See Fascinating Real Places From Beloved Childhood Books

Discover these fantastically factual sites from fictional children’s stories for yourself!

Book Culture Bookish Lifestyle Classics Lifestyle Travel
Grassy hills with a curved fantasy house with a grass roof. There are trees, deer, and birds. Four book covers are featured across the cover.

Do you ever think about your favorite books growing up and wish you could see those places with your own eyes? Ever dreamed about taking your family on vacations as good as those adventures? You CAN! Here are just a few locations from famous books for young readers that really exist — just waiting for you and your family to explore.

Chincoteague Island, Virginia

From Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry

Even though this was written in 1947, Misty of Chincoteague is still a popular children’s novel, inspired by the true story of the Beebe family and their Chincoteague Pony called Misty — the beautiful filly born to a wild island horse known as Phantom. Siblings Paul and Maureen lovingly try to tame Misty and Phantom after they acquire them at auction after the centuries-old traditional Pony Penning Day, where some of the wild ponies that roam the coast are corralled and walked up Main Street to be sold off.

Bookcover showing an illustration of a mother horse and her foal running along the shoreline of a beach. It says: 60th Anniversary Edition, Marguerite Henry, Misty of Chincoteague, A Newbery Honor Book.

Marguerite Henry witnessed this special occasion herself when she traveled to Chincoteague Island and stayed at a Bed and Breakfast right on Main Street; that lucky girl! During her time there, she went to the real-life Beebe Ranch and met Misty. It was there in the Inn that she wrote Misty of Chincoteague, the first in what would become a whole series of books. By the end of her time there, she was so captivated by this pony that she arranged to have Misty brought back home with her to Illinois.

A watercolor painting of  grassy hills with clusters of trees in the distance, and shrubs in the front. Two horses, a mother and child horse, are on one hill. They adorn matching pink and floral crowns.

See these wonders for yourself! Chincoteague is a real place, and the Pony Swim — on Pony Penning Day —is an annual event held at the end of July under the supervision of the Chincoteague Fire Department. The “Saltwater Cowboys” herd wild ponies from the nearby protected Assateague Island across the shallow channel of water, where they are then safely paraded down Main Street to the carnival grounds to be auctioned off. As you can imagine, this is a spectacular event for locals and tourists to look forward to every year. Plus, you can book a stay at Miss Molly’s Inn — the same Bed and Breakfast the author stayed at!

Paddington Station, London

And Other Cool Places Featured in A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond!

Who doesn’t love the cute and lovable Paddington Bear? He is discovered by the Brown family at Paddington Station, where they got the name for him because the bear language was too difficult to pronounce. He is kind and polite, loves his marmalade sandwiches, and somehow keeps innocently getting into mischief all around London.

Red background with a cream colored banner across part of it. There is a cute fluffy bear wearing a red hat and blue raincoat and carrying a bag. It says: Michael Bond, A Bear Called Paddington, illustrated by Peggy Fortnum.

If you aren’t from the UK, you might not know that Paddington Station is a real place. Take a vacation to London and head to Praed Street, where you will find the entrance to the London railway’s Paddington Station. Discover the infamous Platform 1 and have a look around! There, under a big clock, you can encounter the bronze statue of Paddington Bear. Nearby, there is the Paddington Bear Store for souvenirs and gifts.

Conservatory Water Found in Central Park, New York City

As Shown in Stuart Little by E.B. White

Stuart Little is a classic book from 1945 about a mouse-like boy born to the Little family who live in a brownstone in New York City. The world is observed from his tiny perspective and despite his size, Stuart has a courageous and curious personality. Adventures around the house satisfies him for a while, but he embarks on exciting escapades in the big city when he gets older, riding his iconic matchbox car.

Bookcover for Stuart Little by E.B. White, the author of Charlotte's Web. Pictures by Carth Williams. The cover is a drawing of a mouse wearing a red shirt and yellow shorts rowing a canoe across a lake with reeds.

Remember that part in the book (and the movie in 1999) where Stuart Little courageously competes in a model sailboat race in Central Park? You can do it too! On the East Side of Central Park, spanning from 73rd to 75th Street, you can find The Conservatory Water — an attraction geared towards children and hobbyists. There, you can rent remote-controlled wind-powered miniature sailboats or yachts and sail them on the huge ornamental pond. Maybe you’ll even get caught up in a race of your own!

The Plaza Hotel in New York City

Where the Eloise Books by Kay Thomspon Takes Place!

Speaking of the Big Apple, this is a delightful series of children’s books about the adventures of a mentally advanced six-year-old named Eloise — in her signature pink dress — who lives in a room on the “tippy-top floor” of The Plaza Hotel. She knows absolutely everything about the hotel and makes quirky observations. The only way to occupy this playful and intelligent little girl is with adventures filled with imagination and mischief — ones involving eccentric guests at the hotel or the bustling city outside, preferably.

Pink stripied walls and a yellow floor with a black rug. There is a blonde little girl climbling up a pink and gold chair onto a white vanity, so that she can write on its large arched mirror in pink. It says: Kay Thompson's The Absolutely Essential 60th Anniversary Edition, Eloise, Drawings by Hilary Knight. It also says on the bottom that it includes scrapbook with photos and drawings.

You can rent the Eloise Suite at the iconic — and very real — Plaza Hotel, located at 1 Central Park South in New York City. Play with Eloise’s books, dolls, and clothes! This one-of-a-kind suite is adorned with all the pink accents from the book’s illustrations by Hilary Knight and even features the huge neon sign above the bed that says “Eloise!”. Child at heart or not, grown-ups are going to have to dig deep into their pockets for a reservation to stay in the Eloise Suite — a whopping $1400!

Green Gables Farm, Prince Edward Island

Featured in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Set in the late 19th century on an island off the coast of Canada, this is the story about the adventures of Anne Shirley, the 11-year-old orphan who came to live with her middle-aged family members on their farm. There are many memorable moments in this book, like “The Lake of Shining Waters” where she seeks solace and “The Haunted Wood” near the house. The enchanting landscapes fueled Anne’s imagination over 100 years ago and unsurprisingly went on to capture the interest of fans ever since.

A bookcover showing a young girl from the late 19th century. She has red hair tied into pigtails with a large straw hat on top. She is wearing a long dress and she is standing before a picket fence with a garden behind it. The roof of a farmhouse can be seen behind her. The title says: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

You’ll be pleased to know the Green Gables Farm is still there on Prince Edward Island. It is a designated Canadian Heritage Place, and it welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Miss Montgomery calls the town “Avonlea” in her books, but the town’s real name is Cavendish. You can go and explore the same rooms where Anne and her family lived, walk the same paths and cross the same streams, scare yourself in the Haunted Woods, or take a stroll around her uncle’s Lake of Shining Waters.

Kings Cross Station + The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Remarkably Real Places From the Hugely Popular Harry Potter Books by J.K. Rowling!

I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Harry Potter needs no introduction. So, let’s cut to the chase. King’s Cross Station is a real railway station in London, and you can find it on Euston Road. Of course, we cannot see Platform 9 ¾ with our own eyes, but you will instead find The Harry Potter Shop in its place.

A scene from Harry Potter: Hagrid escorting Harry Potter through Diagon Alley. They are carrying packages and ice creams, and there are many witches and wizards walking down the street, with numerous magic shops along the sides. The book cover says: Harry Potter The Complete Collection. by J.K. Rowling.

If that isn’t enough for you, perhaps you would rather take a stroll through Hogsmeade, browse through Ollivander’s Wand Shop, or quench your thirst with some Butterbeer. Perhaps a little mischief and shopping in Diagon Alley are what you fantasize about. You can do all those things and more at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Mingle with wizards and witches and leave the muggle world behind by traveling to Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. Find Diagon Alley at Universal Studios and Hogsmeade in Universal Islands of Adventure — or ride the Hogwarts Express that connects the two places.

Embark on Your Favorite Story

Whether you are a kid at heart or looking for adventure with your own children, these were just a handful of real sites from children’s stories out there to discover. Turn your vacation destinations into enchanting adventures and bring literature to life by exploring real-world settings found in your favorite books.

Discover more literary locations to explore in the UK by clicking here.

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