Young Creatives: Explore the UK in Classic Children’s Books

Young Creatives: Explore the UK in Classic Children’s Books

The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame – River Thames, Oxfordshire

Based on a stretch of the Thames, Wind and the Willows is a tale of adventure of three loveable creatures.

Ratty and Mole spend days messing about in the Thames and the story follows their tales while they are swept up by the misadventures of Mr Toad.

Kenneth Grahame lived in a small village in Oxfordshire (previously in Berkshire before the border change) and it is here that the stories are thought to be based upon.

Winnie-the-Pooh, AA Milne – Ashdown Forest, East Sussex

AA Milne’s classic stories of a bear and his friends captured the hearts of many generations of children, and is still going strong today 90 years on from his first collection of stories.

The 100-Aker Wood where the characters lived was based on the Ashdown Forest close to AA Milne’s home.

As a family they would spend their summers exploring the forest and counting pine trees on Gill Lap.

Now you can explore the forest and follow a series of Pooh Walks, highlighting parts of the stories told.

War Horse, Michael Morpurgo – Dartmoor, Devon

An emotional tale, War Horse is about a young horse thrust into the army during WW1, the story tells the tale of the horrors the horse and his officer faced in the terrible conditions.

With the story and home location based on Dartmoor in Devon, it was only fitting for scenes of the film to later be filmed on the moors themselves.

Michael Morpurgo lived in Devon and was inspired by the people he met in a local pub telling tales of their lives on Dartmoor.

Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter – Hawkshead, Lake District

Visit Hill Top in Hawkshead the home of Beatrix Potter and the setting for her Peter Rabbit and friends books.

Although Peter Rabbit had already been written before Beatrix moved to the farmhouse, it’s said that all her later books written were based upon her own garden.

You can now see Hill Top as she left it, with each room having hints to her tales.

Postman Pat, John Cunliffe – Longsleddale, Cumbria

The fictional village of Greendale in the Postman Pat stories are based on the village of Longsleddale near Kendal in the South Lakes of Cumbria.

John Cunliffe wrote the Postman Pat stories while living in Kendal and it’s not hard to see the resemblance between the Greendale village and the narrow, twisting roads and sheep of the Lake District.

Postman Pat’s Post Office itself was loosely based on the old post office at Greenside in Kendal where John carried out his research while writing the book.

Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens – London

There are a number of London locations mentioned in the tale of Oliver Twist, as well as almost all over the other Charles Dickens classics.

Starting with the skyline of St Pauls Cathedral at the start of his journey into London with The Artful Dodger and Fagin, very much unchanged since Dicken’s era, to Cleveland Street where the workhouse can be found that inspired Oliver’s Twist.

Cleveland Street is also where Dickens lived twice during his childhood.

Take a guided Dicken’s walk across the capital to see and learn all there is to know about the author’s life and where his stories were born.

The Famous Five, Enid Blyton – Dorset

With over 20 stories in the series, the five children and their dog Timmy go on a number of adventures for each book.

Starting with the first book, Five on a Treasure Island, written in 1942, to the final book in the series, Five Are Together Again, written in 1963.

Each story was inspired by the places around Dorset, where Enid spent her holidays.

Locations such as Corfe and Corfe Castle, better known as Kirrin Island and Kirrin Castle in the books.

With so many locations to choose from you can spend an entire week following in Enid’s footsteps.

The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett – Great Maytham Hall, Kent

Frances lived at Great Maytham Hall in Kent for nine years from 1898 to 1907, this is where she discovered the old walled garden overgrown and dating back from the 18th century.

It’s said that aided by a Robin, she found the key to the gardens and restored them to their former glory, inspiring her story The Secret Garden.

The rest of the gardens have been landscaped, but the old walled gardens have been retained and kept as Frances had left them in recognition of her tale.

Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie – The Arboretum, Nottingham

While JM Barrie lived and worked in Nottingham he passed through The Arboretum daily on his way to work. Home to a beautiful pond, the park is thought to have inspired Mermaid Lagoon in Neverland.

The Arboretum also has a bell tower surrounding by cannons, which are an obvious link to Captain Hook and his pirates.

Even though he wouldn’t go on to write his story for another 7 years after leaving the area, the similarities in the park to Neverland are too big to ignore.

Paddington Bear, Michael Bond – Paddington Station, London

Every child has been told the story of Paddington Bear, about a polite well-dressed bear who was discovered at the London train station by the Brown family who adopted him and their own.

It’s nothing strange in the story that the human family would adopt a bear.

The story came to Michael’s mind as he walked by a store in Paddington Station and saw a lone teddy bear on a shelf on the display and so the character and story was born!

Now to celebrate the beloved character the station has a store dedicated to the tales and a bronze statue of Paddington with his suitcase just waiting for his new home.

If you’re feeling inspired to write your own tale based on your favourite place in the UK, you could win some fantastic prizes with Young Creatives. Offering 5 to 16 year olds the chance to win over £2,500 in prizes in books, holidays and photography goodies.


Young Creatives

Organised by holidaycottages.co.uk, Young Creatives aims to inspire our young generations to create masterpieces of their own, and win some prizes while they do it. Being judged by children’s authors Jeremy Strong and Chris Bradford, entrants have the opportunity to have their work shown to some fantastic names in the industry.

Visit www.holidaycottages.co.uk/youngcreatives for more information on how to enter.