My Literary Landmark Bucket List + A FREE Worksheet
Hogwarts, Narnia, The Hundred Acre Wood…
There are so many places in fiction we wish we could visit. Some of those places are impossible to step foot in, because they are fictional. But that doesn’t mean we can’t immerse ourselves in the worlds our books lay out for us in other ways. There are plenty of places that mirror the settings of our books, or are the actual inspiration for a book’s settings. And other times, books take place in real live cities and landmarks. Then there are the authors behind the books we love—they all have birth places and places of inspiration as well. With all of the options available, it’s actually pretty easy to put together a literary vacation!
Below is my personal Literary Landmark Bucket List. These are all the places I’d love to visit some day for the simple reason that they house some of my favorite characters or bore witness to some of my favorite authors’ brilliancy.
But first, as I was outlining this post, I realized that there were a few literary sites I actually have seen:
- The Fort Pitt Tunnel from The Perks of Being a Wallflower: I was actually born and raised in Pittsburgh, so I've been through the Fort Pitt Tunnel more times than I can remember.
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando Florida: I went to Islands of Adventure to visit this gem of an attraction in 2010, so I haven't seen the extension (yet).
While there are numerous literary landmarks in New York, I missed most of them on my only visit to the city. However, there are one and a half sites I did see:
- The first, and only legitimate one, is the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park.
- The site I'm calling a halfie is the Tiffany & Co. Storefront I passed downtown. It's not the 5th Avenue Tiffany's of the famous Breakfast at Tiffany's...but it's close in my book.
And now for the literature-related sight-seeing I’d love to do in the future:
- King's Cross Station, Platform 9 ¾, and the Leavesden Studio Tour
- The Plaza Hotel: F. Scott Fitzgerald was a frequent guest of The Plaza (he even has a suite named after him) and used the hotel as the location for that infamous scene in The Great Gatsby- the one in which Tom confronts Gatsby about his feelings for Daisy.
- Chatsworth House and Temple of Apollo in Stourhead, Wiltshire: Chatsworth House in Derbyshire posed as Pemberley House (Mr. Darcy's home) in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film adaptation (and it is rumored that Jane Austen based Pemberley off Chatsworth). And, in the movie, the Temple of Apollo was the site of Darcy's first proposal to Liz.
- Emerald Isle, NC: Sarah Dessen has set several of her books, including Along For the Ride (my personal favorite), Keeping the Moon, and The Moon and More, in a fictional beach town called Colby, which is inspired by Emerald Isle.
- The Queensboro Bridge: "The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world." -The Great Gatsby
- Sylvia Plath's birthplace in Boston, MA
- F. Scott Fitzgerald's birthplace in Saint Paul, MN
- The Central Park Carousel: “Then the carousel started, and I watched her go round and round…All the kids tried to grab for the gold ring, and so was old Phoebe, and I was sort of afraid she’d fall off the goddamn horse, but I didn’t say or do anything. The thing with kids is, if they want to grab for the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it is bad to say anything to them.” –The Catcher in the Rye
- Walden Pond in Concord, MA: Henry David Thoreau's haven of a retreat and inspiration for Walden
- Hobbiton in New Zealand
- Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, Paris
- Bar Hemingway at The Ritz Paris: Hemingway wrote, “Whenever I dream of afterlife in heaven, the action always takes place in the Paris Ritz.”
What literature-based attractions do you dream of seeing? If you've never taken the time to write out your dream literary vacation, I've created a little worksheet for you to do just that! Download and fill it out, then share it with me here or on Twitter or Instagram- I’d love to hear about your experiences and expand my own bucket list.
Until next time,