What do Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and George Washington all have in common? Linked together, they all become key players in a memorable early July Family Travel Experience that starts/finishes in London.

Major literary anniversaries make great foundations for a customised tour and in 2016 with the Brontë Sisters, Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl and Alf Wight (aka James Herriot) we have four very well known names for you to work with.

Don’t be put off by the words ‘Literary Tour’. With the addition of privately owned houses and gardens and the inclusion of pubs and tearooms, tours to the sources of inspiration for great writers and poets can be informative, entertaining and fun.

Roald Dahl’s 100th Anniversary

Born on 13 September 1916, Roald Dahl has captured the imagination of children around the world with his tales including James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, the Fantastic Mr Fox and The BFG. Visit the award-winning Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre where he lived and wrote for 36 years and back in London, include performances of ‘Mathilda’ AND ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. Why see only one when you could have time to see two?

Alice’s Day 2nd July 2016

Masterminded by the Oxford Story Museum, the annual celebration of Alice in Wonderland takes place in a large number of venues across the city and includes a Mad Hatter’s tea party, where you can meet the characters from the book and join them for tea, get their face painted or play some nonsense games.  Add in Oxford’s links with C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien and back in London a dash of Paddington Bear and you’re on the verge of creating a magical family experience, especially if you weave in something on Harry Potter

Pottering Around England

This tour can include many of the ‘On Location’ sites in London, Bath, the Cotswolds and Oxford before returning to London. Highlights can include:

The Brontë Sisters…

Anniversaries make great hooks for imaginatively themed tours. The Brontë200 programme continues next year as the Brontë Parsonage Museum celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë in 1816 with a variety of special events and exhibitions. Her sisters Emily and Anne were born in 1818 and 1820 respectively making them must see additions to any literary tour of England.

Beatrix Potter…

2016 also sees the 150th anniversary of the birth of the children’s author Beatrix Potter. Special events in the Lake District for include a children’s literary festival at Wray Castle, a brand new guide to tell the story of her life, a trail based on the film Mrs Potter, storytelling events and, of course, a special birthday party on 28 July.

and James Herriot.

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alf Wight aka the author James Herriot, the Yorkshire country vet whose adventures inspired the hugely popular TV adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small. A tour of his beloved Yorkshire Dales and a visit to his former home and now the World of James Herriot must be added to any north of England tour.

The Brontës, Beatrix Potter and James Herriot

To get the very best out of the three anniversaries, you won’t be surprised to learn that using the Manchester gateway to the north of England, it’s possible to customise an eye catching tour which brings them all together in a very imaginative way.

Murder Mystery

Fans of the Queen of Crimewriters will get a kick out of a few days at the annual Agatha Christie Festival that take place on the English Riviera in September. Maximise the returns by adding a closer look at Oxford, the source of inspiration for Colin Dexter’s ‘Inspector Morse’ and finish off in London with a closer look at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s hero, Sherlock Holmes. Don’t forget to add an evening at the Mousetrap, now in its 63rd year!

233f540Paull Tickner, UK based member of the Travel Institute is an expert in developing customized special interest travel programs for the United Kingdom and Ireland. Check out his website at www.customgb.co.uk and email him at ptickner@customgb.co.uk.

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