Places to visit from your favourite books

Scotland’s history, scenery and culture has inspired many famous authors, including Robert Burns, J.K. Rowling, J.M. Barrie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Rankin to put a pen to paper and create books that we all know and love.

Alongside other inspirational Scottish locations, in 2004 Edinburgh was named the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature. We’ve picked out some of the top Scottish locations that appear in world famous books.

 

Spellbinding scenery and the birthplace of Harry Potter

The Elephant House, a small café in the centre of Edinburgh, was where J.K. Rowling first found inspiration for the Harry Potter books. After moving to Edinburgh, this is where she wrote much of the first of the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, writing notes on the back of napkins when she ran out of paper.

The Elephant House is now popular with wizarding fans across the globe – not only can you enjoy a hot drink and cakes, visitors have been delighted to find drawers filled with letters and notes on the back of napkins to J.K. Rowling.

 

The inspiration behind Peter Pan

Kirriemuir, near Dundee, was the birthplace and childhood home of J M Barrie, the imagination behind Peter Pan. His time spent outside playing inspired his writing, with Peter Pan being written several years later.

Visit the small whitewashed cottage where Barrie grew up in Kirriemuir. The exhibition gives insight into his early life, with original costumes and manuscripts, and you can stop by the wash-house where he performed his very first play aged seven, and which provided inspiration for the Wendy house in Peter Pan.

 

Outlander experiences

With the fifth season round the corner, Outlander fans can travel back in time in Edinburgh. Led by Mercat Tours, this walking tour brings to life the real events that inspired the acclaimed novels and subsequent television series.

Walk into Edinburgh’s Old Town to see key places in Edinburgh’s history including the Tolbooth Jail, Canongate Kirkyard and World’s End Tavern.

If you’re travelling to Inverness, visit Culloden Battlefield, where Claire and Jamie part ways before the Battle of Culloden. Whilst in Inverness, visit Leakey’s bookshop to immerse yourself in some of your favourite books. With floor to ceiling books, stained glass windows and an open log fire, this old Gaelic church is a book lover’s paradise.

 

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Dunkeld and Birnam was Beatrix Potter’s annual summer holiday location, and where she found her passion for nature. This passion translated to writing, and her holiday home was where she first wrote about Peter Rabbit, providing the basis for one of the most famous children’s books, The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

The local area inspired many other books written by Beatrix Potter, including The Tale of Mrs Tiggy Winkle, and The Tale of Jeremy Fisher, based on her exploration of the banks of the River Tay.

Visit the Birnam Arts Centre to see the Beatrix Potter Exhibition and the Beatrix Potter Garden, featuring flowers and wildlife characters that inspired Beatrix when on holiday in the area.

 

Hidden Treasure

Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson often visited the popular natural cove beach of Yellowcraig which offers spectacular views of Fidra Island.

Stevenson’s map of Treasure Island is said to be inspired by the shape of Fidra, which features a lighthouse built in 1885, rugged edges, grassy slopes and steep cliffs.

Easily accessible by public transport or a short car journey from Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station, Yellowcraig is popular with families who enjoy the area’s nature trails, barbeque sites and network of footpaths.

 

Scottish Crime

Scottish novelist Ian Rankin set his best-selling books in Scotland, with his Inspector Rebus novels set mainly in Edinburgh. The success of Inspector Rebus books led to subsequent adaptation into a television series. Fans of the book will be familiar with The Oxford Bar, a small pub in Edinburgh which was where Inspector Rebus would visit for a drink.

 

Vampires in Aberdeen

Slains Castle, a 16th century castle situated atop the clifftops of Aberdeenshire and overlooking the North Sea, is said to be the inspiration for the novel Dracula. Famed author Bram Stoker visited Cruden Bay regularly for 17 years, and some of his other work including The Mystery of the Sea have been set in Cruden Bay. The gothic-style castle is where Stoker first came up with the character of Count Dracula.

 

Discover Sherlock Holmes’ Edinburgh

Visitors to Edinburgh can see the Sherlock Holmes Statue in Picardy Place, marking the location where Scotland-born author Arthur Conan Doyle was born. Across the road from the statue is The Conan Doyle Pub, named after the author.

Step back in time to Victorian Edinburgh by joining The Real Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour of Edinburgh. Find out about where Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired as a young medical student, and who he met that inspired the character Sherlock Holmes.

 

Dream Big in London

Escape everyday life and experience some out of this world adventures with a trip to London this autumn.

Leave Scotland in the evening and wake up ready to take on the day in London with Caledonian Sleeper.

 

Harry Potter World

Are you Gryffindor or Slytherin? Visit the Warner Brothers Studio Tour to go behind the scenes of the famous books and films.

Looking for some wizarding fun? The Studio Tour runs seasonal and special events year round for all to enjoy.

Get your tickets here: https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/tickets

 

The ArcelorMittal Orbit

Are you looking for something more adrenaline-filled? Try out the UK’s largest sculpture and the world’s longest tunnel slide, the ArcelorMittal Orbit. With views across London from the 80m high viewing platform you can see London in a new light, before a hair-raising slide back to the ground.

 

Up at the O2

Up at The O2 takes visitors on a climb over the roof of the popular O2 with panoramic views of the city. Harness up and take on the 90 minute climb day or night.

 

Galleries

With the V&A, Tate Modern and the Natural History Museum all within easy reach, immerse yourself in culture, history and art in London.

Visit the original Victoria and Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design. Recent exhibitions include FOOD: Bigger than the Plate which explores current experiments at every stage of the food system, and a Mary Quant fashion exhibition.

For international modern and contemporary art, visit the Tate Modern. Alongside the collections on display, the Tate Modern regularly holds events including talks from artists, performances of plays and panel discussions.

If you’re looking for a fascinating day out for all the family, look no further the Natural History Museum. With exhibitions including a 25.2 metre long blue whale skeleton, a rock from Mars and the skeleton of a reptile named after Sir David Attenborough, among many others.

The Natural History Museum also holds regular events including crime scene live, yoga, and a sleepover for grown-ups who can enjoy music, food, science, art and cinema.

 

Visit the Barbican Conservatory

Home to exotic fish and over 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees, the Barbican Conservatory is an educational day out for the whole family.

After exploring the conservatory, take a break and enjoy some afternoon tea in the conservatory.

 

Take in a show

Dream Big and explore London’s West End by taking in one of the world-famous shows on offer including The Lion King, Wicked, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Matilda.

 

Tee Off in the Home of Golf

With the famous game originating here, where better to play a round or two of golf than in Scotland itself? With over 550 courses to play, where will you tee off?

This month (9th – 15th September), the Solheim Cup returns to Gleneagles, with the best women golfers from across Europe and the USA competing in one of the highlights in the sporting calendar.

Whether you’re a golfer yourself, would like to give the game a go or purely a fan overlooking from the clubhouse, we’ve created a guide to the best courses in the country, all of which can be accessed via travel with Caledonian Sleeper.

 

Gleneagles

If you fancy playing on the course where the Solheim Cup is set to take place then leave Caledonian Sleeper at Gleneagles railway station in Perthshire.

A blend of natural beauty and adventure make the three championship courses at this world-renowned hotel and sporting resort attractive to a spectrum of enthusiasts, from complete beginners to international competitors and celebrities.

 

St Andrews

No other course has hosted more Open Championships than the Old Course in St Andrews, with many celebrated golfers labelling it as their favourite course to play.

Crowned as where golf originated, the town is shrouded in golf history. Choose to play at the Old Course itself or other nearby greens including The Castle Course, New Course, Jubilee Course and Eden Course, among many more.

 

Championship Course at Carnoustie

Known at ‘Golf’s Greatest Test’, there are many that believe that the Championship Course at Carnoustie is the finest challenge of championship golf to be found anywhere the sport is played.

Located just a few minutes from Carnoustie railway station which is served by Caledonian Sleeper on the Highlander route between London and Aberdeen, here is where the most practiced of golfers can enjoy a challenge on a course which has seen iconic names in golf history make their mark.

The Open returned to Carnoustie in 2018, drawing thousands of visitors from across the world to spectate at this memorable location.

 

Royal Dornoch

Nestled in a remote corner of Sutherland, Royal Dornoch has a reputation for being one of the world’s finest golf courses.

The wild location of this course offers an experience unlike very few others resulting in a cult following of golfers, mainly from the United States. It was here that Donald Ross, a native of Dornoch, took much inspiration for his design of Pinehurst No 2 – the venue of the 2014 US Open.

Royal Dornoch is located a one hour drive from Inverness which is serviced by Caledonian Sleeper.

 

Photo by Visit Scotland