From Book Pages Comes Adventure!

This entry is part 1 of 25 in the series London & Dorset, UK

“Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain – which is to say, all of it.”

~Bill Bryson

Hello! I have just returned from a wonderful two week vacation and I can’t wait to share my travel log and photos with you all!

I used to dream of becoming a humor travel writer, similar to Bill Bryson. All I wanted to do was travel and write; but then I found the wonderful profession of special collections librarianism, and those old dreams were both supplanted by, and became, history. Until now! I finally had time for a vacation! I have so many places I’d like to go. I’d like to visit Prince Edward Island and see all the Anne of Green Gables tourist spots. I’d like to visit the Aquitaine region of France and chase the ghosts of my favorite Medieval family, Queen Eleanor, King Henry II, and their sons, King Richard the Lionheart and King John. As you can see, my travel dreams correspond with my loves of history and literature.

Literary Travel England
This is all I’m going to need, right?

I finally settled on Britain for this trip because there are so many historical and literary references to find throughout Britain! I have long desired to see Corfe Castle and visit the Ginger Pop Shop, in the Dorset region because they are the inspiration for the setting of my favorite childhood book series, The Famous Five. In London alone, there are more things to see than I can possibly list. Paddington Bear statue, Peter Pan Statue, Harry Potter 9 ¾ platform at Kings Cross station, and the Harry Potter Studio Tour, and the Tower of London (where King Richard III held the Princes in the Tower before their disappearance and where Anne Boleyn was beheaded to name only two incidents in its gruesome history)… I also have always wanted to see the White Cliffs of Dover. Cardiff is on the list too, mainly due to Dr. Who. And despite having been to Bath already, what Austenite could pass up Bath again? And Stratford Upon Avon, Warwick Castle, Leicester to see the new Richard III visitor center… And I haven’t even gotten to Wales yet! As you can imagine, my Pinterest map of Places I’d love to go is quite full and had me going in at least 10 different directions outside of London. Unfortunately, due to the two week time constraint of the vacation, and my desire to see more than the inside of a train as I whizzed by everywhere but didn’t have enough time to explore, I had to make some choices. With much hemming and hawing and and bit of research, I cut out the places I’d seen before, then discovered that the white chalk cliffs run along the coast of Britain, covering more area than just Dover. Also, to see the Dover cliffs, I would have to take a boat…and that means that I should just go over to France while I’m so close… I finally settled on London and Dorset for this trip.

Traveling Gnome
Herbie, the trusty traveling gnome has once again stowed away in my pack!

Before I left I reread Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island, in which he records his adventures as he travels around Britain retracing a similar trip he took several years previous when he first arrived in Britain. His overall impression of the island was that Britain has become much more developed in the last twenty years and the development has started to infringe on what once was beautiful landscape and architecture. The one place that he seemed to have nothing but praise for the beauty of the area was the Dorset region, so I had high expectations. As you will see in the next few weeks, I was not disappointed.

Find all the 2015 Literary England posts here!

Let’s Talk!

What are some of your favorite literary and historical destinations? What places should I add to my travel bucket list? Tell me about them in the comments below!

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