Category: Holiday Ideas

We all love a good book on holiday, especially if set in your holiday location

Reading a book in a hammock

Over the years, the UK’s stunning landscape has inspired many writers who have brought the UK’s glorious landscape alive for so many literary lovers.

For anyone planning a visit to one of the many UK holiday destinations on offer, why not pick up a novel set in your chosen location and enjoy reading about the area whilst exploring and relaxing there? There are many books – both fiction and non-fiction –  that will help give a taste of what the destination is like and paint a vivid picture of the scenery and the way of life, be it historic or current day as well as a feel for the people and characters that dwell there. If you are struggling for ideas, TripFiction has plenty of suggestions and allows you to search by location.  Alternatively, take a look at some of our favourites.

  1. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier (Cornwall) – Using Bodmin Moor in Cornwall as its backdrop, Jamaica Inn is a haunting tale and features Mary Yellan as the lead character. Mary Yellan is travelling through the cold, wind and rain of winter by stagecoach in order to get to the Jamaica Inn in Bodmin, where she is to live with her aunt; the Inn is known for its sinister goings on and is run by an evil landlord. Set in Victorian times, Jamaica Inn is a story of heroism, love and deception with Bodmin Moor providing the brooding setting.
  2. Walking Home by Simon Armitage (North Pennines) – Walking Home tells the true life story of Simon Armitage. Back in 2010, Armitage walked the entire 256-mile journey of the Pennine Way, stretching from Edale to Kirk Yetholm. However, Armitage decided to make his journey different and began it from the south, so as he walked, he would be heading home to the North PenninesWalking Home describes Armitage’s arduous journey from start to finish and paints in detail the glorious route through the Pennine Way. The book details the landscape of the Pennine Way in immense detail and explores the physical and mental challenges of making such a journey.
  3. The Forest by Edward Rutherfurd (New Forest) – Set in the New Forest, Edward Rutherfurd’s novel weaves a powerful tale.  The novel takes the reader from the 15th century through to the year 2000. The book has a large cast of engaging characters and Rutherfurd has written an historical novel like no other writer before. What will be of interest to locals and visitors alike, is the vivid description and historical facts relating to the New Forest that can be found throughout the book.
  4. Time Out of Mind by Shirley Wright (St Ives in Cornwall) – Time out of Mind tells the story of Rosie Little. Rosie leaves London for St Ives in Cornwall to try and rebuild her life, which has been shattered by recent events. While in Cornwall, Rosie stays at a cottage called “Penmaris” and soon finds herself embroiled into the mysterious disappearance of the cottage’s previous owner. The book makes the most of the beautiful Cornish landscape with its magic and mystery shared in detail. Intriguing and atmospheric, this book is a must for anyone visiting Cornwall.
  5. The Quiche of Death by Agatha Raisin (Cotswolds) –  The first of the Agatha Raisin books uses the quintessentially English landscapes and the rolling hills of the Cotswolds as its setting. In this book, Agatha Raisin has decided life is too short for working in public relations and takes early retirement in the Cotswolds.  In order to get settled into her new life, Raisin enters a local quiche making competition only to find herself being accused of poisoning the judge of the competition. Agatha Raisin must put her detective skills to the test and find out who the real killer is. The book brings the delightful surroundings of the Cotswolds to life for the reader, and is well worth indulging in for the descriptions of the Cotswolds and its colourful characters alone.
  6. A Good Liar by Ruth Sutton (Cumbria) – A Good Liar is the first part in a trilogy of historical novels by Ruth Sutton. The book is based around the highly independent character of Jessie Whelan who finds herself weaving a web of lies to hide the truth and protect her privacy and survival. The book takes the reader through the personal challenges Jessie must face and the lonely existence she leads. Set in 20th century Cumbria, this well written novel paints a vivid picture of village life in Cumbria and is sure to leave you wanting to read the second part in the Cumbrian trilogy, Forgiven.
  7. A303 Highway to the Sun by Tom Fort (South West) – A303 Highway to the Sun is an exploration of one of the UK’s most famous holiday routes to the South West for thousands of holiday makers each year. Anyone travelling along the A303 will find the journey a much more interesting one, once they uncover some of the facts and history. Taking in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset along the way, the book provides a strong feeling of nostalgia mixed with humour and makes a most enjoyable and informative read.
  8. England, England by Julian Barnes (Isle of Wight) – Julian Barnes’ novel made quite an impact and was nominated for the Man Booker Prize.  The novel is a satire on 20th century history and in it the lead character, entrepreneur Sir Jack Pittman, is disillusioned with England so decides to create his own theme park version of it on the Isle of Wight. The book is rich in detail and it takes the reader through the geography and history of England. This is a fascinating book and has been well crafted.
  9. Three things you need to know about Rockets: A real-Life Scottish Fairy Tale  by Jessica Fox (Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland) – Described as a “real-life Scottish Fairy Tale”, Jessica Fox is a 26-year-old film-maker who lives in Hollywood. One day Fox decides to change her life and on a whim travels to Scotland where a whole new life begins. The main theme of this book is about finding the courage to go out there and live your dreams. Detailing the impressive scenery surrounding Wigtown in Dumfries and Galloway, the book is an essential read for anyone planning to visit the area.
  10. A Cottage by the Sea by Carole Matthews (Pembrokeshire) – Set on the Pembrokeshire coast, this book is about love, laughter and ultimately tears. Three university friends, Grace, Ella and Flick and their partners, are taking a holiday in a cottage in South Wales. As the week progresses the friends normally close-nit relationship is thrown into a state of confusion. The idyllic setting and perfect mix of laughter and tension make this book a captivating summer read, that will take the reader on walks around the uniquely stunning Pembrokeshire coast and water-based adventures.
  11. All Creatures Great and Small: The classic memoirs of a Yorkshire Country Vet by James Herriot (Yorkshire) – Most literary lovers will be familiar with James Herriot. Although life in a small village in Yorkshire would seem ideal, there were many dramas and challenges for vet James Herriot, but what stands out most about this book is the humour and warmth. The book paints an idyllic picture of life in a Yorkshire village, but is also careful to point out some of the hardships, too.

Who doesn’t enjoy a good book on holiday and what better way to find out more about the area you are visiting than to read about it?

3 thoughts on “We all love a good book on holiday, especially if set in your holiday location

  1. Gordon Thomson

    Gosh – I could write at length about books about, set in, or written this area. From Walter Scott’s novels and poetry, through Major H E Morritt’s classic 1929 ‘Fishing Ways & Wiles’, “Lewis Carroll”, J B Priestley to more modern authors.
    Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks inhabits the Northern Dales; the recently published “Watching the Dark” is the 20th book in the series now (and the 21st is either published or about to be). Peter will be speaking at the Richmond ‘Walking & Book Festival’ in September.
    Susan Parry’s and Mari Hannah’s books are set in this area (I haven’t read either of these authors yet).
    Gervase Finn was a school inspector in the Dales and his books are highly entertaining. Anyone with kids will no doubt be familiar with some of his work. He will also be at the Richmond book festival in September.
    There is a new book out shortly by Neil Hanson – “The Inn at the Top” is about the Tan Hill Inn (Britain’s highest pub – which is just over the hill from us). You may have heard tales of people being trapped there for 10 days over Christmas. Again, Neil will be speaking in Richmond (I have no connection with the book festival!)
    Another author who will be conducting practical sessions on the historical aspects of the area is Jane Hatcher who has written a number of volumes on the history of the area and its architecture.
    Of course, there are other perhaps even better known authors of relevance to this area; James Herriot, for example. Hannah Hauxwell still lives in a local village.
    A little further East, Nicholas Rhea (who still writes in our local paper) set his ‘Heartbeat’ books and also his ‘Constable’ books about his time as a young policeman.
    This is a taste of the literature of this area from my limited knowledge of the subject.

  2. Sarah

    Very sad to say, I have just finished A Cottage by the Sea by Carole Matthews (see above) and would highly recommend it, to anyone who enjoys a light hearted romantic read. One of the best books I have read for a long time and it really is what it says on the cover ‘A wonderful story of friendship, intrigue and Romance’ – it certainly did not disappoint! Totally captivating and took me right back to the Pembrokeshire Coastline – I think next time I visit Pembrokeshire, I shall give the coasteering a try!

    Off to the Cotswolds this weekend so it is probably fitting to take A Cotswolds Ordeal by Rebecca Tope.

  3. Lizzie Ball

    An Eligible Batchelor by Veronica Henry is a romantic warm hearted read set in the Cotswolds. A romantic tale with a happy ending – A great ‘feel good’ book for us girls on holiday.


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