My Itinerary ({: itinerary.length :})

{: event.badge :}

{: event.title :}

{: event.dates :} {: event.dateDescription :}
{: item :}
Suitable for {: item :}
1001 Stories Collection

Swallows and Amazons

1001 Swallows And Amazons
Added on 09th August 2020

Author Arthur Ransome
First published 1930
Publisher Jonathan Cape

The Walker children look forward to a summer of sailing on the lake and camping on the island but when they meet the Amazon pirates the summer takes a more adventurous turn.


The Walker children - Captain John, Mate Susan, Able-Seaman Titty and Ship’s Boy Roger - on holiday in the Lake District, are excited to be allowed to sail across the lake and camp on the island they can see from the shore. There they pitch tents, cook over campfires, swim and fish in the lake - but when they meet the Amazon pirates, Nancy and Peggy Blackett war is declared

Why we chose it

A classic story about sailing and adventure.

Where it came from

Arthur Ransome (1884-1967) spent childhood summers in the Lake District and went to school in Windemere. After a career in journalism which took him to Russia at the time of the revolution, he came back to the Lake District with his Russian wife. There he took up sailing again. He sailed with a number of friends and their children and there has been much speculation about who the models for the Swallows and the Amazons were.

Where it went next

Swallow and Amazons has been adapted for film and television. The 1974 film with screenplay by David Wood is faithful to the book. The 2016 film changes the story significantly, adding a secret agent plot,which is based on Arthur Ransome’s own experiences as a MI6 spy in Russia.

Helen Edmondson’s stage adaptation, with songs by Neil Hannon was first performed at Bristol Old Vic in 2010 but has since been revived by companies across the country including Creation Theatre, Oxford in 2018.

Associated stories

There are eleven other books by Arthur Ransome Swallowdale (1931), Peter Duck (1932), Winter Holiday (1933), Coot Club (1934), Pigeon Post (1936), We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea (1937), Secret Water, (1939) The Big Six (1940), Missie Lee (1941), The Picts and the Martyrs (1943), Great Northern (1947). A further book, The Coots in the North was unfinished when Ransome died but was later edited and published in 1988. Most are set in the Lake District, on the Norfolk Broads or in coastal Essex and are about children’s sailing adventures inspired by both Ransome’s own childhood and by the adventures he had with the families he sailed with in later life.

Added on 09th August 2020

Author Arthur Ransome
First published 1930
Publisher Jonathan Cape