This is an essential guide for parents and grandparents who want to educate their offspring in a fun and creative way
We’ve uncovered some great family literary places to visit, providing inspiration to bookworms of all ages. Enjoy a day hunting for the Gruffalo, make your own Marvellous Medicine, get the hiccups from too much ginger beer or get lost in the Forbidden Forest. 2017 is the ‘Year of the Literary Heroes’, so join us and discover England’s must see family literary spots.
A-ha, A-ho…On the trail of The Gruffalo with the Forestry Commission, around England
Relive one of the world’s best-loved stories with a visit to a Forestry Commission deep dark wood where you can look for clues including little footprints for Mouse, a slithery trail for Snake and the unmistakable great big Gruffalo footprint. There’s even a free-to-download Gruffalo Spotters’ App and Activity Kit (Costs £3) packed with fun things to see and do.
Stay in a Gruffalo-themed bedroom at Chessington, Greater London
Super fans can also come face-to-face with the Gruffalo at Chessington World of Adventures. Stay overnight in one of the new Gruffalo-themed bedrooms and then enjoy the world’s first Gruffalo riverboat ride, where you will journey through the deep dark wood. Opens 18th March. Twin room from £495, B&B with Fastrack two park day tickets, VIP parking for one adult and one child.
Join Charlie and Lola in a garden trail at Lyme, Stockport
Visit the Lyme garden this summer, and enjoy the Adventures with Charlie and Lola and friends interactive trail with fun activities along the way. The National Trust garden will come alive with Charlie and Lola, Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort. Open daily from 2 July to 4 September. Garden entry applies – Adults £11, Children £5. Free for NT members and under 5s.
6 to 8 years
March is Marvellous Medicine Month at the Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire
Take a trip to the award-winning, fun-packed Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. There’s something to entertain the whole family on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month of March, from Biffsquiggling Brain Teasing games to making your own marvellous concoction at the Marvellous Medicine Mixing. And before you leave, check your spark-factor on the Sparkometer – do you have what it takes to be the next Roald Dahl? Museum entry applies – Adults £6.60, Children £4.40, Under 5s free – plus cost of the event: £3 per person. Check website for event dates and recommended ages.
Hop, skip, jump to the World of Peter Rabbit, Lake District National Park
Meet Peter Rabbit and all his friends at The World of Beatrix Potter™. Discover Jemima Puddle-duck’s woodland glade, Mrs Tiggy-winkle’s kitchen and then step outside into The Peter Rabbit Garden, brimming with flowers, herbs and vegetables. Visit during the Summer to see Where is Peter Rabbit? – the Beatrix Potter musical where you can enjoy afternoon tea with Peter Rabbit. 10 June – 3 September. Tickets start from £8 for children and £10 for adults. Booking essential.
Play Poohsticks at Ashdown Forest, East Sussex
“And that was the beginning of the game called Poohsticks, which Pooh invented, and which he and his friends used to play on the edge of the Forest”. A.A.Milne. Enjoy a game or two of Poohsticks on the famous wooden Pooh Bridge by Cotchford House, the home of AA Milne and Christopher Robin. But remember to take plenty of winning sticks!
9 to 11 years
Lashings of Ginger Beer at an RHS picnic party, all RHS gardens
Celebrate Enid Blyton’s 120th birthday on 11 August and join the picnic party in one of the four RHS gardens, where ginger beer is the drink of the day! From May onwards, you’ll also find great family activities inspired by The Famous Five, including themed adventure trails and garden displays, craft workshops and storytelling. RHS Garden admission prices apply – Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall and Rosemoor: Adults £9.90, Children £4.95 and under 5s are free. Wisley: Adults £12.60, Children £6.30 and under 5s are free.
Venture through the Forbidden Forest at Warner Bros. Studio Tour, London
From 31 March, you are invited to defy Professor Dumbledore’s orders and follow in the footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermione and venture deep into Forbidden Forest at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. Walk beneath the giant entwined roots, where just like the film makers you can have a go at controlling the weather; bow to the majestic Buckbeak – but be warned, as you venture deeper, you may come face-to-face with Aragog, the Acromantula, the enormous spider and family of spiderlings! Tour prices: Adults £39, Children £31, Family (2 adults & 2 children) £126 and under 4s are free.
Learn to fly a broomstick over Hogwarts at Alnwick castle, Northumberland
Take off and learn how to fly a broomstick with a lesson from Alnwick Castle’s resident wizarding professor, on the very spot where Harry had his first flying lesson in the film production of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Photographic proof for your friends is a must! Sessions take place daily but you will need a timed ticket during busy periods. Alnwick castle admission prices apply – Adults £14.95, Children £7.75, Family (2 adults & 2 children) £36 and under 5s are free.
12 years plus
Unlock your inner Sherlock on a guided walk, London
Take a two-hour guided tour of Sherlock’s London, where you’ll discover the sites that inspired Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle, plus explore some of the locations featured in the books, films and TV series. Deerstalker hat and Sherlock costume welcome, but optional! Tours take place most Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:30. Tour costs: Adults £12, Children £10.
See where The Hobbit was first imagined on a JRR Tolkien walking tour of Oxford
Discover Tolkien’s Oxford, a magical, mysterious city where the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings was inspired to create his imaginary world. On this unique tour, you will visit the famous colleges and locations where Tolkien spent his life. Booking is essential – visit website for dates and times. Tour costs: Adults £12, Children £7.
Try stand up Paddle boarding, Swallows and Amazons style, Cumbria
Follow in the footsteps of the four young explorers (the Swallows) and have your very own pirate adventure like sisters, Nancy and Peggy. Visit the Coniston Boating Centre, in the picturesque village of Coniston where you can try your hand at Stand Up Paddle Boarding or hire a dingy in true Swallows style. Then relax with an afternoon cruise aboard Steam Yacht Gondola, the inspiration behind Captain Flint’s houseboat, as you journey down ‘The Amazon River’ and Octopus Lagoon’. Paddle board hire charges from £20 for two hours and dingy hire from £40 for two people, for up to two hours
For more literary holiday inspiration check out www.visitengland.com/literaryheroes