10 Real World Locations That Inspired Classic Children's Stories

Culture June 22, 2017 By Vincent

We all have memories of our favorite children's stories or appreciate a classic book that we read in our childhood and hope to one day pass on to our children but with so many set in fantasy, adulthood sometimes dulls the magic of what we once felt from them.

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However, there are some that have the roots of their inspiration in real world locations that we can visit and bring back some of the magic and joy we once had from reading the stories. Here we look at a few of those places and the stories they inspired.

1. The Sword In The Stone - Wales

The adventures of King Arthur have been documented in various forms and tales throughout the years with the original story coming from myths and legend. No one is quite sure where it is set but Wales has long claimed to be the home of Camelot ever since legend builder Geoffrey Monmouth claimed so in the 12th century.

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If you hike to the summit of Mount Snowdon, legend says King Arthur killed a giant and buried him amongst the boulders here.

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2. Adventures With The Moomins - Finland

Although the original Moomin stories were written in Swedish, their creator, Tove Jannson, was originally from Finland and much of the landscape and wilds of which the Moomin adventures are set, pay great homage to the islands in the Gulf of Finland.

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Pellinki Islands near Porvoo, was where Jansson spent most of her summers and based Moomin valley around it. There is even a Moominland in Naantali if you want to visit a Moomin theme park.

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3. Treasure Island - The Carribean

Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island doesn't have a definitive setting but we know it is somewhere in the Caribbean and is greatly influential on much pop-culture including The Pirates of The Carribean film franchise.

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Many point to places like Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands and Isla del Coco off Costa Rica as those most likely to be the strongest contenders for the actual place that Stevenson set his classic tale of swashbuckling on the high seas.

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4. The Jungle Book - India

Rudyard Kipling's classic tale of a young boy lost in the jungles of India and growing up with the local wildlife has generated several Hollywood blockbusters. Whilst the Sundarbans generate much of the imagery where tigers run rampage and sneaky snakes whisper in your ear, it is RRajasthanwhere you might get the best taste for the novel.

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The twisting, knotted trees that make up Ranthambhore National Park hide all sorts of animals that you might imagine would accompany Mowgli on his journey into manhood, including sloth bears, leopards, and tigers. 

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5. Tintin in Tibet - Tibet

The stories of the Belgian detective have taken him all over the globe but one that rea;;y sticks in the mind is Tintin in Tibet, where he hikes the Himalayas coming face to face with Yetis and monks with the power of levitation.

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You may not spot any of these on your travels but you can trek in the mystical mountains and maybe create some adventures of your own.

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6. Rotten Romans - Italy

The Horrible Histories series of books (and now TV show) has a lot to do with inspiring children's interest in history but undoubtedly one of these breakout books was Rotten Romans that painted glorious images of centurions marching back and forth whilst gruesome acts were happening up and down their empire.

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Rome is, naturally, the place to get a real sense of all of this history as ancient ruins still stand tall and, being the capital of the fallen empire and now modern day Italy, there is plenty to see and do.

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7. Letters From A Lost Uncle - Canada

In the story of an eccentric uncle who sends letters about his journey through the Arctic, the novel stalks across places like Churchill and Hudson in Canada's great white north, in search of a mysterious white lion.

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You may not find white lions up here but it is bear country so do keep an eye out for those of the polar variety.

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8. The Ice is Coming - Australia

A fantastical tale that sees ice starting to settle on the hottest desert lands of Australia, the books spins aboriginal myth and story telling subject matter into a teen drama come travelogue novel of great suspense and wonder.

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Travel to the outback to experience some of this magical wonder yourself or explore the forests, mountains, and reefs of the country yourself.

9. Tarzan of The Apes - South Africa

Although Edgar Rice Burroughs' story of a boy raised by Apes doesn't specify where in Africa these events take place, a South African safari may just allow you to see many of the creatures mentioned in the novel that has had the Hollywood treatment countless times.

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The mighty beasts you spot may not be as friendly as Tarzan's entourage but you will be able to get pretty close from the safety of a vehicle.

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10. Artemis Fowl - Ireland

There are so many fairy stories, myths, legends and tales with a large proportion of them being set in the rolling green of the Emerald Isle but Artemis Fowl captured the attention of a generation by bringing these into a more modern era, combining magic and technology, and making them edgier.

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Manor houses of former Irish King, green for miles on end and stunning landscapes all add to the mysticism of the land.

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