27 Nov Book Reviews: 7 Storybook Family Holidays
Dreaming of taking your kids on a holiday with a difference? From exploring Eloise’s world of The Plaza in New York City, to pottering around Peter Rabbit’s British countryside and discovering local treasures like the big tree in Sydney from the Australian classic, My Place, there are so many destinations your favourite children’s story can take you to.
Eloise, an independent-minded six-year-old girl living in the The Plaza Hotel in New York City, has been enchanting children and grownups since the 1950s. In 2010, the Eloise Suite was opened on the 18th floor of The Plaza, featuring a plethora of pink custom-designed furnishings and bedding. The Eloise tea party room can be rented for private parties (check out the details and menu here) and an abundant Eloise boutique gift store offers everything from Eloise books to Eloise T-shirts, fluffy tutus and Eloise dolls. Have Eloise Tea or All Day Eloise Breakfast in The Palm Court (dishes served include ‘Organic City Child Chicken’ and ‘Charge It Please, Mac And Cheese’), or check out the event calendar to join in upcoming special events.
To plan your holiday, check out The Fairmont Family Eloise Experience or Family at the Plaza. Also check out the Eloise website for more info on the Eloise legacy. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Allow your imagination to run wild like Anne Shirley on Prince Edward Island in Canada, where Anne of Green Gables was set. Visit the Green Gables House that was once owned by author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s cousins. As a young girl, Lucy often visited the homestead and it became the heart and inspiration behind the Anne of Green Gables book series. In a nearby area on Prince Edward Island, you can take a stroll through the ‘Haunted Woods’ and the Balsam Hollow trails and soak up the splendor of Cavendish Beach, just like Anne in the books and movie.
To plan your holiday, check out Hill Top and Prince Edward Island. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Jemima Puddle-Duck and the Flopsy Bunnies are just some of the many delightful characters featured in Beatrix Potter’s children’s book series. Located in the stunning landscape of the Lake District, England, you’ll find Hill Top house, where Miss Potter lived. Take tours of the home and have fun exploring the garden, even looking up the real garden path, where The Tale of Tom Kitten and The Tale of Pigling Bland were set.
To plan your holiday, check out Hill Top and read up on Beatrix Potter’s life in the Lake District at Peter Rabbit. Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne
The cuddly bear and his home in the 100 Aker Wood have its origins in a real toy bear and a real wood in the south of England. Located in Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, you can stroll through the 500 Acre Wood, full of oaks and beeches (the inspiration for the 100 Aker Wood), past the gorse-bushes that poor Pooh was prickled by, and play Poohsticks at the bridge that runs over the same little stream Pooh and his friends played at in the beloved story. The Pooh Corner Shop provides information on tours, Piglet’s Tearoom for snacks, and fun souvenirs so you don’t leave empty handed.
To plan your holiday, check out The Natural World Of Winnie The Pooh, The Pooh Corner Shop, ashdownforest.com, ashdownforest.org or the AA’s Pooh’s Walk. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Visit the real life home of Jo, Beth, Amy and Meg. Orchard House in Massachusetts, USA, was the setting for author Louisa May Alcott’s beloved book about girls finding their way into womanhood at a time of civil war, and also her own home from 1858 to 1877. Orchard House looks very similar today to when the author lived there with her father, mother, and sisters Anna and May. Peer into the rooms styled true to the times, including Louisa’s chambers, where she wrote Little Women at the half-moon desk built for her by her father.
To plan your holiday, and take a virtual tour of the home, check out Louise May Alcott’s Orchard House website.
Be enchanted by The Shire, home of our favourite little heroes: Bilbo Baggins, Frodo and friends. Located in Matamata, the North Island of New Zealand, you’ll find a small piece of middle earth left behind from the filming of the popular film franchise – Hobbiton! Take the set tours to see the cosy Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill and the double-arched bridge featured in the film trilogies and book series.
One of the beautiful things about this Australian classic picture book is its time travel narrative that takes us back through the decades since European settlement through the eyes of generations of children living in the Sydney suburb of Newtown. The delightful maps that accompany each child’s story contain one constant: the big tree. You can visit the Moreton Bay fig tree as featured in the television show based on the book and also take a wander around the surrounding streets that are illustrated so beautifully by Donna Rawlins in the original tale.
To plan your holiday, look up the big tree from My Place in the grounds of Saint Stephen’s church, next to Camperdown Memorial Park in NSW.
Have you taken any of these storybook holidays? We’d love to hear your tips and recommendations! Email us at email@example.com or tell us in the comments.
Words by Jenna Templeton + Bron Bates / Images by Anne of Green Gables by Cally Templeton, Peter Rabbit by Daniel Brigden, The Hobbit + Lord Of The Rings by Hobbiton Movie Set, Eloise by The Plaza, Winnie The Pooh by Tom Lee, My Place by Bron Bates, Little Women by Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and Redjar (link removed).