Over 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl and his dark humour, disgusting characters, made up words and heart-warming heroes have made his books a hit with kiddles the world over.
But it was Dahl’s home country that inspired stories such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG, so get your gogglers around these gloriumptious places to visit…
Dahl’s beloved birthplace: Cardiff, Wales
Roald Dahl was born in September 1916 in Llandaff, Cardiff to Norwegian parents. He spent his boyhood in the city and displayed a penchant for macabre humour early on. He famously tricked miserable sweet shop owner, Mrs Pratchett, by placing a mouse in her jar of gobstoppers! Today the Llandaff shop is commemorated with a blue plaque.
Dahl is also remembered in Cardiff Bay’s modern plaza which has been renamed Roald Dahl Plass (place or square in Norwegian.) The nearby pretty clapboard church where the Dahl family worshipped is now an arts centre and cafe.
If you’re feeling fit, cycle or walk The Cardiff Bay 10k Trail over the barrage and past the peaceful wetlands. Alternatively, browse independent boutiques in the Victorian arcades or visit the National Museum and Art Gallery.
The real Chocolate Factory: Cadbury World, Bourneville, Birmingham
Imagine the thrill of finding a shiny gold ticket like Charlie did in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The 1964 rags-to-riches classic was inspired by Roald’s own experience at Repton School in Derbyshire, where Cadbury would send new types of chocolates to be tested.
The young Roald dreamt of inventing a chocolate bar for Mr Cadbury himself! For kids today Cadbury World must feel akin to visiting Willy Wonka’s fantastical factory. Embark on a 4D chocolate adventure or dip your choice of sweet treat into a pot of warm, gooey chocolate in the chocolate making area.
Not to mention losing yourself in the world’s largest Cadbury’s shop…just remember the fate of poor, gluttonous Augustus Gloop!
Land of the giants: Isle of Skye, Scotland
The Isle of Skye, the largest island in the Inner Hebrides abounds with the loveliest and most unusual landscapes. It’s no wonder that legendary film director Steven Spielberg chose this location to film scenes for The BFG.
Look out for the cone-shaped, undulating magic of the Fairy Glen, the other-worldly landslip landscape of The Quiraing and the incredible, toothy drama of The Storr rocky ridge. There’s a relatively short but exceptionally striking walk up to the Old Man of Storr through one of the world’s most photographed landscapes.
After all that exercise, find peace on an isolated beach or sample a golden drop at the Talisker whisky distillery with dramatic views of the Cuillins.
Danny the Champion’s world: Stonor Park, Oxfordshire
The red brick splendour of the house at Stonor Park in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire will be recognisable to film fans as the home of wealthy snob Victor Hazell (played by Robbie Coltrane) in the 1989 film version of Danny, the Champion of the World.
Set in 1950s England, the young Danny and his dad (Jeremy Irons) plan a deliciously wicked revenge on Victor with a wood full of sleepy pheasants.
There are plenty of walking and cycle routes in the stunning Stonor Valley to explore, or simply stroll through the arboretum and Italianate gardens of the house and admire the fallow deer in the park.
Dahl’s delightful hometown: The Museum and Story Centre, Bucks
Located in the beautiful Buckingham shire village of Great Missenden, where Roald Dahl worked on his best and most beloved books, this interactive attraction provides perfect fun for all ages.
Explore Dahl’s writing shed and see the many trinkets he kept close for inspiration, take a tour of the writer’s life and see how he brought some of his best works to life. Then you can create your own story using pen and paper, animation and more.
The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre is also located on the same street where Dahl found inspiration for the orphanage in The BFG, the petrol station in Danny the Champion of the World and much more. Taking a wander around Great Missenden is a bit like walking through his books!
Where the Witches were: Newquay, Cornwall
The sight of the grand old hotel perched above Newquay’s surfing paradise still gives kids the shivers after its famous incantation in the darkly comic, 1990 film The Witches, starring Angelica Huston.
The action centred around the Headland Hotel: a Grade II listed Victorian building dominating the cliff above golden sands. Only five minutes from the centre of the resort, Fistral is regarded as one of the best surfing beaches in Europe.
If surfing’s not your thing, take a coastal horse ride from nearby Trenance, feast on Rick Stein’s celebrity fish and chips or sip a Cornish cider surveying the North Atlantic swell.
Dahl’s holiday haunt: Tenby, Wales
In a sunny south east corner of Pembrokeshire sits the pastel-pretty harbour of Tenby. The ancient walled town has been a popular seaside resort for generations. Roald Dahl stayed here at a place called The Cabin, overlooking the harbour every Easter holiday between 1920 and 1936, later taking his own family there.
“We had donkey rides on the beach and long walks with the dogs along the top of the cliffs opposite Caldy Island, and there were primroses everywhere,” he reminisced. Tenby continues to delight visitors with sailing, a fort, fishing trips, award-winning beaches and super-fresh seafood.
An amazing attraction: Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery, Bucks
A trip to the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery is sure to receive a whoopsey-splunkers reaction from any child!
The interactive museum space inside Bucks County museum has won two major awards for education. Kids can immerse themselves in the weird and wonderful worlds of Dahl’s words and Quentin Blake’s illustrations. Magnify mini-beasts in James’ Giant Peach, crawl along Fantastic Mr Fox’s tunnel and feel around for disgusting things in The Twits’ feely holes.
Less eccentric enjoyment can be found in beautiful Wendover Woods and the working steam museum of Buckinghamshire Railway Centre.