09 March 2014

#SundayTraveler: Living Books in London

Last week we made a trip to London during the Voorjaarvakantie (Spring Vacation). It's something we wanted to do for a while, and though we made a point to do all sorts of things, I particularly enjoyed making some "literary" stops around the city. With so many options around the city it was hard to narrow down the list, but eventually I found three options that worked well with our itinerary.

First up was a trip to Paddington Station to visit our favorite Paddington Bear.



I first came to really appreciate Paddington Bear in 1995. During a trip to London to visit friends, my mother and I went to the station and visited a little Paddington Bear kiosk of goodies and took some photos with a stuffed Paddington Bear by a station sign. A few months after that trip, my brother was born and his nursery decorated with Paddington Bears and filled with several Paddington books, which were all passed down to Little Man. We still read many of the books and it seemed like a great idea to visit Paddington Station, where Paddington Bear's story and my connection with him began. Now a lovely statue commemorates Michael Bond's adorable bear and a much bigger, permanent shop stands full with even more Paddington goodies.

Little Man with Paddington Bear and Paddington Bear


We added a new book from the shop to our library and recreated a photo with the Little Man. It was a great opportunity to share an experience like this with the Little Man, and it was something he also enjoyed doing after reading all of his Paddington stories.

Ace in 1995. Little Man in 2014. Same Paddington Station, same Paddington Bear.


The next evening we stopped for dinner at the Sherlock Holmes Pub, off Trafalgar Square. I found it in some of my initial searches of things to do in London, but didn't take the idea too seriously until I realized that we would be in Trafalgar Square around supper time. The pub is nowhere near 221B Baker Street, but it is fully dedicated to Sir Arther Conan Doyle's shrewd detective. The walls of the bar on the ground floor are decorated with various Sherlock Holmes memorabilia, and you can even order a pint of Sherlock Ale or Watson's Wallop; but the "museum room" in the upstairs dining room shows the sitting room at 221B Baker Street as Doyle describes it (and according to the pub's website, Doyle's family had a hand in helping the pub establish itself in the 1950s).

The Sherlock Holmes Pub

Replica of the sitting room at 221B Baker Street.



And in case you're wondering, the food is solid pub food, the staff was quite kind, and children are welcome. It may not be quite like Baker Street, but it was a fun atmosphere and it was nice to be surrounded by a clear appreciation of the stories.

Our final literary stop was entirely for my benefit only. I have read the Harry Potter series many times, and I just HAD to visit King's Cross Station. Since so many people have visited the station after viewing the Harry Potter movies, a special photo-op has been installed for fans. A luggage cart (halfway in the wall) lets you pretend to rush through the magic entry way onto Platform 9 3/4, and friendly staff will loan you a Hogwarts House scarf of your choice (though in full commitment to the bit, I brought along my personal Gryffindor scarf) and take your picture (available for purchase in the Harry Potter shop).

I brought my own scarf. That's full commitment.


We also made a stop by the arches between Platforms 4 and 5, where I had read that the filming of the movies actually took place - because if I'm committed enough to bring my own House Scarf, I'm committed enough to go to the actual filming spot.

Between Platforms 4 and 5 - where the movies were filmed

Not exactly like the movie... but close...


These are just 3 of the many places you can visit in London if you have any fondness for British literature. I love incorporating things we have read into our trips because it feels like there is already a strong tie to the city, especially for Little Man. I recommend checking out any sites that may be tied to what you've read (or watched) to give the trip another special moment. It's a great way to jump start your own imagination and excite your kids about the trip!

Have you ever gotten to "live" a book you've read on a trip? Or do you have a dream location to visit because of a book or movie?

Today's post is linked with the #SundayTraveler series hosted by Chasing the Donkey and friends. Please be sure to check out all the other wonderful blogs that have linked up!



35 comments:

  1. There are so many places I want to visit thanks to books! Your trip to London looks brilliant - the pics are lovely, even if they did make me a little homesick! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a nice literary trip around London! My wife and I stayed in the Karen neighborhood of Nairobi last fall, which is where Karen von Blixen of Out of Africa had her coffee farm. It's so much fun to connect with places you have experienced through books or film.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Loved reading this - books are so good for making you want to travel, and London's great for literary landmarks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. How wonderful to be able to recreate a picture from your childhood!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I never got into the Harry Potter craze - but that looks like so much fun. And me oh my, how awesome you still have your Paddington Bear - i loved mine as a kid. A little too much, that he is in Teddy Heaven...
    Ace, thanks so much for linking up again with #SundayTraveler. I've also pinned these photos to the #ST board.

    ReplyDelete
  6. South Carolina and the lowcountry has its share of credit for novels and movies, including Forrest Gump, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Gone with the Wind and more recently The Notebook. As Dave said, it is always fun connecting with the places of books and movies in real life.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm from the UK - and you've taught me to view London with different eyes! Thank you so much for this, on the Sunday Traveler.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This seems like such a great fun way to explore London. #SundayTraveler

    ReplyDelete
  9. That is so adorable that you brought your own Harry Potter scarf! Paddington Bear is so cute - I used to love him as a kid! Found your blog from #SundayTraveler and looking forward to reading your future posts!

    ReplyDelete
  10. The Dessert Engineer09 March, 2014 22:51

    This is definitely a great way to have the entire family enjoy a trip to the city. I really like trips that are engaging. I actually would like to visit a few locations in North Carolina where the Hunger Games was shot, esp. since NC is only a couple of hours drive from home.

    ReplyDelete
  11. frankaboutcroatia10 March, 2014 12:18

    Such a great idea to explore the London from the British literature! Love the time photo with you and the little man holding the same Paddington bear at the same Paddington station. The time passes to fast!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks, and It's true! It's hard to narrow down where to go since there are so many options. =)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I completely agree it gives a special feeling to the trip that you don't necessarily get otherwise. Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks! It was hard to narrow the choices down, but I'm happy with what we saw.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks! I was really excited he was into doing it. It helps that we already had the picture of me at home to give him a visual, too. =)

    ReplyDelete
  16. The Harry Potter craze is totally worth it - but I'm also a huge nerd...
    Paddington is such a sweet bear and has such a sweet story. I can imagine how well loved he would have been. =)
    As always, thanks for hosting and promoting!

    ReplyDelete
  17. It really is - and some places are just poised to have so many connections. =)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks so much, and thanks for stopping by! London's a great town - I'm happy to go back. =)

    ReplyDelete
  19. It really is! With kids it's nice to give them something to look for ahead of time, too. It makes the trip more memorable for them that way. Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ha - I'm a fully committed nerd! =)
    Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  21. It definitely makes everything more interesting when you have the stories to connect you. I think it's worth making those other trips! Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks, Frank! I'm so glad to have shared that with Little Man - I'm know my parents are glad we snapped the photos =)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love themed trips - yours sounds lovely! I adored Paddington as a kid and even have a Paddington coat as my winter coat today - though the Dutch have no idea what that means :P

    ReplyDelete
  24. Ashley Hubbard10 March, 2014 20:19

    Love this! I've been to Platform 9 3/4 as well and have the same photo! I also love Paddington Station for some reason--it's one of my favorites :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. This sounds like quite the London adventure. I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, so I would love to visit Platform 9 3/4 some day. I think one of my happiest travel moments was when I was able to explore Prince Edward Island and the various settings for one of my all time favorite series - Anne of Green Gables.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I like how your Gryffindor scarf is flying out behind you in that photo. I would want to visit Platform 9 3/4, also. Is there much of a queue for photos? My husband is busy reading Sherlock Holmes now (in public domain on the Kindle), so we might be up for a visit to that pub, especially since it sounds like the food is fine. As for our own literature inspired travels, I enjoyed reading Thea Stilton and the Cherry Blossom Adventure to my kids so much that I booked a trip to Japan right after we finished the story.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks, Caitlyn! I love that you have a coat like his =)

    ReplyDelete
  28. It the little things like this that you may actually remember the most vividly later on. Each were relatively short stops, but they were fun!

    ReplyDelete
  29. We went to PEI for our honeymoon and did a lot of the Anne of Green Gables things, too! I love trips like that =)

    ReplyDelete
  30. They have a staff member hold it so it looks like you're running, haha. The line wasn't too bad while we were there - maybe 20 minutes, but they keep it moving pretty well. They also do more than one photo if it doesn't seem like it came out well, which is nice, too. And your husband is reading Sherlock Holmes now, he may want to watch the BBC show Sherlock - it's interesting to see how they use the original stories in a current setting. I haven't heard of the Thea Stilton book, but I think I'll look into it =)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Ha! That is the one downside to the whole thing. That's why I dislike being a muggle.

    ReplyDelete
  32. As a major book lover, this is awesome! I had no idea Sherlock had a pub! I'll have to go next time I'm in London. I didn't get a chance to go to 221B Baker St either which I was really looking forward to. I adored visiting Kings Cross Station though and I wish I could have seen more of the Harry Potter locations. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler.

    ReplyDelete
  33. This is a great post! I love Paddington. The pics are all lovely.
    Fijn weekend,
    Esther.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks! We love Paddington here, so it was nice to do. =)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Coffee is one of the most popular drink in the world for its great aroma,smooth taste,healthy benefits etc. Oceana coffee club provides worlds best quality coffee.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...