Not a cloud was in the sky. Old Big Ben began to grumble. The clock was about to strike midnight. It was go time for the bell known throughout the world. A boy sat watching as the minutes ticked by, his shadow laughing at him as it crept off to find its own bit of fun. This was London after all. While children slept in their beds dreaming of tomorrow’s adventures, Peter Pan was out and about; making his own story that would be shared.
London is the birthplace of many fairytales, but Peter Pan is one of the most beloved. Watching Wendy, John and Michael fly across the sky, zipping past the clock tower of Parliament is an image that many adults grew up with, and a new generation is learning about as Disney released Peter Pan from the vault not too long ago.
A long history with nobility, theater, and empire-building exploration has made England the perfect spot to set up many literary adventures. Walk through the varied neighborhoods around London and you will know what I mean. The boys he met in Kensington Gardens inspired J.M. Barrie to create a world of fantasy and flight. Find your own inspiration in this thriving metropolis.
The Facts on Peter Pan in London
London’s true beauty can be found in its many green spaces. Take a stroll through Hyde Park and into Kensington Gardens. Peter Pan’s statue can be found in the gardens. The little imp is a popular attraction for story lovers both young and old. Get up close to take in the tiny details worked into this bronze piece. Watch squirrels, rabbits, mice and fairies climbing up to Peter. Author J.M. Barrie lived near Kensington Gardens and used the park as inspiration for his Peter Pan tales. In fact, in The Little White Bird, Peter flies out of his nursery and lands beside the Long Water. London’s Peter Pan statue is located on that exact spot.
True enthusiasts will see a bit of Pan throughout the city, if they know where to look. Watch a crocodile snap its jaws at the London Zoo, or pop into Angels Fancy Dress Shop to get outfitted in a Peter Pan or Tinker Bell costume. After taking numerous pictures with the Peter Pan statue, walk up to Bayswater Road and find house number 100, keeping an eye out for a blue plaque. This is the former home of J.M. Barrie and where he wrote Peter Pan.
Even the Princess of Wales Memorial playground in Kensington Gardens is Peter Pan inspired. Jump about the pirate ship for an epic battle with Captain Hook, or whomever you might be traveling with through the city that day.
The Fairytale Traveler Report, Peter Pan in London
London is a big city and it easily overwhelms. Doing a little research before you go can make a world of difference. Pick one thing a day you have to see (British Museum, Westminster, etc.) and build itineraries based on that.
It is easy to walk around London to see multiple attractions in one day. Westminster is next to Parliament, which is right down the road from Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. Grab a map and some fabulous walking shoes and start moving, hopping on the Tube only when it will take you more than 20 minutes to walk somewhere. While walking, you can get lost and find spots you never dreamed of. For instance, next to Trafalgar you can get to SoHo and Covent Garden. St. Martin in the Field is also in Trafalgar Square. If you focus too much on a strict itinerary, you will miss the smaller spots you never knew about.
London is home to several airports, but most international flights land at Heathrow. Budget carriers like RyanAir and EasyJet can get you from cities across Europe to this bustling city for a weekend of exploration, or a few weeks to really dive in. The London Underground (lovingly referred to as the Tube) is the easiest and fastest way to get around the city. Rental bikes are available at many points in central London, as well as black cabs, but the Tube will get you there the quickest and the cheapest. I’ve found this to be a good reference on how to save money on transportation in London.
From a Local
Do not miss a meal in a British pub. Pick one close to a sight you are visiting and tuck into a meat pie or a traditional roast dinner with meat, veggies and Yorkshire pudding. Wash it all down with a pint of a local brew and you can head off full and happy to your next adventure. Also consider a picnic in Kensington Gardens. Say hello to the swans and watch life go by, imagining what J.M. Barrie must have seen as he watched children play and London society go about their day.
Disney may hold the keys to the endearing animated classic, but London is the true home of Peter Pan and his magical world.