 April 2017
by Laura Gelder | 09 March 2017
by Laura Gelder | 01 March 2017
by Laura Gelder | 23 February 2017
by Laura Gelder | 16 February 2017
by Julie Baxter | 25 January 2017
by Laura Gelder | 18 January 2017
by Laura Gelder | 04 January 2017
by Laura Gelder | 21 December 2016
by Julie Baxter | 14 December 2016
by Laura Gelder | 07 December 2016
by Julie Baxter | 24 November 2016
by Julie Baxter | 26 October 2016
by Laura Gelder | 19 October 2016
by Laura Gelder | 12 October 2016
by Ben Coren | 05 October 2016
by Julie Baxter | 27 September 2016
by Laura Gelder | 21 September 2016
by Steve Hartridge | 09 September 2016
by Laura Gelder | 08 September 2016
by Julie Baxter | 01 September 2016
Don't miss out
We’d like to make sure you know when we've added fresh content here, including the latest features, blogs and reviews, product news you can really use and our pick of the best trade incentives and events out there. Sign up to Selling Travel Weekly and we can keep you up to date on the industry and inspired to sell more travel.