Celebrate World Book Day 2013 with a literary-themed holiday
- Faroe Islands
The 7th of March 2013 is going to be World Book Day, a celebration of reading that those in school or with kids are surely aware of due to the strenuous promotion carried out by the charity organising it (www.worldbookday.com). Why not use it as an excuse to take a break and celebrate the joy of reading with something different, such as a literary-themed short holiday? Here's a selection of affordable destinations featuring an intriguing history and a fascinating scenery. The perfect environment if you wish to take a break from your everyday routine and immerse yourself in the magical world of written words.
Penthouse perfection To the Lighthouse and beyond – St Ives from £195 pp at The Tide House.
Inspiration for To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, Godrevy lighthouse is an iconic landmark on the west Cornwall coastline. Woolf spent her childhood holidays in St Ives and the scenery’s changed little since. Enjoy wonderful views of this spectacular bay from the aptly-named Godrevy penthouse at the recently-opened Tide House hotel, a luxury bolthole close to St Ives’ harbour, shops, galleries and restaurants. A two-night stay in the Godrevy room costs from £195 pp (two sharing) including a delicious home-cooked breakfast. Call The Tide House on 01736 791 803 (www.thetidehouse.co.uk).
Scandi-crime fiction in Fjällbacka, West Sweden – from £1,046 pp with Sunvil Discovery
The top-selling Swedish writer Camilla Läckberg sets her crime fiction tales in Fjällbacka – a dreamy fishing village on Sweden’s west coast (90 minutes north of Gothenburg). Her latest novel, The Lost Boy, will be released in the UK on 14 March, and fans can follow in the footsteps of the characters as part of an ‘Archipelago and Culinary Tour’ of Fjällbacka and Gothenburg. The trip costs from £1,046 pp (two sharing) and includes seven nights’ B&B, car hire and flights (Heathrow). Call AITO member Sunvil Discovery on 020 8758 4722 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
Pooh Bear’s Hundred Acre Wood – two-for-one stay in East Sussex from £115 pp with Pride of Britain Hotels
Surrounded by the Ashdown Forest – of A.A.Milne fame – Ashdown Park Hotel in East Sussex is the perfect spot for a Winnie the Pooh stay. In the forest, cross Roo’s Bridge and pass Eeyore’s Gloomy Place, then enjoy a Pooh-themed tea with Hunny sandwiches, Kanga cup cakes, Tigger’s sponge and Rabbit’s carrot sticks. Until 28 March, there’s a two-for-one room offer, meaning that a night’s B&B costs from £115 pp (two sharing) – with the second room for free – providing all guests have dinner in the Anderida Restaurant. Pooh-Bear tea costs £5.95 per child. Call Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).
Arles stay where Hemingway stayed – Provence from £768 pp with Kirker Holidays
Popular with the glitterati of the 1950s and 1960s, the Grand Hotel Nord-Pinus in Arles has boasted an impressive list of famous literary guests over the years, including Ernest Hemingway and Jean Cocteau. The city itself is well worth writing home about, too; with pretty streets and squares that inspired many a masterpiece by Van Gogh and Gaugin. Three nights are from £768 pp (two sharing) including flights (London), car hire, accommodation with breakfast and the services of the Kirker Concierge. Call AITO member Kirker Holidays on 020 7593 2283 (www.kirkerholidays.com).
Pride and Prejudice’s 200th year – Bath for £102 pp with Great Little Breaks
With 2013 marking 200 years since Jane Austen first published Pride and Prejudice – globally revered for its wit and social precision – it’s a meaningful time to make a visit to Bath, home to the Jane Austen Centre. Stay at the four-star Combe Grove Manor Hotel, three miles from the city, where a two-night stay is just £102 pp (two sharing) including a three-course dinner on your first night, full breakfast on both mornings, a £10 food voucher redeemable during your stay, and a £10 Great Little Breaks voucher. Call Great Little Breaks on 08448 488 488 (www.greatlittlebreaks.com).
Strindberg’s Stockholm – stay at Berns and visit The Red Room from £185 pp
Sweden’s most celebrated author, August Strindberg (1849-1912) is indelibly associated with Stockholm’s boutique Berns hotel, where he spent much of his youth. Then a gathering place for bohemians and free-thinkers, Berns’ Baroque-style Röda Rummet inspired his 1879 novel The Red Room. The room retains its unique character today. Strindberg adored Berns for its fine food, and – with its award-winning Asian fusion restaurant and delicious breakfast bakery – he’d love it just as much today. A two-night, room-only stay arriving 7 March costs from £185 pp (two sharing). Flights extra. Call Berns Hotel on +468 566 322 00 (www.berns.se/en/hotel).
Follow in the footsteps of Inspector Montalbano – Sicily from £770 pp with Sunvil Discovery
Created by Sicilian writer Andrea Camilleri, this much-loved fictional detective series of books has also been adapted for television. Fans won’t be disappointed with the chance to follow in the Inspector’s intrepid footsteps on an engaging itinerary designed to soak up the atmospheric towns and historic sites of Sicily’s scenic south-east. Seven nights cost from £770 pp (two sharing) including flights (Gatwick), B&B at the Agriturismo Il Granaio and car hire. Call AITO member Sunvil Discovery on 020 8758 4722 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
Charles Dickens’ Dartmoor retreat – a week’s stay from £88 pp with Classic Cottages
Pickwick Cottage (sleeps four) in Dartmoor, Devon is a true literary bolthole. The name derives from Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, which was written whilst he was staying there. The 17th century retreat has well-stocked bookshelves, a wood-burner, piano and fabulous bathroom complete with Japanese-style square bath. Set in the picturesque medieval village of South Zeal, Dartmoor National Park is right on its doorstep, too. A week’s stay costs from £88 pp (£351 total). Call Classic Cottages on 01326 555 555 (www.classic.co.uk).
Are you an author in the making? Tuscany from £1,236 pp with The Watermill at Posara
With World Book Day on the horizon, it seems only apt that The Watermill has a number of new creative writing courses for 2013. So, if you’re yearning to be the next Agatha Christie or Stieg Larsson, Meg Gardiner’s course should appeal. Author of 10 thrillers, Meg will advise how to get readers gripped, create villains and get published. Crime Writing (5-12 October) costs from £1,236 pp including transfers (Pisa), tuition, seven nights’ accommodation, pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals, local travel and a mid-week excursion. Flights extra. Call The Watermill at Posara on 020 7193 6246 (www.watermill.net/writing-holidays).
Meet the Alentejo’s true characters – Portugal from £961 pp with Sunvil Discovery
Instead of simply reading Monica Ali’s Alentejo Blue, why not experience the Portuguese region of the Alentejo first-hand? From cork growers to grape harvesters, meet the people who personify the authentic allure of the Alentejo. Stay at the Herdade da Malhadinha Nova, a working country estate that rears Alentejo black pigs and produces award-winning wine. Seven nights’ B&B cost from £961 pp (two sharing) including flights (Heathrow) and car hire. Sunvil can also arrange tailor-made excursions around the Alentejo. Call AITO member Sunvil Discovery on 020 8758 4722 (www.sunvil.co.uk).The “navel of the world” – Torshavn in the Faroe Islands from £69 pp pn William Heinesen frequently wrote about his homeland, using it as “a microcosmic setting for universal social, psychological, and cosmic themes.” Noatun (translated into English) is about the challenges a group of settlers encounters whilst establishing a new town in the Faroes, while The Kingdom of the Earth depicts fantastic lives – expressing antirealism – in the capital Torshavn, described by Heinesen as the “navel of the world”. See it for yourself – stay at the Hotel Foroyar from £69 pp pn (B&B). For further information, visit www.visitfaroeislands.com and www.atlantic.fo.