From majestic theatre adaptations to gloriumptious museums and very secret gardens, here are 15 Puffin inspired day trips that will bring stories, characters and books to life.
Get lost in the Great Missenden forest with The Minpins
Tucked deep in the Chiltern Hills lies the home of the greatest storyteller in the world – Great Missenden. Here, Roald Dahl penned the tale The Minpins, set in the local forest. It’s into these wild woodlands hero Billy ventures and meets some tiny tree-dwelling people, The Minpins. With a new edition – Billy and The Minpins – out this autumn, it’s the perfect time to get lost in this picturesque location, but just look out for those little folk…
Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England
Hop to it with Peter Rabbit at Willows Activity Farm
Little bunnies will be hopping mad for the Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground in St Albans. With a focus on learning through imaginative play, the Adventure Playground brings together the locations and characters from the well-loved CBeebies show and Beatrix Potter’s classic books. Why not explore the Nature Discovery Trail and play on Jeremy Fisher’s Musical Pond, before taking a trip to the Secret Treehouse?
Willows Activity Farm, Coursers Road, London Colney, St Albans, Hertfordshire England AL4 0PF
Munch your way through The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s stage show
Based on four timeless stories by The Very Hungry Caterpillar author Eric Carle, this fantastical, critically acclaimed stage show features 75 puppets, adapted straight from the illustrations in his many books. Tots will love recognising the magical characters from Carle’s iconic pictures, brought to life by puppeteers onstage. Catch this lively production, bursting with colour and delight at a UK location near you.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, Various locations, UK (from 31st May 2017)
Explore Katie Morag’s home on the Isle of Coll
Spirited Katie Morag lives on the fictional Isle of Struay, which author Mairi Hedderwick based on the remote Scottish island Coll. The island is full of whitewashed cottages and swathes of untouched beaches and with only 220 permanent residents, it’s the perfect retreat for families seeking a little peace and quiet. The rocky outpost is accessible by ferry and is a wonderful place for some off-the-beaten path adventures together, that Katie Morag would just love.
The Isle of Coll, Scotland
Prance like Peter in Kensington Gardens
JM Barrie’s enduring tale Peter Pan was inspired by his time in Kensington Gardens, London. Here, day-trippers can seek out some Lost-Boy style exploits: visit the Pet Cemetery referenced in Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens followed by the Peter Pan statue (that appeared as if by magic overnight!) installed in 1912, pretend you’re a swashbuckling pirate on the ship in the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground, or take a trip to JM Barrie’s home just outside the park on 100 Bayswater Road. Just make sure you don’t forget your fairy dust.
Kensington Gardens, London England W2 2UH
Experience the magic at the Dahl Museum and Story Centre
Located in Dahl’s gloriumptious Buckinghamshire village home, the petite, award-winning Dahl Museum and Story Centre is a treat for both young and old fans. Featuring three interactive galleries, the museum has bags of information on Dahl’s writing life and his cherished stories, from The Twits to Fantastic Mr. Fox. There’s plenty of fun and games for young storytellers and you can even pop into the writer’s now-famous writing hut. Now that’s magic.
The Dahl Museum and Story Centre, 81 to 83 High Street, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire England HP16 0AL
Join the Jolly Postman on his rounds at The Postal Museum
Opening July 2017 in London, The Postal Museum is a sacksful of fun for any little ones that love letters, packed with hidden tunnels and interactive displays. It features The Jolly Postman Trail, a unique way to experience Allan and Janet Ahlberg’s well-loved interactive story The Jolly Postman – why not follow the Jolly Postman on his rounds through the gallery and complete the activities along the way?
The Postal Museum, Phoenix Place, London England WC1X 0DA (from 28th July)
Find Spot at the Natural History Museum (or a museum near you!)
In Eric Carle’s lift-the-flap book Find Spot at the Museum, Spot and his mum visit the museum. But wait! Spot goes missing amongst the displays and it’s up to us to find him! The Natural History Museum (or any other local museum) is a great place to bring this fun book to life with children - look out for the dinosaurs, peek around the fossils, visit the animals from across the world and discover the archaeological displays, just like Spot and his family.
The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London England SW7 5BD
Soak up the beauty of the Lake District just like Beatrix Potter
Known for her wonderfully illustrated books - including favourite characters Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-duck and Squirrel Nutkin - Potter spent many summers holidaying in this rural location until moving to Hill Top Farm in her adult life. A visit to the Lake District will allow families to soak up exactly what inspired her to write those animal-filled tales. From walking the Beatrix Potter Trail, visiting The World of Beatrix Potter or settling down at Hill Top Farm, there’s plenty to see and do for all ages.
The Lake District, Cumbria, England
Amble around a very ‘secret garden’
Author Francis Hodgson Burnett lived at Great Maytham Hall from 1898, where she discovered a secret door hidden behind the overgrown foliage. Restoring it to its original glory, she used this setting to pen Little Lord Fauntleroy and then as the inspiration for her book The Secret Garden. A visit today will allow you to discover the beautiful lawns that are just as gorgeous as in the story and eagle-eyed readers can still spy the outline of the original doorway, if they choose to look closely enough.
Great Maytham Hall, Maytham Road, Rolvenden, Tenterden, Kent England TN17 4NE
Return to Victorian times at The Foundling Museum with Hetty Feather
Jacqueline Wilson’s series of stories featuring Victorian heroine Hetty Feather have inspired a generation of readers. It was here in the museum the author researched the history of the Foundling Hospital and formed the idea of her book Hetty Feather. This new interactive display, Picturing Hetty Feather, features props and costumes from the CBBC show, along with objects from the original hospital which will transport visitors to a by-gone world.
The Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London England WC1N 1AZ (26th May 2017 to 3rd Sep 2017)
Scale mountains with The BFG
The silver screen adaption of Dahl’s The BFG took Sophie and her very friendly giant across the UK on some whizzpopping adventures. Although the BFG lives in mythical Giant Country, ordinary human beans can still visit some of the dream-like locations from the film. Filming took place in the roving hills of Scotland; the craggy, mountain-filled backdrop of the ethereal Isle of Skye proved the perfect home for The BFG and his larger-than-life friends.
The Isle of Skye, Scotland
Embark on a Whovian adventure
The Doctor Who Experience is the ultimate intergalactic adventure for Doctor Who fans. Take a behind-the-scenes look at the TV show – there are props, costumes and even a Tardis to get to grips with. The Interactive Experience even allows visitors to be part of the adventure and embark on a journey through space and time, to help the Doctor grapple with a treat that could destroy the universe – forever!
The Doctor Who Experience, Discovery Quay, Porth Teigr, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, Wales CF10 4GA (various dates in 2017)
Explore Cambridge like Daisy and Hazel
In Murder Most Unladylike: Mistletoe and Murder, Daisy and Hazel spend the Christmas holidays in snowy Cambridge. Hazel has high hopes of visiting its beautiful libraries and inviting tea-rooms, but a brutal accident forces the Detective Society to investigate the danger lurking in the dark stairwells of Maudlin College. Although Maudlin College is made up, Cambridge University is still a must-visit and each college has their own architectural style and quirky customs. Don’t forget to go punting too after a much needed bun break!
The University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England CB2 1TQ
Take a trip to a very famous wardrobe
It's a little known fact that C.S. Lewis, author of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was born in Belfast. It’s here that you can take a trip on a dedicated trail that will take you to places that inspired the young writer to create the magical world of Narnia. Start at the statue known as The Searcher, and follow the trail round East Belfast. Why not download a map and tick of the places you visit along the way, as you explore just like Lucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan.
The Searcher, 4 Holywood Rd, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT4 1NT