The Ultimate Road Trip Destinations for Book Lovers

World Book Day: The Ultimate Road Trip Destinations for Book Lovers

Last Updated: March 5, 2024By

To celebrate World Book Day this year, we’ve put together a list of the ultimate road trip destinations for book lovers in the UK. If you agree that the books are always better than the films then why not visit the real life destinations that served as the inspiration and birthplaces of your favourite books. From modern day stories to classic literature, this list has something for everyone.

The Ultimate Road Trip Destinations for Book Lovers

Reading is the nation’s most popular hobby, with 42% of Brits saying that delving into a book is one of their favourite free-time activities.

Over the centuries, the UK has inspired thousands of authors from around the world, with many setting their own stories in remote woods or quaint British towns. If you’re a bookworm, you might fancy an exciting road trip across the country to put yourself in the shoes of your most loved writers and characters.

Sam Sheehan, motoring editor at cinch, the faff-free way to buy a car online, said: “From quirky bookstores to literary landmarks, there are plenty of destinations around the UK that will spark the imagination of avid readers.

“All you need to do is jump behind the wheel of your fuel-powered or electric car and explore the many locations that have left their mark in literary history.

“To help you map out your ultimate literature-focused road trip ahead of World Book Day on the 7th of March, we have put together a few must-visit destinations along with some handy suggestions from TikTok creators.”

harry potter filming locations

Harry Potter, Scotland

Scotland’s spellbinding locations have often been the source of inspiration for J. K. Rowling and the magical world of Harry Potter.

If you’re a fan of literature’s most famous wizard, you may want to start your own book-inspired road trip in Edinburgh. The Scottish capital city is home to a cosy café called ‘The Elephant House’, where the author penned sections of the saga and a must-visit pilgrimage spot for any Harry Potter enthusiast.

TikToker @melmadog also suggests heading towards the Scottish Highlands, where you can cruise on the atmospheric Loch Shiel, which features as the Great Lake at Hogwarts in the films.

No Scottish Potter-themed road adventure would be complete without a pit stop at Glenfinnan Viaduct, especially if you’ve ever dreamed about boarding the Hogwarts Express. The stunning 21-arched viaduct features in the films as the bridge carrying passengers to Hogwarts, and you can experience the magic yourself by hopping on the Jacobite Steam Train.

The Ultimate Road Trip Destinations for Book Lovers

Dracula, Whitby

If you’re looking for a literary destination that keeps you on the edge of your (driving) seat, Whitby is no doubt the perfect option – but make sure you’re carrying garlic and crosses for this one…

Located on the Yorkshire coast, Whitby played a crucial role in Bram Stoker’s spine-chilling ‘Dracula’. In the second part of the novel, the bloodthirsty vampire from Transylvania lodges among the ruins of Whitby Abbey while wreaking havoc in the picturesque town.

Social media user @marianapostcards recommends admiring the majestic abbey and taking in the harbour views from one of the benches where Stoker would spend days writing. Consider walking around St Mary’s Church graveyard, too – you might even spot some of the names that inspired characters in the book.

And if all this exploring has piqued your imagination, make sure to pop by The Whitby Bookshop. This historic bookstore stocks more than 10,000 books, including – of course – several editions of Stoker’s ‘Dracula’.

must-visit places in the UK for book lovers

William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon

 

William Shakespeare’s connection with Stratford-upon-Avon is deeply intertwined with his personal life and professional career. Stratford-upon-Avon, located in Warwickshire, England, is the town where Shakespeare was born, grew up, and eventually returned to establish his family and business.
Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and he spent his formative years there. He likely attended the local grammar school, King Edward VI School, where he would have received a classical education in Latin literature and language, which would later influence his writing.
In 1582, at the age of 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, a woman from a nearby village named Shottery. After their marriage, they settled in Stratford-upon-Avon, where they had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith.
As Shakespeare’s theatrical career began to flourish in London, he maintained ties with Stratford-upon-Avon, eventually becoming a successful playwright and entrepreneur in the city. He invested in property in Stratford and became one of the town’s leading citizens.
One of the most famous landmarks associated with Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon is his family home, known as Shakespeare’s Birthplace. This timber-framed house on Henley Street is believed to be the place where Shakespeare was born and spent his early years. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and museum, offering visitors insights into Shakespeare’s life and times.
Shakespeare’s connection with Stratford-upon-Avon is celebrated throughout the town, with various sites and events honouring his legacy. These include the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which stages productions of his plays, as well as annual events such as the Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations held each April. It’s a great place to visit that appeals to all ages. It’s also fascinating to see the birthplace of one of the world’s most legendary writers.
birthplace of peter rabbit

Beatrix Potter, Lake District

Your inner child will almost certainly remember the adventures of Peter Rabbit and his faithful, loveable friends. If you want to relive those childhood memories, a road trip around the Lake District is bound to fill your heart with joy.

As well as boasting incredible views and pristine freshwater lakes, the Lake District is home to Beatrix Potter’s farmhouse, where many of her well-loved literary creations took place.

@monalogue’s TikTok offers a glimpse into what you can expect from a visit to the author’s rural cottage – glorious scenery, peaceful gardens and plenty of memorabilia from Beatrix’s life. At the end of your visit, you can also leaf through pages at the site’s second-hand bookstore.

If you’re not pressured for time, explore the local area that inspired Beatrix Potter’s illustrations. With lots of museums, exhibitions and attractions to enjoy, you might even drive home with some story ideas of your own.

The Ultimate Road Trip Destinations for Book Lovers

Hay-on-Wye, Wales

If you’re planning a book-themed day out, TikToker @griffreads says that the small town of Hay-on-Wye is a bookworm’s idea of heaven, with her video amassing about 160,000 likes.

Home to more than 20 bookshops, from second-hand stores to shops focusing on specialist subjects, this Welsh village attracts book enthusiasts from all over the UK.

In fact, once a year, Hay-on-Wye hosts the renowned Hay Festival, which attracts readers and famous authors alike. The event includes writing workshops and creative activities for both young and mature literature aficionados.

Whether you like classics, non-fiction or rom-coms, you may want to pack a big bag inside your boot – there are plenty of opportunities to pick up your next book.

If you’re planning an extended stay in Wales, you could also squeeze in a drive to Roald Dahl’s Norwegian Church in Cardiff or Merlin’s birthplace in Carmarthen.

Beatrix Potter book tour

Agatha Christie, Devon

If you have a thirst for mysteries that get your brain  working, following the footsteps of thriller queen Agatha Christie might be just right up your street.

You can start your itinerary in Christie’s birthplace of Torquay, where the annual International Agatha Christie Festival takes place in September every year, packed with performances, talks and writing competitions.

You can sign up for walking tours – as suggested by content creator @m.xplores – and stop by Torquay Museum, where you’ll find original manuscripts and Poirot costumes worn by the likes of David Suchet.

As you drive around Devon on your Christie quest, don’t forget to pay a visit to Greenway House, Christie’s holiday home and personal retreat. Currently a National Trust property, the building provides fans with an exclusive look into the author’s family life and personal collections, including portraits, dolls and homeopathic medicine bottles.

Bear in mind that the surrounding area also acts as the set for some of her stories, such as ‘Five Little Pigs’ and ‘Ordeal by Innocence’, so don’t be surprised if you spot some familiar locations along the way.

 

Book-themed road trips are a wonderful way to get behind the wheel and explore landmarks and national wonders across the UK. From Harry Potter routes to Beatrix Potter and Agatha Christie itineraries, which literary map will fuel your next road trip?

 

harry potter fan road trip

 

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