Books set in the UK that have a special place in my heart

 

orangutan list

Hello all! So, after my little trip, I’ve been feeling a little Wanderlust… but since I can’t go far at the moment, I thought it might be fun to take a (digital) bookish trip round the UK, stopping off in places that are special to me. I was completely inspired by Book Nook’s brilliant interpretation of Top 5 Tuesday, so I highly recommend you check that out!

Confessions of a Justified Sinner– this is not only one of my favourite gothic books, it’s also strongly evocative of Scotland. To me, this captures the creepy atmosphere better than any other book. One of my favourite parts is a particularly chilling scene set up on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh- in fact, I remember reading it when the mist came down over the city and only seeing the peak just rising above it and thinking “this is a little too real”. Soooo moral of the story is beware the devils in Scotland 😉

Peter Rabbit– like Book Nook, I had to pick this one. Beatrix Potter reminds me of the Lake District, possibly the most beautiful part of England. I went there as a child and I have fond memories of the magic of the place, especially as it felt like stepping into Potter’s world 😀 Also, Beatrix Potter understands that the way to a reader’s heart is through their stomachs 😉

The Hobbit– this may seem an odd choice for people (including me) who grew up with New Zealand as Middle Earth- BUT since Tolkien actually based his descriptions on the English countryside, I felt it was very apt for this list. Particularly as I distinctly remember the first time I read the Hobbit, then going for a walk in some woods near where I lived and (bearing in mind I was a child at the time) running delightedly yelling “wow this is Mirkwood!!”

A Darker Shade of Magic– cos I’m a Londoner and all of these Londons are perfection. Yeah, it’s not by a British author, but that doesn’t matter. No one could have captured the city more authentically! (well, aside from the magic 😉)

Peter Pan– I mean, I’ve got to include this, it’s one of my favourite books. Plus, he’s rather a famous resident in Kensington Gardens.

La Belle Sauvage– keeping to the realms of fantasy, I could hardly ignore Lyra’s Oxford. Northern Lights was hugely influential on me as a child and I can tell you Oxford definitely reminds me of Pullman’s novels!! (or, technically speaking, his books remind me of Oxford- but shh I won’t tell if you don’t 😉)

Return of the Native– really, I could’ve chosen any of Hardy’s books to represent his Wessex, but this one felt fitting for its heightened romanticism. If you do fancy going in search of Hardy’s Wessex, then you won’t actually have to look so hard- head down to Dorset and you’ll find many of the spots in his novels (and his life). I was lucky enough to do a tour once with school and highly recommend it!

Frenchman’s Creek– Du Maurier has always been the queen of making her landscapes feel like another character in her books. And I could easily have chosen the moors in Jamaica Inn or the memorably dreamlike Manderley in Rebecca, but none are so special to me as the rugged Cornish coastline depicted in her Frenchman’s Creek. I can easily picture the smugglers and spirit of Cornwall from all the descriptions she snatches in this book. I adore it.

And finally…

carry on

Carry On– I have no idea if Rainbow Rowell has ever been to Watford, but it is the most hilarious thing that she chose it as the place to set her HP parody. Intentional or not, it’s bloody hilarious.

So, have you read any of these? And what are your favourite books about your home country? Let me know in the comments! 

55 thoughts on “Books set in the UK that have a special place in my heart

  1. Nice list. I’ve read a couple and completely agree with you. I seem to love Oxford in books period but especially through Lyra’s eyes. That’s definitely top three on my list of places to visit in the UK!

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  2. I’m kind of shocked there’s no Harry Potter on the list although it does tend to dot around the UK. Also I’m claiming Schwab as Scottish now that she’s kinda living in Edinburgh.

    I love my Scottish crime fiction but ummm they probably don’t really paint the various places in the best light, what with all the murders.

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    1. Yeah I did consider putting it on (especially for Scotland) but there were just other bookish associations with places that I had which were stronger if that makes sense (also I’ve read/reread it in so many places I couldn’t fix it to one spot). ahh that’s fair!

      ooh yes, I definitely considered putting some of that on there as well- there’s some really good ones! hahaha!

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  3. I remember the first time I read the Hobbit I recognised Gollum as something briefly glimpsed from my nightmares. Smeagol in the trilogy never had the same nightmarish quality (probably true of everyone we get to know better).

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  4. I’ve only read two books on your list. Peter Pan and the tale of Peter rabbit and I read those as a child 😅. There are lots of books set in my country that I love but it’s 12 am and my mind is failing me and I can’t remember them all. I love purple hibiscus by Chimamanda, Chike and the river by Chinua Achebe and so many others I can’t think of now.

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  5. I love this post! I’ve read most of these books and some of these UK spots have a special place in my heart. I lived in the UK for 1.5 years on a working visa and lived in London and Oxford. Love Oxford. I also thought that the Lake District was the most beautiful place I visited. It was so stunning. I wish I had of made it to Cornwall because Daphne is one of my favourite authors (but I hadn’t read any of her books back then). I also loved Bath for it’s connections to Jane Austen and Winchester (where Jane is buried).

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    1. Thank you so much!! Oh that’s so cool!! And I’m glad you agree about the lake district 🙂 And hope one day you get to go to Cornwall as well- it’s so lovely! Ahh I’ve been meaning to go to Bath and Winchester!

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  6. Oh SQUEE! I’m so glad that I inspired you! What a lovely post and what lovely places you’ve chosen. Obviously I agree with you on the Lake District, such a beautiful part of the country and I forget how lucky we are to have it at times.

    I now have been bitten by the Wanderlust bug and I really want to go exploring! I’m heading to Cornwall this September and can’t wait as I’ve never been before. I’ll have to read some du Marier either before I go or when I’m there!

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  7. While I’ve read The Hobbit and Peter Pan, I haven’t been to the UK so I can’t compare them to the settings which inspired them.

    Since I’m American, there are lots of books set in my home country, but my favorites are the ones set in San Francisco. (I’m not actually from there, but I live close enough to have it count.) Seanan McGuire’s October Daye books are set there and describe what Bay Area life is like perfectly (plus faeries). There are many others, but those are the ones I’m reading right now, so those are what come to mind first. 😉

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  8. I’ve finally read La Belle Sauvage!!! And it was aaaawesome! 😄
    Hehe! I had to smile that you’ve went into the woods after reading the Hobbit and thought what you did. 😉 I kind of did the same thing as a kid after reading Heidi, only that we were in Spain at the time and no one told me that it didn’t make much sense to look out for her in the Andalusian mountainside. 😂

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      1. You should have seen my determined face while I was climbing that mountain – and also the disappointment when I found out about her not being in Spain! 😂

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