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Real settings for classic tales from England holiday cottages

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Real settings for classic tales from England

Ed 18 February 2018

Books transport you, they take you to places you may never go; or even show you adventures and situations that you may never find yourself in.

So many great stories were inspired by real life places that you can still visit today! Here is a list of books and the places that provided the backdrop for their plots to unfurl within.

Read on for inspiration for your next read and holiday break

Winnie the Pooh – Ashdown Forest, Kent

Ashdown Forest RLL

Winnie the Pooh’s well-known home, A Hundred Acre Woods was really a thinly disguised Ashdown Forest.  The famous yellow honey mad bear’s creator AA Milne lived close by and as we all know the stories featured his son Christopher Robin, who played a heap of fun games with imaginary characters such as Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Roo, Piglet, Rabbit and Kanga.  Ashdown Forest is in Kent and can be visited with ease – there’s a visitor centre and cafe to discover too.  

Transport yourself to the enchanting Hundred Acre Wood with a copy of a Winnie the Pooh book. 

Turn of the Screw  - Lamb House, East Sussex

Henry James’ handsome ghost story about a governess with some unusual charges was inspired by the author’s own home Lamb House.  You can visit the property which is in the ancient cinque town of Rye, now managed by National Trust. This is where James wrote many of his books - in 1944, the only WW2 bomb to hit the town destroyed his writing shed!

Turn of the Screw is available as part of the ‘Collector’s Series’

Far from the Madding Crowd – Bridport, Dorset

The fair town of Bridy Port in Thomas Hardy’s exceptionally romantic and dark love story, Far from the Madding Crowd, is the coastal town of Bridport in real life. Thomas Hardy set virtually all of his novels in Dorset or Wessex as it was then called. A sunny town on the Jurassic Coast, it is still a fine holiday draw to this day.  Dorset may inspire you to set your own life story there or at the very least take a break in the area.

Orlando – Knole House, Kent

Virginia Woolf wrote her peculiar yet persuasive and bewitching Orlando at Knole House, where she lived with Vita Sackville-West.  The house features throughout the book, which tells the story of a 400 year old royal courtier who begins life as a man, and then transforms into a woman. Inspired by a doll found in a toy house at Knole, the original manuscript and notes can be seen on display at the National Trust managed estate.

My Cousin Rachel – Antony, Cornwall

Daphne DuMaurier will forever be associated with Cornwall, and she wrote most of her works at her beloved home in Menabilly in Fowey. My Cousin Rachel was inspired by a portrait of a local noble-woman, Rachel Carew, that can still be seen hung at the National Trust managed stately home and gardens of Antony, just over the river from Plymouth. 

Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Watchet Harbour, Somerset

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous poem, Rime of the Ancient Mariner about a sea voyage was inspired by walks in The Quantocks above the Somerset village of Nether Stowey where he lived.  The harbour of seaside village Watchet is where the wedding scene is said to have been set. There is a statue of the titular character looking out over the Bristol Channel for all to see. Maybe he’s looking for his albatross! 

All of these cool summer time reads can be found to purchase at your local bookshop or from Pan Macmillan directly from here.

If you're looking for a place to inspire a story of your own, our large houses in England might be the perfect place to get away and start an exciting new chapter.

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