We all know the exquisite pain of wishing we could climb inside the books we love and live in their worlds for a while. It may be easier than you think. We’ve put together the top destinations for adventurous book fans to visit in order to see the inspiration behind their favorite books, and how and where their favorite authors hung out!
1: A trip to see The Cursed Child in London’s West End followed by the Warner Bros. Studios tour.
Image Via The Wrap
Spend the day indulging in The Cursed Child in London’s West End. There’s a three hour break between the two halves, which you can spend by eating and wandering around the famous district. I’m pretty sure the alleged special effects in the play are actual magic. Prepare yourselves to get up close and personal with some all-too convincing dementors.
The following day, take the shuttle bus from London to Watford, home of Warner Bros. Studios, which in turn are home to every single prop and costume and specially built set used in the Harry Potter movies. Ride Hagrid’s motorbike, see the Weasely’s burrow complete with the self-knitting knitting needles and magic clock. Walk down Diagon Alley, see the Philosopher’s Stone, and wonder at the beauty of the life-size Buckbeak. This double-whammy has got to be the ultimate endgame for Harry Potter fans. Book your tickets approximately a year in advance, though, to avoid disappointment. Not kidding.
2. Tour of J. K. Rowling’s Edinburgh
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While you are waiting an entire year for your Cursed Child experience, another Harry Potter pilgrimage you can embark on is to Edinburgh, Scotland. J. K. Rowling wrote much of the first book in The Elephant House cafe, while looking out of the window at the stunning view of Edinburgh Castle. These days, the bathrooms are plastered in Harry Potter graffiti.
Greyfriars Kirkyard, a 16th century churchyard beside the Elephant House contains gravestones with names that inspired many of the Potter monikers! Nearby, Victoria Street and Candlemaker Row were the inspiration for Diagon Alley, while Heriot’s School is said to be the inspiration for Hogwarts!
3. Follow Patti Smith’s Adventures in New York
Image Via i-D
Though Patti Smith is primarily known for her music career, inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, her contributions to the world of literature are arguably her greatest works. Her memoir Just Kids, about her time in New York with her friend and lover, artist Robert Mapplethorpe, has led many an idealistic young writer to the streets of New York City, the pages of their copies of the book dog eared, marked and highlighted, their paths mapped out.
Smith met Mapplethorpe when she worked at Scribern’s Book Store, at 597 Fifth Avenue. It is currently home to Sephora at 48th Street, which it ahs been for some time now, but you can still see the store name in gold. She writes:
It seemed like a dream job, working in the retail store of the prestigious publisher, home to writers like Hemingway and Fitzgerald, and their editor, the great Maxwell Perkins. Where the Rothschilds bought their books, where paintings by Maxfield Parrish hung in the stairwell.
Tompkins Square Park is where the third and most important meeting between Smith and Mapplethorpe occurred. On a date with a creepy older man, Smith spied Mapplethorpe, ran up to him and asked him to pretend to be her boyfriend. The two stuck together as lovers, and then as best friends for the rest of their lives. This park was a hub for the New York punk movement. The Chelsea Hotel was Mapplethorpe and Smith’s residence for some years, during which time they befriended the likes of Janis Joplin, Allen Ginsburg, and William S. Borroughs to name but a few. She once ran into Salvador Dali in the lobby! Situated directly below the balconies of the Chelsea Hotel, El Quijote, a Spanish bar and restaurant which was always full of the hotel’s patrons. Smith recounts: “At the table to my left, Janis Joplin was holding court with her band. To my far right were Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane, along with members of Country Joe and the Fish. At the last table facing the door was Jimi Hendrix…” St Mark’s Church in the Bowery is where Smith first began reading her poetry publicly at the insistence of Gregory Corso,
4. Tour Game of Thrones Locations in Croatia
Image Via Hotel Aristan Dubrovnik
Throughout the filming of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the Croatian city of Dubrovnik has served as the setting for King’s Landing. Visitors can see the Red Keep, the House of the Undying and the setting of the Purple Wedding among many other locations. St. Dominic Street is the setting of many market scenes, City Watch scenes, as well as where King Robert’s illegitimate sons were murdered. It is also the scene of Cersei’s walk of shame in Season Five. Bokar Fortress is King’s Landing. The two-story medieval fortress is open to the public all year!
Lokrum Island is situated 600 meters off Croatia’s mainland. Lokrum functions as the city of Qarth, ruled by the ‘pureborn,’ where Daenerys Targaryen gets a frosty welcome from the Spice King. This island dates back to 1023 and, according to legend, Richard the Lionheart sheltered here after a shipwreck while returning from the Crusades. At the highest point of Dubrovnik stands Mineeta Tower, which double as the walls of the House of the Undying. Fans can walk along a high wall above the city and look out over King’s Landing.
5. Visit Jane Austen’s House in Hampshire
Image Via Visit Winchester
The 17th-century house in which Pride and Prejudice author Jane Austen spent the last eight years of her life resides in the village of Chawton near Alton in Hampshire. It has been made into a museum where fans can see books, jewelry, and a piano belonging to Austen. There’s also furniture and other items belonging to the Austen family. The quaint country side and local houses will give you some idea of the world in which Austen lived, and the inspirations behind her settings such as Pemberley.
6. Tour of Hunter S. Thompson’s home Owl Farm in Woody Creek, Colorado.
Image Via Newsweek
Hunter S. Thompson’s wife Anita is currently in the process of opening their home as a museum for Gonzo fans. Owl Farm was where Anita and Thompson lived for the two years of their marriage before his suicide in 2005. If all goes according to plan, you can sign up on the Gonzo Foundation website.
Anita will make the same breakfast she always made for Hunter at 2PM: grapefruit, scrambled eggs, juice, coffee, and fresh fruit suspended in Jell-O, with gin and Grand Marnier drizzled on top. After this, the grand tour of the two-story log cabin. The rooms are jammed with books, art, vinyl albums, memorabilia, and Thompson’s handwritten notes. His famous red shark convertible is in the garage. Owl Farm is also home to a German Shepard, two Siamese cats, and a flock of peacocks whom Thompson would defend with his shotgun.
7. Tour Emily Dickinson’s Amhurst Home
Image Via View from Federal Twist
One of the most lauded poets of the 20th century, Dickinson’s home in Amhurst, Massachusetts, where she lived as a recluse all her life, is now the Emily Dickinson Museum. Walk the grounds of the beautiful home where Dickinson was inspired to write her wonderful poetry about nature, and walk through the rooms where her more abstract verses were composed. The museum also hosts literary events and workshops.
Feature Image Via Trip Advisor