Roald Dahl centenary: the many ways to celebrate

Step inside the fantastical world of the children’s writer this year with a host of experiences

Roald Dahl-inspired afternoon tea at the Shard

Roald Dahl-inspired afternoon tea at the Shard

 

There’s scarcely a story-lover who hasn’t been bewitched by The Witches, fallen in love with the BFG or wished for a golden ticket thanks to Roald Dahl’s imagination. This centenary year, you can step inside the writer’s realm, beginning with Roald Dahl 100 Afternoon Tea in The Shard, London. Each sweet and savoury treat has been inspired by characters and dishes from Dahl’s stories.

Tuck in to Mr Twit’s bird pie ( with “birds legs” poking out of the pastry top), delight in the “formula 86” from The Witches, hidden inside chocolate mice. No prizes for guessing what inspired the giant peach meringue filled with peaches and cream (from €50 each, Monday-Friday, aquashard.co.uk). For a more full-on affair go to the dedicated museum in the Buckinghamshire village, where Dahl lived and wrote for 36 years.

Learn about the writer’s life, dream up your own great tale in the Story Hut, refuel in Twit’s Café before heading to the woods that inspired Fantastic Mr Fox (from €5.15, under fives go free, roalddahl.com).

What would Dahl’s stories have been without Quentin Blake’s illustrations? The BFG in Pictures is an exhibition of original Blake illustrations. Curated by Blake himself, 40 original artworks, including unpublished illustrations of The BFG, are on display at the House of Illustration, London (from €4.60 for children, €8.10 for adults, until October 2nd, houseofillustration.org.uk).

Plays and musicals include Tim Minchin’s musical adaptation of Matilda in London, New York, Canada and Australia (matildathemusical.com), while Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is on in London until January, when it goes to Broadway (charlieandthechocolatefactory.com).

London’s Southbank Centre sells themed T-shirts, greeting cards, totes and toys (shop.southbankcentre.co.uk).

In Cheshire, Tatton Park has themed games and experiences (Matilda’s Mansion, Danny the Champion of the World’s garden), the Roald Dahl Big Picnic Day (Sunday, September 11th), outdoor screenings and a Christmas extravaganza (tattonpark.org.uk). You can also win dinner with The Twits in London in our competition (irishtimes.com/dahl100comp).

As Dahl said, “Those who don’t believe in a little magic will never find it.”

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