Scotland’s Storybook Trail is a besteller in the making – From Peter Rabbit to Peter Pan, Harry Potter to The Howlat, Scotland has inspired some of the world’s best-loved literary creations.
Whether it’s history, landscapes, wildlife or even architecture, for decades authors have used some of the country’s greatest assets to create characters that continue to delight readers of all ages.
In recognition of this, VisitScotland has launched, Scotland’s Storybook Trail, a collection of places with links to some of the most celebrated characters in children’s literature.
The trail, which comprises of a colourful map to help bookworms embark on their own adventures across the country, learning more about their favourite stories and discovering new tales inspired by or written in Scotland.
Featured locations include the birthplace of Peter Pan creator, JM Barrie in Kirriemuir, Angus and the Isle of Coll, the inspiration of Katie Morag’s fictional home on the Isle of Struay.
Harry Potter – JK Rowling
Grab your wands and prepare for a magic adventure! Visit Tom Riddle’s grave at Greyfriars Kirkyard, meet some of Hedwig’s feathered friends at the Scottish Owl Centre or join a tour of the Capital to find out how Edinburgh’s buildings and people inspired JK Rowling’s smash-hit series about a boy wizard.
• Film fans – make sure to hop aboard the ‘Hogwarts Express’ across the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson’s swashbuckling adventure was written during a stay in Braemar. It’s thought Stevenson based some of the characters on people he met in the village. Treasure Island is also rumoured to have been inspired by Fidra Island in East Lothian which the writer used to watch from the area known now as Yellowcraig. Today, rather than pirates you are more likely to find puffins as the island is an RSPB Scotland reserve.
Peter Pan – JM Barrie
Make sure to pack your pixie dust as you head off on an awfully big adventure in search of Peter Pan. A statue of ‘The Boy Who Never Grew Up’ can be found at JM Barrie’s Birthplace in Kirriemuir, Angus but it was Moat Brae in Dumfries, where Barrie lived as a boy, that inspired Neverland.
Katie Morag – Mairi Hedderwick
The Isle of Coll in the Inner Hebrides was the real-life inspiration for Katie Morag’s home on the Isle of Struay. Take a picnic to the beach, explore the island’s only real village, Arinagour, and keep an eye out for the whitewashed cottages that look just like the illustrations in Mairi Hedderwick’s books.
Peter Rabbit and Friends – Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter created her most famous fluffy friend, Peter Rabbit, following childhood summer holidays in Dunkeld, watching and drawing wildlife. Birnam Arts is a great place to learn about the region that inspired her, you may also meet some of her other characters in the Beatrix Potter Exhibition Garden.
The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Take a stroll through the deep dark wood on Ardkinglas Estate in search of the Gruffalo. Look out for the Mouse who’ll help guide you along the trail which tells the story, translated into Scots, of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s famous, loveable beast.
Thumble Tumble – AH Proctor
The Isle of Arran is the extraordinary little home of this extraordinary little witch. Visit Brodick Castle and Lochranza Castle where Thumble Tumble’s first two magical adventures were set. Keep your eyes peeled for Night Witches, Sea Dragons and Flower Nymphs – you never know what magic you might encounter on this spectacular island.