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Big Friendly UK adventures

Press AssociationPress Association 9/08/2016 Sarah Marshall

One of the great beauties of Roald Dahl's stories - aside from the delicious twists, the phizz-whizzing words he invented, and the grotesque characters he brought to life - is that they keep finding new audiences.

This year, which marks 100 years since the great author's birth - September 13 to be precise - there'll be a whole new generation of fans introduced to the Welsh wordsmith's world.

His 1982 tale, The BFG, the one he said became his favourite, has been adapted by Steven Spielberg for the big screen just in time for the European summer holidays.

With a bit of computer wizardry to help him appear seven metres tall, multi-award-winner Mark Rylance plays the eponymous friendly giant, with Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, the young orphan who befriends him after catching him blowing dreams into the rooms of other children.

The rest of the cast includes Penelope Wilton, Flight Of The Conchords' Jermaine Clement, Bill Hader, Rafe Spall and Rebecca Hall.

If you want to celebrate Dahl's centenary in other ways, there's more you can do than just go see The BFG.

First of all, there's the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, a small, gloriumptious village where Roald Dahl lived and wrote for 36 years (www.roalddahl.com/museum).

It's a short walk from the station - trains get there from London Marylebone in just over half an hour - and on the way you can see the building that inspired Sophie's orphanage in The BFG, and the petrol pump that Danny's dad worked at in Danny The Champion Of The World.

Inside the museum, aimed primarily at 6 to 12-year-olds, you can find out all about the author's upbringing, his days in the RAF during the Second World War, his time in America after he was injured, and how he started writing.

They've also got his famous writing shed, behind glass, laid out exactly as the notorious creature of habit had it when he was writing. For a hands-on experience, a large number of the items have been faithfully replicated, including the ball made of foil wrappers from his beloved Kit Kats.

The people at the museum give regular talks explaining lots more about Dahl and his life, and they're also behind a raft of events in September under the Roald Dahl 100 banner.

Tatton Park in Cheshire is hosting a special series of themed attractions in the run up to the centenary (tiny.cc/tattondahl), where visitors can enter the worlds of Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox and Danny the Champion of the World.

Meanwhile in Cardiff, there are a couple of Dahl-related events to visit.

First, there's Quentin Blake: Inside Stories at the National Museum, (tiny.cc/cardiffdahl), a free exhibition, running until November 20, which looks at the wonderful illustrations that help bring Dahl's stories to life.

On September 17 and 18, Cardiff turns into the City Of The Unexpected (www.cityoftheunexpected.wales/whatson), a largely free two-day festival where the streets come alive with characters from Dahl's works, with famous faces reading from Dahl's best-known books (ticketed event), finishing up with a pyjama picnic in Bute Park.

You'd have to be a frothbuggling quogwinkle to miss out.

* For more information on Roald Dahl 100, visit www.roalddahl.com/roald-dahl/roald-dahl-100

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