LITERARY LOCKDOWN ESCAPES: 7 BOOKS TO INSPIRE YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE
It’s without a doubt that throughout lockdown, books have provided us with the much-needed escapism from our day-to-day lives. In celebration of World Book Day on 04 March, LOTUS has rounded-up some of the best literary-inspired adventures around the world, from uncovering clues on the Hound of the Baskervilles Tour in Devon, to discovering the Lake District which was the inspiration for writers such as Wordsworth, Ransome and Potter.
THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
WHY: If you like mystery and solving puzzles, The Hound of The Baskervilles is an intriguing novel with many twists and turns.
Travellers can uncover clues like detective Sherlock Holmes on this gripping tour that unravels the story behind the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, including the people, places and legends that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Devon tour is delivered by an award-winning guide who is a descendant of one of the people involved in the creation of the plot, making it completely unique with secrets in abundance. Guests will explore fascinating Bronze Age villages and previously burned down churches with mysterious black magic associations; hear about the evil Squire Cabell and his pack of hounds, the coach driver whose name is now etched into fictional folklore; and see the 200-year-old prison that Seldon escaped from in the story.
ToursByLocals (www.toursbylocals.com) offers The Hound of the Baskervilles Tour from £460 per tour for up to six people. The tour is eight hours, 30 mins.
THE JUNGLE BOOK
WHY: The Jungle Book has transported readers to the majestic animal kingdom during lockdown, where the ‘law of the jungle’ lays down society’s rules.
Travellers can discover Mowgli's jungle foe, the Bengal tiger Shere Khan, in real life with Exodus Travels on its unique itinerary that offers a comprehensive wildlife tour of India's best tiger parks. A powerful, suave Bengal tiger, Shere Khan is deeply feared as the most ferocious predator in the jungle. Seeing one in the wild is exhilarating, so this comprehensive safari includes fifteen safari drivers in three of the best national parks in India, Pench, Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks, to give travellers a better chance to experience this striking creature. There are many other animals to enjoy, but tigers remain top of the agenda throughout this itinerary. All the national parks are ideal for viewing both predator and prey, so the chances of seeing the magnificent Bengal tiger are greatly increased.
Exodus Travels (exodus.co.uk) has a 15-night India Tiger Safari escorted tour starting from £2,949 per person including flights from London, accommodation, breakfast daily, eleven dinners, a tour leader throughout and activities as listed in the itinerary.
WHY: Fairytales take us back to childhood and simpler times.
Efteling, the fairy-tale theme park in the south of Holland has a unique storybook atmosphere, natural surroundings, and a wide range of attractions inspired by stories written by famous writers including Hans Christian Andersen, the brothers Grimm, and Charles Perrault.
Children and adults will love taking a virtual stroll through Efteling’s Fairytale Forest, where they can see all the traditional family-favourite stories including Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood. The most recent addition to the Fairytale Forest, ‘The Six Swans’, is based on the Brothers Grimm tale and is the first to feature a ‘mini’ ride. The scene features six boat-shaped swans suitable for the younger visitors to ride. The virtual walk through the Fairytale Forest can be experienced here.
A six-person Woodland House in Holiday Village Efteling Bosrijk for two nights starts from £620 for two adults and two children. The price includes unlimited access to Efteling. A return ferry journey from Dover – Dunkirk starts from £89 with DFDS. From Dunkirk, it is approximately a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Efteling.
WHY: There’s nothing like a breath of fresh air to clear the mind with a literary escape to the Lake District.
The Lake District is a place of incredible natural beauty and was inspiration for writers like Wordsworth, Ransome and Potter. The walks on this holiday take travellers to some of the region’s most charming villages nestled against a backdrop of majestic fells, staggering mountains and shimmering waters. On this self-guided tour, walkers follow quiet country lanes and lakeside paths, dotted with babbling brooks, thundering waterfalls and shady forest. Guests stay in a four-star country house hotel in Grasmere, a charming 17th-century inn serving fine local ales in Hawkshead, and a waterside gem in Coniston – once frequented by Ruskin and Darwin – with a restaurant offering superb views of Coniston Old Man.
Headwater has a six-night Literary Walking in the Lake District self-guided holiday priced from £859 per person including B&B accommodation, luggage transfers between hotels and route directions and maps.
THE LOST WORLD
WHY: Explore a different part of the world in The Lost World.
Even today the little-known South American country of Guyana remains uncharted territory for man, boasting around 85% forest cover from one of only four primary rainforests in the world. Perhaps it comes as no surprise then that this mysterious land of dense jungle and hidden corners was the inspiration behind Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. Ancient tepuis (table-top mountains) erupt from the jungle canopy while the thick forest itself hides even the world’s largest single-drop waterfall; Kaieteur Falls. Though Guyana is home to giants such as jaguar, giant river otters, anaconda, giant anteaters and the harpy eagle, visitors will be hoping that the prehistoric giants from Conan Doyle’s novel remain purely fiction.
Wildlife Worldwide’s ‘Guyana: A Pristine Wilderness’ tour takes travellers to explore the depths of this lost world. The 15-day tour is priced from £5,895 per person, including international flights, internal transport, accommodation and most meals. www.wildlifeworldwide.com / www.guyanatourism.com
PROBLEM AT POLLENSA BAY
WHY: Readers can enjoy a little bit of sunshine on a rainy day in lockdown.
Literary lovers can be transported to the sunny island of Mallorca by Agatha Christie’s collection of short stories, Problem at Pollensa Bay, published in 1935.
Christie first visited Mallorca in 1932 and holidayed there many times. She particularly loved the charming resort town of Port de Pollença, situated on the island’s northern coast. Problem at Pollensa Bay sees her popular detective character, Parker Pyne, become embroiled in a problem while on holiday in Mallorca. Christie wrote the book while staying at the beachfront Hotel Illa d’Or. Rumour has it that the writer came to the hotel reportedly under the same circumstances as the character in her story; she had arrived in Palma and after failing to find a hotel room, she then travelled towards Formentor and passed Pollença Bay where she spotted the hotel and decided to stay there.
Besides its literary ties, Port de Pollença has also been known for its picturesque beaches and for being the ornithological centre of Mallorca. With the easily accessible Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, the town is a go-to destination for families, sun lovers and adventure seekers alike.
For further information on Mallorca as a tourism destination visit www.illesbalears.travel/en/mallorca
THE GUERNSEY LITERARY & POTATO PIE SOCIETY
WHY: Take a step back in time to the occupation of Guernsey and the trials and tribulations of living under the German rule.
Set in 1946, The Guernsey Literary & Potato Pie Society is an extraordinary story of how an author named Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a total stranger living half away across the Channel, who has found her name written in a second-hand book. Through a series of letters, the Guernsey Literary & Potato Pie Society tells Juliet about life on the island, their love of books and the long shadow cast by their time living under German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for the island, changing her life forever.
The Islands of Guernsey are known for its stunning beaches and coastal walks. Guests can stay in the capital of St. Peter Port at Old Government House which is steeped in history from £139 per night. www.theoghhotel.com
For more information, visit www.visitguernsey.com