Explore the Pages of your Favourite Kentish Novels!

sandwich river

2nd March 2020

Thursday 5th March marks World Book Day, a day to celebrate our favourite books and literary figures. Kent has a wealth of literary connections from Austen to Dickens, and to celebrate World Book Day 2020 we invite you to step into the pages of your favourite Kentish novel with one of these walks or bike rides.

The following novels are all set in the Garden of England, with many of the authors spending time in Kent and becoming inspired by our beautiful countryside. Perhaps these walks will ignite your imagination too!


Walk in the steps of the creator of James Bond.

The first novel is the renowned James Bond series which focuses on a fictional British Secret Service agent created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections.

A walk which might have inspired these famous novels is The Sandwich Walk. Fleming lived in Sandwich and the Royal St George’s golf course even features in Goldfinger, under the fictional name “Royal St Marks”, as James Bond faces off against the villain in a game of golf.

Why not also check out The St Margaret’s Bay Walk which also links to Fleming, as down on the beachfront of St Margaret’s Bay you will be able to spot Ian Fleming’s holiday home against the White Cliffs!

Explore a birdwatching murderer’s favourite place.

The next novel is The Birdwatcher by William Shaw, a crime novel of suspense, intelligence and powerful humanity about fathers and sons, grief and guilt and facing the darkness within. P.C William South shies away from a murder investigation because he is the murderer himself, will his secret come out?

The Dungeness RSPB easy access walk is the perfect walk to retrace the steps of the shady murderer whose favourite hobby was to watch the native birds of the Kentish Coast!

Follow the footsteps of the Larkins, a rural family from Kent.

Another novel based in Kent is the 1958 novella The Darling Buds of May which is the first in a series of five books all about the tales of the Larkins, a rural family from Kent.

The Pluckley Walk goes hand in hand with this novella, as the village Pluckley provided the main filming location for the well-loved television adaptation of the 1990s.  You will be transported back in time to the 1950s as you walk in the footsteps of the Larkins!

Explore the area which lent itself to the vivid opening of Great Expectation.

Great Expectations is the thirteenth novel by the famous writer and social critic, Charles Dickens, and his penultimate novel, which depicts the education of an orphan nicknamed Pip.

Set in the stunning county of Kent, the Charles Dickens and Higham Walk is a perfect way to appreciate the marshland described in the vivid opening of Great Expectations.

Another walk to enjoy, which will give perfect opportunities to learn more about Dicken is A Feast of Fine Architecture Walk which will give you a great introductory tour of Rochester too!

Retrace the steps of a crime scene to solve the Whitstable Pearl Mystery.

The Whitstable Pearl Mystery by Julie Wassmer is an intriguing mystery novel combining seafood, murder and a multitasking heroine in the gorgeous seaside location of Whitstable- famous for its native oysters.

The Crab and Winkle Way cycling route is the perfect adventure for you to explore this delightful area whilst unravelling the mystery of a body discovered on the eve of the annual oyster festival!

Why not visit Whitstable Beach after finishing your exciting cycle, to explore more of the background of this thrilling novel as well as enjoy some relaxing time near the sea.

Explore the railways where the children wait for their father.

The beloved story of The Railway Children written by Edith Nesbit is a story about the children’s father, who mysteriously leaving home meaning Roberta, Phyllis and Peter must move to a small cottage in the countryside with their mother.

The setting and scenes of the novel are said to have been inspired by Knockholt Railway Station when the author, Edith Nesbit was on walks around the area.

Knockholt Railway Station is near to the scenic village of Lullingstone, which is why the Lullingstone Country Park Walk is the perfect walk to appreciate the 1906 children’s book!

Follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims which travelled from London to historic Canterbury.

The Canterbury Tales, written by Geoffrey Chaucer is a collection of 24 stories that runs to over 1700 lines written in Middle English between 1387 to 1400. The tales are about a group of pilgrims as they travel together from London to Canterbury.

The Pilgrims Cycle Trail is the perfect cycle route to retrace the steps of the Pilgrims from The Canterbury Tales. From Rochester to Canterbury, you will enjoy admiring many points of interest along the way such as Rochester Cathedral and Canterbury Cathedral to name a few.

For more walks like this which include heritage and literary background, why not check out our literary walks page where you will find more walks like these.

For all other walks and activities to enjoy through the whole year, check out our activity page for a reason to get outdoors and active!

Back to all blog articles

Popular articles