I had, initially, intended this to be a top ten. But knowing how they almost always turn into top elevens, example A (top Famous Five moments) and example B (Top Adventure Series moments), I missed the number out of the title. Which is just as well, as I came up with eleven locations in the end!
11. Malory Towers
While I’m not convinced I would love boarding school life (I like my privacy and being stuck in a dorm with a bully sounds like hell) if I did do boarding school I don’t think it could be in a better place. The building itself sounds pretty decent with a lovely sunny courtyard in the middle, but the real selling point is the coastal location. Overlooking cliffs and the sea, there must be amazing views. I also love the idea of the swimming pool filled by the sea as I love sea swimming.
Peterswood is a pretty normal 1940s village – a bakery, a butchers’ shop, post office, a police station/house, grocers’ boys on their delivery rounds, buses rumbling by on their way to market… but it’s a charming and wholesome place all the same. Full of interesting local characters and quaint old-fashioned stores – many with free daily deliveries – it’s a lovely slice of a time long past. The fact it was based closely on Bourne End is the icing on the cake as you can really walk along some of the paths taken by the Find Outers – or at least look at photos of them!
9. Craggy Tops
Lacking many comforts even by the 1940s standards, Craggy Tops isn’t my idea of the perfect home, and yet here it is on my list. There’s just something appealing about that old, imposing house built into the cliffs and being lashed with sea spray. Of course it has a tower room with occasional views of the elusive Isle of Gloom, a secret passage and a beach out front.
8. Finniston Farm
Finniston seems like an average working farm at first glance, but it’s the history that makes it more interesting. The long-lost site of a castle (which of course the Five find, because that’s what they do!), the old chapel-turned-grain-store, centuries old Oak-Tree Field, Hangman’s Copse, Tinkers Wood Field, Faraway Field… the place is steeped in history. There’s hidden treasure in the old castle dungeons as well, but even without that it’s a great place. I love the details like the old castle door now in the farmhouse kitchen leading to the yard.
7. The Valley of Adventure
The valley doesn’t have a name, but what it does have are a lot of interesting caves and underground passages. The ruined and burnt out village is quite melancholy but the trees, flower-filled meadows and huge waterfall quite make up for it. Being entirely shut off from civilisation (apart from the odd aeroplane) it’s a very tranquil place, perfect for hiking and exploring.
related post⇒ The Valley of Adventure travel brochure
6. Puffin Island
Puffin Island is only the nickname the Mannering/Trents give the island from The Sea of Adventure, and it’s accurate as it is covered in puffins. I would love to visit a puffin island with my camera and capture all their antics.
5. Demon’s Rocks
The whole Demon’s Rocks area sounds so interesting. Like Finniston Farm it’s steeped in history – this time of wreckers. Caves and passages under the sea, a quaint village and an old lighthouse, what more could you ask for?
related post⇒ Demon’s Rocks holiday Brochure
4. The Secret Island
You’d be spoiled for choice on the secret island. Sleep in the heathery bedroom? The caves? Willow house? Explore and pick wild strawberries, paddle in the lake or take the boat out for a row? There are so many fresh foods to pick from, new-laid eggs, fresh creamy milk, runner beans, raspberries, you couldn’t go hungry either.
3. Old Thatch
This is the only real location I’ve included. There are a few other real places associated with Enid Blyton but either they don’t exist any more (like Green Hedges) or I haven’t yet visited (Corfe Castle, Poole Harbour etc). Old Thatch was her home in Bourne End and had beautiful gardens around it. I was lucky enough to visit it on a couple of occasions when it was open to the public and it was such a tranquil place.
2. Smuggler’s Top / Castaway Hill
A house full of secret passages, built on a hill full of secret passages. How could this not feature? The quaint old town with its great surrounding wall would be fascinating to explore, all those little old houses with the diamond-paned windows would be so picturesque. Then the big old house right at the top would have wonderful views especially from the tower. I’ve always wanted a house with a tower.
Ah, Kirrin. The most idyllic of idylls. Warm, welcoming Kirrin cottage just a stone’s throw from a glorious sandy beach. Moors out the back, ancient arrowheads in the old quarry… and that’s before we even mention the rugged island with it’s own castle, cave, dungeons, wrecked ship, sandy beach, rabbit population, jackdaws and undersea tunnel to the mainland. It’s the kind of place you could holiday in over and over, and the Five do exactly that.
Some of you may have noticed I have missed out locations from my favourite books. I considered a few and dismissed them, for various reasons. I love Five On a Hike Together, and Two Trees / Gloomy Water is an excellent setting but too – as the name suggests – gloomy and depressing what with the house being burned down. The Circus of Adventure doesn’t have a single amazing location, rather it’s a sum of several interesting ones. I suppose I could have chosen the titular circus but that’s more of a community than a place. Tremannon Farm (Five Go Down to the Sea) was also scored off a mental list as we don’t know much of the farm itself, the joy of the story comes from the wreckers’ cove and the visiting barnies.
What’s your favourite (real or fictional) Blyton location?