Children’s author Enid Blyton was enchanted by Dorset’s beautiful landscapes, and it’s not hard to see why. If you’re a fan of her rollicking adventure stories, why not explore the real locations that inspired the memorable backdrops to her books with a trip to Dorset? Weekend breaks are ideal for this kind of visit, as you can pack a surprising amount of sightseeing into just a few days and truly immerse yourself in these nostalgic surroundings.
The Isle of Purbeck
The landscape of the Isle of Purbeck, a peninsula in Dorset where Blyton regularly took her holidays, is undoubtedly the locale that sparked her exciting childhood yarns. People seeking a good location for Dorset weekend breaks often end up staying here, as there’s so much to see and do, and the idyllic countryside vistas are straight out of a Famous Five novel.
The Famous Five book that started it all, Five on a Treasure Island,sees the adventurous group making their first visit to Kirrin Castle, an ancient fortification set atop an island just off the shore. It would be their first of many trips to the ruined fortress, and it’s one of the most memorable locations from the series.
Though admittedly found on a peninsula rather than an island, Corfe Castle is widely believed to have been the inspiration here, as a romantic ruin overlooking the Dorset landscape. It’s not hard to see why this evocative sight inspired so many tales of mystery, and a visit is certain to get you dreaming of secret passages and hidden treasure, too.
It wouldn’t be a Famous Five adventure without a picturesque seaside backdrop, and Lulworth Cove is said to be the basis for Kirrin Bay, the beach overlooked by George’s family home of Kirrin Cottage. The clear waters of the incredible cove are a must-visit holiday destination for anyone coming to Dorset. Weekend breaks to the county just aren’t complete without spending at least a little time here.
Five Have a Mystery to Solve sees the children exploring the mysterious Whispering Island, with its old castle and eerie woods. Brownsea Island, the largest of the isles in Poole Harbour, undoubtedly inspired this enchanting locale, and a trip here is like stepping into another world. With gorgeous old buildings and an extensive nature reserve, this place feels a million miles away from the modern world.
Enid Blyton’s stories have always conjured up visions of a more innocent past, which is one that many of us would sorely love to visit. There’s few better ways to get a true taste of this type of nostalgia than a trip along a heritage railway on the same sort of steam locomotive that took the Famous Five off on their exciting holidays, and Swanage Railway is as close as you can get. Steam services run from Norden to Swanage, and serve as a magnificent way to take in the beautiful scenery of Dorset. Weekend breaks don’t get any more nostalgic than those that begin with a steam train ride.
It’s impossible not to find yourself enchanted by these amazing locations, just as Enid Blyton was, and who knows – maybe you’ll even have an adventure of your own!
Michael Paul is the Managing Director of Michael Paul Holidays, a holiday property agency offering a handpicked range of accommodation in wonderful UK locations. Whether you are looking for the best Dorset weekend breaks or the cosiest cottages and log cabins in Scotland, he and his team will find you that perfect property for an unforgettable trip.