10 popular novels & their real life destinations

Are you the type of person who always takes a good book on holiday? These 10 bookish destinations might call to you in more ways than one – and they’re straight out of these popular novels.

1) Sussex Square Mansion, Brighton

From: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

How many of us fell in love with the story of Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole? Unbeknownst to many, this gorgeous mansion in Sussex Square includes the ivy-covered tunnel that inspired the famous rabbit hole. Not too far away, another mansion in Cheltenham (which Carroll often visited) also contains the huge, decorative mirror that led to Through the Looking Glass.

2) Central Park Pond, New York

From: The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

If you wander through the south end of Central Park, you’ll eventually come to the duck pond or duck lagoon – the very same one where Holden Caulfield stands and remarks, “You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over?”

The carousel at the Central Park Zoo is also worth a ride, as this is where Holden eventually takes Phoebe and discovers a sliver of happiness.

3) Södermalm, Stockholm

From: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist are now household names thanks to Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. The central district of Södermalm in Stockholm is where you’ll find many of the cafes and establishments mentioned in the books, such as Kaffebar (where Mikael gets his coffee) and Kvarnen (where Lisbeth watches the Evil Fingers).

4)  The Moors, Yorkshire

Emily Brontë’s one and only novel didn’t receive great reviews when it was first published in 1847 under the name Ellis Bell. Today, however, the story is an acclaimed gothic staple. The Moors where Heathcliff and Catherine run about is now thought to be akin to the North York Moors National Park on the UK’s east coast.

5) Ueno Park Zoo, Tokyo

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is one of Murakami’s most captivating novels and much of it is set in Tokyo, Japan. The Ueno Zoo is the oldest in Tokyo, and it is where Toru Okada and Kumiko go on their first date, so that Kumiko can gaze at the jellyfish. During the Edo Period, the Ueno Park, where the zoo is located, was actually part of the Kaneiji Temple.

6) The Heathman Hotel, Portland

If you’re keen to spice up your next holiday in a romantically curious way, head to the vibrant city of Portland and get a room at The Heathman. This hotel is where Christian and Anastasia first get together for their bedroom antics in the now highly popular novel. You can even book a Fifty Shades of Oregon VIP Adventure!

7) Plaça Reial, Barcelona

Zafón’s best-selling book brought the beautiful 1940s Barcelona to our readers’ fingertips. In the book, the Plaça Reial (or Plaza Real) is where Daniel first spots Clara and also encounters Fermín. You’ll find this popular plaza next to La Rambla down Carrer de Colom.

8) Wulfhall, Wiltshire

Yes, we know this one is a historical novel so it’s no big secret that many of the destinations featured in the Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall are real. But reading it, it’s easy to forget that you can actually go and visit this vibrant history.

The actual Wulfhall is located in Burbage, Wiltshire, and the previous house there was the seat of the Seymour family, which included Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII. Henry himself stayed there during 1535.

9) Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

This famed literary classic was first published in 1831 (31 years before Les Misérables) to much acclaim and as the title suggests, it is focused around the famous Notre Dame Cathedral.

Even if you’re only familiar with the cutesy Disney version of Quasimodo’s story, a visit to Notre Dame is a must for those visiting Paris. A tour up into the towers is also recommended if you want to see the same views that Quasimodo saw.

10) Harvard Club, New York

Controversy, criticism and cult followings surrounded Bret Easton Ellis’s novel when it first came out in 1991. While Dorsia is fictional, many of the other restaurants and establishments in the book where Bateman and his pals hang out were real, though many have now closed down or changed names.

Luckily, the Harvard Club on West 44th Street still exists. This is where Bateman claims he occasionally “boxes with Ricky” and where he says he is dining alone in an attempt to get away from Evelyn.

Photo credits: Stephen Nunney, atp tyreseus / Jere Keys, Bryan Schorn, martinb, Thomas Tolkien, dgmckelvey, evafung, soaress, Kevin Farmer, Zuffe, Jim.henderson

Places: USA, Japan, France, Spain