Last time I brought you a selection of destinations in London and Buckinghamshire where you could go and be close to our favourite authoress Enid Blyton. This week I’m going to start looking down by the coast, the south west of England and a mixture of locations that might have sparked Blyton’s imagination, places she visited and places used during the filming of the two TV series. I haven’t been to all of these places so I’m just going to explain to you what they’re related to in regards to Blyton.
So what are we waiting for? Full list of TV series locations can be found here, on the Enid Blyton Society Forums.
Corfe and Corfe Castle
Corfe and its ruined castle is a must see for Blytonites (I can’t believe I’ve never made it down there!) Poole and Dorset are places that we know Blyton used to visit on her own holidays, so we assume that a lot of her inspiration came from there and we can trace that with some of the places and descriptions she provides us with throughout her book. The Corfe Castle ruins may well have been the inspiration for the castle on Kirrin Island in the Famous Five, and the 1957 Children’s Film Foundation version of Five on a Treasure Island was even filmed there, so this castle is central to the Blyton experience.
Bossington, for me is a central point of the 1990s Famous Five as the actual cottage they used as Kirrin Cottage – George’s home. A couple of years ago I was in Somerset with my Dad and we made a special trip to Bossington so I could soak up the 90s nostalgia. The whole small village is full of tasteful cottages, nestled in between woods and some stunning Somerset hills. The beach is a little bit of a let down as it’s not sandy as the series seems to promise, but full of smooth stones and pebbles which crash wonderfully when the waves hit them.
You can even book to stay in the very same Kirrin Cottage through the National Trust. I would love to do this, but unfortunately its a little expensive at the moment. I would recommend this visit only if you’re close to the area as it is a bit out of the way. The surrounding area is beautiful as well, Dunster Castle and Village is well worth a visit – especially for a cream tea!
Exbury – House, Gardens, Village
Exbury House, its garden and the village all seem to be key to the 1970s Famous Five filming and always comes up in conversations with the cast and in interviews. It’s a firm favourite, discussion wise on the Enid Blyton society forums as well, which means there is lots to know about where the filming was done and how much of the place was used in various episodes.
Just across the Solent from Portsmouth, Exbury sits on the Beaulieu River, in the New Forest National Park in Hampshire. This means it is a beautiful place to visit and the website for the house suggests a whole host of activities to do in the area, as well as in the gardens and the house. The house even boosts its own steam railway – so if you have a train fan in the family, all the more excuse to go! They can enjoy their train ride while you get your Blyton fix. Also with the 200 acre gardens in Exbury House, you might even find a stray camera man trying to find his way out. Or the odd smuggler, hidden treasure or secret passage yourself!
Brownsea Island is a small largely uninhabited place, owned and maintained by the National Trust. Just across from Poole and up from Studland, near Swanage where Enid Blyton used to holiday. It is generally accepted that Brownsea Island is the inspiration for Whispering Island in Five Have a Mystery to Solve .
The island is famous for being one of the few places left in the south of the UK to be home to red squirrels. Also used for scouting and guiding activities, Brownsea Island has a ferry timetable to allow people to visit, but unless you’re part of the scouts or guides I don’t believe you’re allowed to stay on the island. I may of course be wrong.
So if you want to have a Blytonian day out, Brownsea Island is the place to go – but make sure you take a torch and some rope, in case an adventure ensues!
Knoll House Hotel – Studland Bay
So when Blyton used to stay in this part of the world, we have it on good Enid Blyton Society information that she used to stay in Knoll House Hotel. This very Carribbean looking house looks like it should have been in the lap of luxury in Blyton’s day. Even the reviews describe it as a throw back to times gone by.
Situated a short walk from the Studland Bay beach, and not far from Durdle’s Door, this throw back should be a good place for anyone really wishing to connect with Blyton this would be a good place. You can imagine her stomping about the grounds and waving to everyone as she and Kenneth or Hugh went out for a daily walk. It seems to be quite the atmospheric place.
There we are then, just a few Blyton locations in the South West of England for you to explore for yourselves. As I linked at the top, you can find many more destinations on the Enid Blyton Society Forums.