How to get there: Flights from London to Zurich start from £136 with SWISS and from £134 British Airways. Then take the train from Zurich to Maienfeld.
Travel time: 1 hour and 15 minutes by plane from London to Zurich airport and a further 90 minutes by train to Maienfeld.
For a small child learning to read, the heart-warming story of Heidi, the orphan girl sent to live in the Swiss Alps with her goat-herding grandfather, is the perfect bedtime story for your children. Most people don’t realise the story is based on real-life experience and set in a real place. Maienfeld is a picture-postcard enclave of pure Alpine air and wild-flower meadows, and sure to enchant your own children even if they’re yet to discover the classic tale. A pioneer of children’s literature, author Johanna Spyri drew inspiration from the natural beauty of this small mountain town, publishing her first tales of Heidi in 1880.
Who is it good for? Little girls aged four and above will be old enough to know and understand the story, and the meadows and fresh mountain air are perfect for playtime exploring.
Follow the same route that Heidi follows in the story when she is taken to meet her grandfather. The trail leads uphill towards the hamlet of Oberrofels, better known these days as the Heidi Village. This is a hub for Heidi fans from across the world, with a petting zoo, a souvenir shop and a small museum dedicated to the life of Johanna Spyri.
An adventure trail leads up from the Heidi Village to the high meadow. It follows a series of interpretation sites, each one featuring characters from the story, such as Little Swan and Little Bear, grandfather’s trusty goats, and Peter the goat boy. Note that this is quite a steep and lengthy walk, so may be a little taxing for younger children.