One of the reasons I love to read fantasy has to do with the settings. There’s nothing more engrossing to me than a setting so escapist I can completely emerge myself in the book’s story. And yet– I really struggled to identify settings I’d actually love to *visit*.
So many of the settings I read seem innately violent, dangerous, or generally scary. Wonderland? Pass. District 13? HARD Pass. Then, the next collection of settings are all real places! Walden Pond, Paris, London… I’m currently reading Elenor Oliphant is Completely Fine which is set in Glasgow! Yes, please! I definitely want to visit all these places (or in the case of Walden Pond, I have already), but that seems like cheating for the purpose of this list.
What I came up with is a collection of fictional locations I always loved getting lost in. Nothing dangerous (if you’re a smart REGULAR human being). Nothing scary other than getting lost perhaps. Perfect for a vacation.
All titles below are links to the book’s Goodreads page.
Top 10 Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit
Pemberley Estates – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pemberley Estates is almost cheating, honestly. It’s basically a real place. Each time I read Elizabeth Bennett visiting for the first time, I am completely enthralled with the place. It’s a beautiful estate– more museum than home, honestly. Gorgeous gardens, ancient paintings, perfect furniture. It’s definitely the sort of place my Mother and I would love to visit!
Hogwarts and Hogsmeade – Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
I know, I know, I said no place dangerous. Hogwarts does have some dangerous places, but I assume that any normal child who doesn’t have the same penchant for mischief as our faithful trio would not suffer so. Besides, who wouldn’t want to pretend to attend classes and witness magic first hand? Or eat some Fizzing Whizzbees at Honeyduke’s after a long week of classes?
Copper Isles, Tortall – Daughter of the Lioness duology by Tamora Pierce
While a potentially dangerous land, Tortall has always fascinated me. Pierce has woven together many different cultural traits to develop a truly unique fantasy world. My favorite location has always been the Copper Isles. Based on the location of the Philippines, the culture and architecture of the Indonesian islands, and wildlife from Central and South America, this amalgamation has always captured my imagination.
My Review: Trickster’s Choice
Rivendell – The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien
I have always been fascinated by Rivendell. It’s an Elven home without Elven perfection, which is exactly what I love about it (Sorry Lothlórien). They have pronounced seasons, celebrate their histories, and is a refuge for outsiders. For many came seeking the wisdom of Elrond Half-Elven in their cosmopolitan home as Rivendell is a “refuge for the weary and oppressed, and a treasury of good counsel and wise lore”. Plus, beautiful waterfalls. Vacation spot #1. Books, waterfalls, noms, happiness.
The Neverlands – Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie
Not many know that Peter Pan’s Neverland is one of many. The Neverlands are found in the minds of children and they are not the same from one child to the next. For example, John Darling’s has a lagoon with flamingos flying over it, while little brother Michael has a flamingo with lagoons flying over it. (Obviously.) I want to know what my personal Neverland island is like! It would be magical to return to my childhood mind.
My Review: Peter and Wendy
Avonlea, Prince Edward Island – Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Beautiful, iconic, pastoral Avonlea. I would love the opportunity to join Anne Shirley and her friends as they roam about and have wonderful adventures. I want to visit Echo Lodge, the Haunted Wood, Hester Gray’s Garden, the White Way of Delight, the Dryad’s bubble and more– it sounds like something out of a fairy tale. Only with more adventuring and imagination.
My Review: Anne of Green Gables
The Hundred Acre Wood – Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
To be precise, the 100 Aker Wood (as denoted by Christopher Robin) is actually the section of the woods where Owl lives. I don’t just want to visit Owl, I want to visit everyone. I want to visit the Bee Tree, Pooh Bear’s House, the Sandy Pit Where Roo Plays, the Nice Place for Picnicks– the whole kaboodle. This was my favorite place to visit as a child, and as an adult, I love it no less:
The Emerald City – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Emerald City might seem like an obvious locale, but I want to go visit due to Baum’s inconsistencies between books. In one book the city is not green but only looks green when the eyeglasses are worn. In another book, the city is entirely green and eyeglasses must be worn due to how brilliant the city is. Even later, the eyeglasses are no longer needed. While I want to see all the beautiful gardens and palaces— I really just want to know the truth!
Red London – Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab
Let me clarify: I want to visit Red London in the reign of king Rhy Maresh. None of this evil magic stuff. Peace. Happiness. And beautiful. I mean, here is the description:
Flowers and hearth fire, spiced wine and underneath, the scent of home. A place of strength and beauty, laughter and music and the steady hum of magic. Power in balance and balance in power. The palace arcs over the glittering isle, the river like a ribbon of red light beneath.
Yup. Please let me visit.
My Review: A Darker Shade of Magic
Le Cirque des Rêves – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I saved the best for last. I would give almost ANYTHING to attend Le Cirque des Rêves at least once in my life. I know that if this circus was a real place, I’d quit my job and become a Rêveur. You’d probably find me in the Ice Garden or lost in the Labyrinth. Proper and engrossing magical realism. I would be there in a heartbeat.
It was so much fun remembering all these amazing and literally fantastic settings. They aren’t all safe, but I’m the sort of person who would stick to the sidelines anyway. No matter what, I’d love every second of visiting these locales.
What do you think?
- Did you participate in Top Ten Tuesday? Share your links below!
- Which books from this list have you read? What are your favorites?
- What fictional settings would you like to visit? Why?