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Notes from a Small Island & The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson’s books were my inspiration for starting this travel blog. He has a very sarcastic and dry sense of humor which is apparent in all his travel log novels. And he has a knack for travel mishaps. I particularly enjoy the novels in which he tours his adopted country of England.
In Notes from a Small Island Bryson travels all over England and entertainingly complains about nearly everywhere, excepting Dorset, the only place he cannot fault. During this trip he retraces the same path he took some twenty odd years before as a young man when he met the British girl that would become his wife.
In The Road to Little Dribbling Bryson takes a ruler to a map of England and draws a straight line from the southernmost point to the northernmost point of the country. He then attempts to travel following this line as closely as possible.
How Watson Learned the Trick by Arthur Conan Doyle
How Watson Learned the Trick is a real book made in miniature for a dollhouse library. You can view the dollhouse and its library at Windsor Castle.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter was inspired to sketch and create stories about the animals she observed while living in The Lake District. She wrote her stories for children and demanded that her publisher make the books unusually small, for children’s hands.
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransom
Siblings John, Susan, Titty, and Roger are granted use of the small sailboat named Swallow while vacationing for the summer at Holly Hows Farm, a bed and breakfast in England’s Lake District. With permission from their mother, they take the boat and camp on a nearby island in the middle of the lake on which the B&B is situated. There they meet sisters Nancy and Peggy who spend their summers on the lake sailing in a small boat named Amazon. The two parties make friends and play at pirate war.
Author Arthur Ransom based his book Swallows and Amazons on the children of a family he met while staying at Bank Ground Farm on Coniston Lake in The Lake District.
The Famous Five by Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton and her Enchantment with Dorset by Andrew Norman
Enid Blyton used Corfe Castle and features of the surrounding Dorset landscape as inspiration for the setting of her Famous Five series.
Purchase Enid Blyton and her Enchantment with Dorset via Amazon
Winchester Great Hall
Winchester Great Hall has been the location of several real historical events related to the British monarchy. One of which was serving as Emperor Maud/Matilda’s residence during England’s civil war- known as the time when “Christ and His Saints Slept”. Sharon Kay Penman’s historical fiction novel of this name presents this period so vividly that you’ll feel you know Maud and her cousin Stephen, whom she fought for England’s crown, very well by the end of the book.
Winchester Great Hall is also the current location of “King Arthur’s round table,” a very real table top that has been painted (perhaps under the orders of King Henry VIII) in homage to King Arthur and his knights of the round table. It hangs on the wall of what’s left of Winchester’s once great hall.
Read Post: King Arthur’s Fake Table at Winchester
For more King Arthur, see Somerset
The Sunne In Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
Penman presents a sympathetic view of King Richard III in The Sunne In Splendour. By the end of the book you’ll be hating Shakespeare for maligning the historical memory of Richard.
You may even want to start planning your own trip to Leicester to visit the cathedral where Richard III has been re-interred to pay your respects to the last Plantagenet king. And don’t miss the museum built over the car-park turned archeological dig where King Richard’s skeleton was found 500 years after the Tudor victors of the Battle of Bosworth unceremoniously dumped the former King’s body.
Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice by Paula Byrne
Belle is the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, a young black girl adopted by a high class white British family. She lived at London’s Kenwood Estate, which today is an art museum with beautiful grounds for recreating.
Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Paddington Bear by Michael Bond
A bear from deepest Peru finds himself alone at London’s Paddington Station. The Brown family find him, name him Paddington and adopt him.
You can find the original statue of Paddington Bear on platform 1 of Paddington Station.
Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Consulting detective Sherlock Holmes lives at 221B Baker Street, London. It is here that he and his assistant John Watson receive clients.
Visit Sherlock’s home today at 221B Baker Street, London.
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Inklings of Oxford
The two most famous members of the Oxford University literary society named The Inklings, were J. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. Every Tuesday they would lunch at Oxford’s pub The Eagle and the Child.
Read Post: Spend a Literary Day in Oxford
The Austen Adventures by Ada Bright & Cass Grafton
These two books are so fun! Imagine getting ready to attend one of Bath’s famous Jane Austen Festivals with your best friend, but end up stepping through time and helping Jane Austen herself out of a predicament! That is exactly what happens to Rose in The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen. In book two Rose again steps through time, but this time joins Jane and her sister Cassandra in Chawton.
If you’ve been to Bath and Chawton you’ll enjoy picturing in your head exactly where the events in the story are taking place. If you haven’t been yet, you’ll enjoy seeing the locations in the book in person when you do!
- The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright & Cass Grafton via Amazon | Bookshop
- The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright & Cass Grafton via Amazon Kindle | Bookshop
Sanditon by Jane Austen
Get up to two books free!
Too busy to get through these books in print? Try listening to them via Audible! Sign up for Audible Premium Plus and you get up to two books free! I not only use Audible to multi-task at home, but when traveling I love listening to books while I walk around the location/s the story takes place.