Okay. I’m totally biased, because I live here, but I’m so proud of the UK and its incredible heritage. For a little country, I think we pack a pretty hefty bookish punch.
My motherland is the home of Harry Potter, Oliver Twist, Lyra Belacqua, The Fantastic Mr Fox, the Pevensie children, Peter Rabbit, Tolkien AND Shakespeare, and there is no end of exciting literary things to get stuck into. Why not stick around a check out a few of them below?
The Elephant House is a coffee shop located a stones throw away from the incredibly beautiful Edinburgh Castle in the midst of the historic quarter.
This little cafe not only offers awesome artisan coffee to warm you up after some chilly sightseeing, but it is also where J.K. Rowling wrote much of her early draft of Harry Potter (OMG). Grab a pew in the back room looking out over the castle and soak up the magic.
Running for a weekend as part of the London Film and Comic Con at the Olympia Exhibition Centre, this event is aaaaaall the YA you could ever want. It also features blogging workshops, author panels, book shops and just generally awesome things. If you buy a full ticket, you can also check out the Comic Con.
An absolute must for any Roald Dahl fan! It’s aimed mainly at a slightly younger target audience than myself, but basically, I don’t care. It has three interactive galleries, which each focus on a period in Dahl’s life, as well as his original writing hut. You can even sit in his writing chair. I repeat: you can sit in Roald Dahl’s writing chair.
With lots of events planned for Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday in September, it’s a snozzgobblingly good time to visit!
This little pub in Oxford has associations with the Inklings Writers’ group, which included such legends as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. In the 1930’s when studying at Oxford, the group used to meet here for dinner and drinks, and it is said that C.S. Lewis distributed his early proofs of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to the rest of the group here in the 1950’s. The steak is decent too.
As well as having its own insanely cool literary history, The Eagle & Child is a perfect pit stop for exploring literary Oxford. Jordan College from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is based on an exaggerated version of Exeter College at the University of Oxford, and SO MUCH of the Harry Potter films were filmed on location in Oxford. The Bodleian Library (where some of the original Lord of The Rings manuscripts are also kept), New College Cloisters and Christ Church college are all totally beautiful and musts for Harry fans. Head down on a sunny Saturday and see how good your Potter sight is!
Featuring pretty much everything and everyone bookish you could ever dream of, this festival is a literary paradise. It also has a dedicated YA program called #HAYYA, which features the likes of Patrick Ness, Holly Smale and Jacqueline Wilson as well as workshops, drop in events and the announcement of the winner of the Bookseller YA Book Prize 2016. In a word? YES.
Oh boy is this the place to be if you’re a Potterhead. Take it from me: it is MAGICAL. Leavsden was Harry’s home for over a decade, and featuring authentic sets like the Great Hall and Dumbledore’s Office, as well as more props and costumes than you can shake your wand at, there really is nowhere more exciting.
Note: Take all of your galleons because the gift shop is amazing, but avoid the Butterbeer because it’s terrible. No Muggles allowed.
What amazing bookish places have you been to in the UK or across the globe? Do you have any awesome literary must-dos that I should put on my bucketlist?
Let me know in the comments!