5 books you should read to inspire your wanderlust

Let these wanderlust-worthy books inspire your next travel destination!

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Location: Scottish Highlands, Scotland, UK

When Claire Randall and her husband take a second honeymoon to Scotland in 1945, Claire is accidentally whisked through a circle of standing stones- inspired by the Highlands’ Clava Cairns, which you can actually visit – back to 1743. She arrives in a Scotland filled with clan rivalries, escalating whispers of a rebellion, and one very attractive Scottish warrior, all against the Highlands’ gorgeous and lush backdrop. The story is firmly grounded in history both true and embellished. It paints a stunning picture of many real locations, such as Inverness, Edinburgh, Loch Ness, Culloden Moor and the many glens and mountains of the wild Highlands.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Location: New Zealand

What’s the closest thing you’ll find to Middle Earth? New Zealand! Here you can celebrate your love of The Hobbit with a visit to the Shire. The Hobbiton Movie Set is a location featured in both The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit film series. Amidst acres of sheep farms and magnificent mountain ranges, the charming site of “Bag End” marks the beginning of Frodo and Bilbo’s adventures. Once you book a tour, you’ll be able to explore hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the mill, and even the Party Tree. Just stay far, far away from Mordor.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Locations: Hampshire, England and Derbyshire, England, UK

These destinations are perfect for Jane Austen fans who want to learn more about what the author’s life was like in 19th century England. In Hampshire, you can visit Jane Austen’s House Museum, the place where she wrote during the last eight years of her life. You’ll even see the little wooden writing desk where she finished writing Pride and Prejudice. In this region of England you’ll learn about Austen’s distinguished social life and be able to experience the bucolic countryside that inspired the characters and settings of many of her works. Other historically significant sites include Winchester Cathedral, Mottisfont Abbey, and Osborne House.

Take a trip to Derbyshire and you’ll be able to tour the Chatsworth House, the stately home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire that has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. Mr. Darcy’s Pemberley estate is said to have been modeled after this home; it was even a filming location in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film starring Keira Knightley and Colin Firth. Visitors can explore the lavishly decorated rooms–there’s over thirty of them–as well as stroll through the 150-acres of gardens. While there is much to see and do in both Hampshire and Derbyshire, remember to take a break for some afternoon tea!

Inferno by Dan Brown

Location: Florence, Italy

Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor of symbology, wakes up in a hospital with no recollection of how he got there—but he quickly realizes that a threatening adversary is trying to kill him. Part mystery and part thriller, Inferno chronicles Robert Langdon’s harrowing journey through the streets of Florence as he attempts to use Botticelli’s “map of Inferno” to unravel the mysteries of Italy’s past. Get ready to explore Porta Romana, the Boboli Gardens, and Palazzo Vecchio. It’s impossible not to marvel at the masterful art and architecture of this city through a famous novel.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Locations: London, England, and Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

We all know the story of Harry, the Boy Who Lived, who learns he is a wizard and begins his journey of magic in London, UK. London is a mecca for Harry Potter lovers, where you can visit King’s Cross, from which Harry leaves on the Hogwarts Express, bedeck yourself in Harry Potter gear at the Platform 9 ¾ store, visit the movie sets at the Warner Bros. Studio, and see the latest installment of the series in The Cursed Child play.

Edinburgh, Scotland, is a hidden gem for Harry Potter, especially because Hogwarts is supposed to be located somewhere in Scotland. In Edinburgh, you can sit in the same cafe where Rowling wrote The Sorcerer’s Stone (The Elephant House), walk down a street labeled “Diagon Alley,” and even search for the supposed tombs of a “Thomas Riddell” and “William McGonagall” in an old graveyard.

The best part about these places is you can take a train from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh, symbolic of the journey Harry makes to Hogwarts — you just need to find the right platform.

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