Recently I’ve realised how much I love to find stories on my travels, whether it is the history of a monument, an ancient legend or the setting of a well thumbed book. There is something pretty amazing about road trips that follow in other’s footsteps or bring to life books we love, so when Mytyres.co.uk, Europe’s largest supplier of online car tyres, asked me to share some road trips, these three rolled straight into my mind:
Corfu. My Family and Other Animals, Gerald Durrell.
A book I was completely obsessed with as a child, and I am pretty sure it was because there was a TV dramatisation of My Family And Other Animals when I was small. Gerald Durrell was a naturalist, zookeper, author and television presenter and the books tell of his upbringing in Corfu which fuelled his love of nature. With The Durrells back on ITV currently, this is another brilliant idea for a family holiday with potential for mini road trips.
I’ve been to Corfu twice now, before we had kids and once with kids and both times involved a trip to Kalmari, a beautiful little cove. We ate in the White House in Kalmari, which is often claimed to be the place where Durrell wrote My Family and Other Animals, but it is actually his brother, and author, Laurence Durrell’s house. It is however, the only Durrell residence you can visit, so I highly recommend. My two loved playing on the rocks, finding tiny crabs, after a long lazy lunch by the sea.
Corfu is small enough to cover by car over a week or two, you can soon be in the mountains, or discover tiny coves by boat. To find Durell playgrounds, as Paul Harrison suggests: ‘stay in the Perama region, swim and sail along its coastline, visit Pondikonissi, and view, from a vantage point on the Kanoni Peninsular, Lake Halikiopoulou, which was Gerald’s main childhood playing area.’
Mid West America. Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
I completely devoured The Little House on the Prairie books as a kid, in fact whenever I feel nervous about our forthcoming move to the country I think of Laura’s books and laugh at myself. When I wonder what on earth I am doing pioneering the new territory of the internet, I often think of her too. Her books really shaped my thinking in terms of finding ‘new worlds’. I would love to see the places she talks about.
In 1995, Minnesota and surrounding states designated U.S. Route 14 as the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway, to mark the family’s path. From Wisconsin which has a replica log cabin which stands on the land once owned by Charles and Caroline Ingalls to the Missouri farm, now converted to a museum, where she wrote her books, the families travels are actually more of a series of loops than the East to West route I had imagined as a child. Perfect for road tripping!
One thing concerns me, I still remember being quite terrified of the photograph of real-life, stern and Victorian Laura on the back of the final book, do you ever wonder if books are better off left in your head?
Scotland. Harry Potter, J K Rowling
Scotland is mind-blowing and perfect road trip territory, you can follow our Scottish road trip here. Glenfinnan Viaduct, Lochaber is the one the Hogwarts Express is crossing when Harry and Ron almost crash the Ford Anglia. During the summer months, you can even take a ride along the track.
Loch Shiel is located near the Glenfinnan Viaduct and was the setting for Hogwart’s lake. Hagrid’s hut was also temporarily sighted in Glencoe – we loved trying to work out where on our Scottish Road trip around Glencoe. Glencoe was also the location for Braveheart – it’s like nothing on Earth.
On the way up, if you are travelling North, stop at Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, which is the location for Madam Hooch’s first flying lesson and where Harry and Ron land the Ford Anglia in Chamber of Secrets. You’ll need to walk to the Outer Bailey (courtyard). Or, if you pass through Edinburgh, which you really should, then the Elephant Cafe, with its view of the castle, is where JK Rowling wrote some of Harry Potter.
What literary road trips would you like to take with your family?
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Post in collaboration with Delticom, Europe’s biggest online car tyre dealer.