The criteria for this bumper list of fictional locations – which can all be visited thanks to a good book - is that the place is also the title of the novel or the location has been used in the title (so Hogwarts and Tara are not included). We have also not left our planet (so we’re not dining at The Restaurant at the End of the Universe) or veered into fantasy (so no Wonderland or Discworld).
The beauty of dreaming up a fictional location is that the author can go big or small – they can create an entire country, or a county, or a town, or a village, or a farm, or just a single building of interest such as an inn or a mansion in the countryside. Authors seem drawn to the outdoor life of farms, the mixed bag of strangers found at hotels, lakes full of mysteries, lonely islands, villages that are not what they seem, and stately homes with less than stately inhabitants.
Animal Farm and The Mayor of Casterbridge represent the two ends of fictional locations. The home of Napoloeon and Snowball cannot be placed on a map, while Hardy’s Casterbridge is based on the actual county town of Dorchester in Dorset.
Many fictional places in literature can be clearly located to a distinct area - Lake Woebegon is in Minnesota. Salem’s Lot (full name Jerusalem's Lot) is in Maine, Watership Down is in Hampshire and Stepford is in Connecticut.
Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead (somewhere in the South of England) is particularly interesting as the stately home has clearly seen better days, like the family it hosts. Alistair MacLean’s Ice Station Zebra thriller is also clever as the frozen location in the Arctic influences the plot so much.