From Harry Potter to Winnie the Pooh: The real-life enchanting locations in the UK that look like they’re straight out of a children’s book
- Ashdown Forest in Sussex is the inspiration behind Hundred Acre Wood from the Winnie the Pooh series
- The Isle of Skye was used as the location for Giant Country in the movie based on the BFG book
- The Shambles in York has become ever-more popular with Potter fans, thanks to its Diagon Alley aesthetic
You’ve read the books – now step into their worlds in real-life.
These are the enchanting locations around the UK that all have strong ties to children’s classics, from Ashdown Forest in Sussex, which inspired AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, to The Shambles in York, which is a superb stand-in for Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter books.
Perfect for family trips or bookworms looking to relive the magic of fiction, all these places are either real settings mentioned in books, author’s real-life inspirations, or simply look remarkably similar to the stories’ famous settings. Scroll down for a tour around a green and pleasant fantasy land…
Ashdown Forest, Sussex – Hundred Acre Wood from Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
The picturesque Ashdown Forest in Sussex, which is the real-life place author AA Milne used as inspiration for his Winnie the Pooh story locations
Winnie the Pooh and his friends Tigger, Piglet and Rabbit hide behind a tree in Hundred Acre Wood in the Disney adaptation of Milne’s books
The tales of Winnie the Pooh and his friends in Hundred Acre Wood have been captivating children since 1926.
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And the beautiful Ashdown Forest in Sussex, which is the real-life place author AA Milne used as inspiration for his Winnie the Pooh story locations.
On visiting the forest, visitors can pick up a map allowing them to follow Pooh path – a walk that culminates at Pooh’s much-loved bridge where he would play Pooh Sticks.
Isle of Skye, Scotland – Giant Country from The BFG by Roald Dahl
The Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland was used as Giant Country in the BFG movie directed by Steven Spielberg
In this still from the 2016 movie the BFG, played by Mark Rylance, carries orphan Sophie on his shoulder
Although not quite the location Roald Dahl described in his 1982 book the BFG, the Isle of Skye has become synonymous with the Steven Spielberg movie of the same name released in 2016 because filming took place there.
The BFG story takes place in multiple locations, the most magical of which is Giant Country, where the BFG (short for the Big Friendly Giant), played by Mark Rylance, takes orphan Sophie when she sees him.
The Isle of Skye, off the west coast of Scotland, with its rugged, mesmerising landscape, was used by Mr Spielberg as a stand-in for this magical land. It can be easily accessed and trekked – guaranteed to spark imagination and inspiration.
Reelig Glen, near Inverness – the enchanted wood from The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton
The description of the enchanted wood in Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree book series is very similar to that of Reelig Glen, near Inverness in Scotland
Reelig Glen, located near Inverness in Scotland, wonderfully resembles the enchanted wood described in Enid Blyton’s famous The Faraway Tree book series.
Its enormous magical trees stand 64 metres (209ft) tall, making them the tallest in the UK and remarkably similar to the gigantic trees described in the book.
The forest transports visitors to Blyton’s mystical location with options to walk along crafted trails, including the tall trees trail, and there is also plenty of space to run around and play.
Peckforton Castle, Cheshire – Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches from The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
Fans of the book The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy would enjoy a visit to Peckforton Castle in Cheshire, where scenes for the BBC drama of the same name was filmed
Broom with a view: A still from the CBBC series, with a Peckforton Castle-style castle in the background
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy follows the life of Mildred Hubble, a well-meaning yet clumsy witch-in-training who never seems to get anything right.
A large amount of the book series is spent within the walls of a girls-only huge stone castle surrounded by vast plush forest. And fans of the books can visit this fictional setting in real life.
Peckforton Castle in Cheshire resembled the description of the castle in the book so closely that it was used as the filming location for The Worst Witch CBBC children’s drama.
Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire – Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire bears an uncanny resemblance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy from the Harry Potter books
Lacock abbey was used to film the interior scenes of Hogwarts in many of the Harry Potter movies, including Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Perhaps one of the most magical settings of all time is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – from the globally famous Harry Potter series written by JK Rowling.
And the old stone pillars and grand interior castle walls of Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire are instantly recognisable to both children and adults who visit.
Used to film the interior scenes of Hogwarts in many of the movies, including Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the abbey offers a cost-effective opportunity to connect with the fictional stories – entry is £11.60 for adults and £6.40 for children.
Cheddar Gorge Caverns, Somerset – the caves of Helm’s Deep from the Lord of the Rings series by JRR Tolkien
The Cheddar Gorge Caverns, pictured, are said to be the inspiration for parts of JRR Tolkien’s The Two Towers from his The Lord of the Rings series
How Helm’s Deep was portrayed in The Two Towers movie. Helm’s Deep’s caves are described in The Two Towers book as ‘immeasurable halls, filled with an everlasting music of water that tinkles into pools’
One of the most other-worldly settings in JRR Tolkien’s epic trilogy The Lord of The Rings can be experienced in Somerset.
The Cheddar Gorge Caverns are said to be the inspiration for Tolkien’s ‘glittering caves of Helm’s Deep’, from the second book in the series, The Two Towers.
The Caverns can certainly be described as ‘immeasurable halls, filled with an everlasting music of water that tinkles into pools’, just as the glittering caves are defined in the book.
The caverns are perfect for a family day out and can be visited and explored, or for the more adventurous, rock climbing and free falling activities are widely available.
The Shambles, York – Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
The Shambles, the historic medieval street in York, has grown in popularity among Harry Potter fans over the years due to its similarities to Diagon Alley from the book
Diagon Alley pictured in one of the Harry Potter movies. It is the magical shopping market where Harry and his friends get their wands and owls
York’s historic Shambles has grown in popularity among Harry Potter fans over the years due to its similarities to Diagon Alley from the book series by JK Rowling. It’s the magical shopping market where Harry and his friends get their wands and owls.
The street is even home to two Potter-themed shops and attracts thousands of visitors wanting to experience the wizarding world.
Visitors can explore a range of shops and cafes. It’s perfect for a day trip.
Hill Top Farm, The Lake District – various stories by Beatrix Potter including The Tale of Tom Kitten and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck
Hill Top Farm in the Lake District, which was owned by Beatrix Potter and was the inspiration behind her books The Tale of Jemima Puddle Duck and the Tale of Tom Kitten
English author and artist Beatrix Potter spent her childhood summers in the Lake District lapping up the beauty of the area that inspired many of her famous books.
In 1905 she bought Hill Top Farm there and settled permanently, buying plots of land as her books made more money so she could preserve the unique hill-side landscape.
Today, Hill Top Farm is part of the National Trust where people can visit the author’s 17th century preserved farmhouse and see the iconic gardens and lake which were home to Jemima Puddle-Duck and Tom Kitten in her stories.
Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland – world of Narnia from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
Author CS Lewis regularly holidayed in the Mourne Mountains of Northern Ireland, pictured, which is said to be the inspiration for Narnia in his books
The world of Narnia, the primary setting in CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, is famous among children worldwide for its enchanting places and magical inhabitants.
Lewis regularly holidayed in the Mourne Mountains of Northern Ireland saying that the scenery ‘made me feel that at any moment a giant might raise its head over the next ridge’.
The landscape was a huge inspiration for the Narnia stories, so much so that visitors can now walk along the ‘Narnia Trail’, which seeks to capture the imagination of children of all ages.
- Research courtesy of Premier Inn.
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