Storybook Holidays: Locales Behind Your Kid’s Favourite Books


Every child loves a great story.  From their earliest days, cartoonish images entertain them in an effective manner, tricking them into beginning to learn how to read as they get ready for bed.  Later on in their lives, books that weave fantasy worlds where good triumphs over evil in the end engross them during the free time that they have after completing their homework in the evenings ( or at least you think they have … better go check!).

Often, the imagery that these stories evoke had a real world inspiration to guide their creation, and as such, planning a holiday to these places will provide a visceral way to bring the worlds depicted in their favourite books and novels to life.  In that spirit, here are three classic story series, and the portion of the world that inspired their creation.

1) Aesop’s Fables: Greece

Back in ancient Greece, way back in the 5th century BCE (more than 2,500 years ago) a freed slave by the name of Aesop used his innate skill of storytelling allowed him to relay morality tales to anybody who would listen, which were repeated by luminaries such as Aristotle, who have him credit for fables that he himself relayed in a later time.

This was a good thing, as there have been no original written records of Aesop’s fables that were written by Aesop himself found. Those seeking to walk the same streets that Aesop once strode as he thought up the tale of the Town Mouse and Country Mouse after seeing two scurry by should head to the region of Thrace. This area is adjacent to Turkey on the Aegean coast, where Thessaloniki is the largest city.  It is a place of great culture, with many Bzyantine castles, excellent cafes and great opportunities to try yachting.

2) The Harry Potter Series: United Kingdom

Sketching up her world of wizards and witches amongst an ostensibly modern world, J.K. Rowling stoked the fun fictitious belief in the young and the young at heart that magic exists, and a world of mischief regarding its use was within the grasp of those willing to learn.

Set in the United Kingdom, you’ll have fun letting your imagination run wild through the wide open spaces of Glencoe, where Hogwart’s wizards faced off in magic matches in the first two books, while those looking to peruse the library at “Hogwart’s” should drop by the Bodleian library.  The full immersive experience can be had at the Harry Potter studio, where even butter beer is available after the tour.

3) Lord of the Rings Trilogy: New Zealand

New Zealand’s epic surrounds meet the challenge of matching J.R.R. Tolkien’s deeply beautiful and sometimes frightening world.  Stroll amidst the delightful streets of the Shire in Hamilton, or if you’re a particularly active family, take a partial trek on the Tongariro Crossing to the foot of Mount Ngauruhoe, the volcano that is Mount Doom in the closing chapters of The Return Of The King. If you’re further south, heading over to Glenorchy near Queenstown will take you to where the Fortress of Isengard was shot, so no matter where you are in this island nation, a sight relating to this book series is within reach.

See The Sights Behind The Books

While our kids, as well as ourselves, visualize the settings of supposedly fictitious worlds through the visually descriptive words of our favourite authors, this experience can be heightening further by visiting the places that inspired these writers to create these worlds in the first place. This way, we can gain a new appreciation for our favourite books, and have a unique holiday at the same time.

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