Reading can be an escape from the humdrum of our everyday lives, allowing us to escape into the fantastic worlds created by authors like J. R. R. Tolkein, Neil Gaiman, and Stephen R. Donaldson. And some writers base their stories in the real world and give us the chance to flee our own and follow in their characters’ footsteps instead.
Whether it is a fictionalised world you are interested in exploring or the homes and habitats of your favourite Fantasy authors, why not use this concept as a guide when planning your next holiday?
Bath, Somerset County, England
A hotspot for the London elite in the 18th century, Bath can be said to have claimed tourism as one of its major industries for some time now.
Take a walk through the town’s namesake attraction, sample the healing waters of the spas, and pop into the Jane Austen Centre for a glimpse inside the writer’s life, a lecture from a costumed curator, and a tea service at the upstairs restaurant.
Try and plan your trip around the Jane Austen Festival and be sure to enjoy a Regency costume ball while you’re there.
Dublin, Capital of the Republic of Ireland
Once every year, on June 16th, fans of James Joyce’s seminal novel, Ulysses, often decked out in period costume, retrace Leopold Bloom’s journey through Dublin. But even if you can’t make it on this date, celebrating the author of the book categorised by the Modern Public Library’s most important works of the 20th century is still possible.
There is a walking tour curated by the James Joyce Centre that you can join, the Dublin Writers’ Museum for you to explore, and the Book of Kells Exhibition & Old Library to indulge in.
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New York City, New York State, USA
Almost every New York neighbourhood lays claim to at least one iconic author so you can take your pick from any of the Five Boroughs.
Book a room at the Library Hotel, a boutique located in the Midtown area that caters to bibliophiles, offering a collection of texts organised by the Dewey Decimal System, a poetry garden, and a reading room.
Grab a bite to eat outside Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue, honouring Truman Capote’s beloved short story as you do, then head to Central Park, stopping at the Alice in Wonderland statue, taking in the literary walking path, and viewing the duck pond The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield made famous.
Recreate E. L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, then take a Renaissance Walking Tour in Harlem, and end off with a cocktail of rye whiskey, dry vermouth and pineapple juice at The Algonquin Hotel.
Take a stroll around Washing Square Park before you head back to your hotel and pay homage to poets and writers like Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain, and Robert Louis Stevenson, maybe even picking up some of their works before you go home.