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Film and TV Location Travel Ideas

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. TV – Games Of Thrones
  3. Film – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
  4. TV – The Walking Dead
  5. Film - The Lord Of The Rings
  6. Film – Harry Potter
  7. Film – Downton Abbey
  8. TV and film – Sex And The City
  9. Film – Angels and Demons

Introduction

If you are looking for a holiday with a difference, why not visit one of your favourite film or TV filming locations?

While there are a number of tours specifically designed for this sort of thing, you can always go ‘rogue’ and do your own thing by trying to match a location to a film or TV series instead.

Here are some ideas from across the world, as well as on our very own doorstep in the UK, where you can go and stand where your favourite film or TV character stood …


TV – Games of Thrones

Having just been renewed for its sixth season, this American fantasy drama is filmed in a studio in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as well as on location in Croatia, Malta, Scotland, Iceland, the United States, Spain and Morocco (according to Wikipedia).

The plot: The series interweaves several plot lines seen through the eyes of a broad ensemble cast, including civil wars among noble houses or the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms; the rising threat of the impending winter after a decade long summer and the legendary creatures and fierce peoples of the North; the third chronicles the attempts of the exiled last scion of the realm's deposed ruling dynasty to reclaim the throne.

Here are just some of the tours that you can immerse yourself in …

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Games of Thrones Tours are now available to Dubrovnik where you can experience a three-hour walking tour of the fictional city of King’s Landing. You can explore the Dubrovnik’s UNESCO-listed Old Town, visit Lovrijenac Fortress and picture the bloody battles filmed there.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Alternatively, you can enjoy two walking tours in Northern Ireland and well as hire Stark family cloaks, gambesons, peascods and LARP swords for a really true to life experience. You can even try your hand at archery!

Malta

Malta, with its medieval city, was used in a lot of the back-drop scenes in the TV series. You can now take a one day tour around areas of Malta where the filming took place, including Great Sept of Baelor, the Game of Thrones church in Gzira where the wedding of King Joffrey Baratheon to Margaery Tyrell took place, and the Courtyard of Illyrios Palace where the Stark family discovered a stag killed by a direwolf.

Iceland

Travel to North Iceland and enjoy an awe-inspiring tour of where parts of series three were filmed. You can up the ante and visit Thingvellir, (season four), Gullfoss waterfall and the famous Geysir hot spring.

If you are travelling in the Winter, then why not add in a trip to see the natural phenomenon the Northern Lights? While these are not featured in the Game of Thrones, they are still something that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Further reading: http://travel.aol.co.uk/2014/04/01/game-of-thrones-destinations-holiday-ideas/

Film – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

This 1988 comedy featuring Sir Michael Caine, Steve Martin and Glenne Headly was set in the fictional town of Beaumont-sur-Mer in the South of France.

The filming, however, took place around the French Riveria, including Antibes, Villlefranche-sur-Mer and Cannes.

The plot: This clever comedy is about two con-men trying to extract money from a soap heiress. Full of twists and turns, it is funny, very watchable and the locations are stunning.

While there aren’t any tours to the filming locations, if you go to the South of France for a holiday, the eagle-eyed among you may recognise some of the places listed below.

The great thing is that most of the locations are very close to each other (Beaulieu-sur-Mer is the next train stop on from Villefranche-sur-Mer) so you could spend the day train hopping as well as enjoying this beautiful area.

Villefranche-sur-Mer

At the beginning of the film, when Sir Michael Caine’s character Lawrence Jamieson alights at the Beaumont-sur-Mer station, this is actually the railway station at Villefranche.

When Lawrence Jamieson is talking to Inspector Andre outdoors at a cafe about the imminent arrival of their next ‘mark’, this is actually part of the main road through Villefranche - check the floor of the café later in the film and you will see pedestrian crossing markings!

Beaulieu-sur-Mer

Many of the street scenes were shot in Beaulieu-sur-Mer and the casino featured in the film is Rotonde Lenôtre, Avenue Fernand Dunan.

Cap d’Antibes

Lawrence Jamieson’s sumptuous cliff top mansion with its own private beach was the privately-owned Villa Hier in Cap d’Antibes. The area is known as ‘The Bay of Millionaires’ – and looking at the homes and scenery around there, no wonder!


TV – The Walking Dead

This American post-apocalyptic horror drama television started in 2010 and has a huge cult following. Filmed mainly in Atlanta in the US, there are a number of Walking Dead tours you can go on – or you can create your own.

The plot: Sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes wakes up after having been in a coma to find that he is an abandoned hospital. Upon leaving, Rick discovers a post-apocalyptic world overrun with zombies, known as "walkers" and "biters".

He finds other survivors – including his wife and son who he thought were dead - and each episode shows the different challenges they face not only in protecting themselves from the zombies, but in living together as a community.

Atlanta movie tours offers Walking Dead tours, usually lead by former series walkers or biters.

Or, check out the numerous online groups dedicated to the Walking Dead and its shoot location such as http://walkingdeadlocations.com/ or their Facebook page (note this is their US Facebook page, so there may be some spoilers as they are further ahead in the season).

Georgia, Atlanta

Most of the locations used are in Georgia, Atlanta, for example.

· The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was shown at the end of season one, where the survivors were hoping they would find a cure for the zombie ‘plague’. It was actually filmed at an events centre - Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, northwest Atlanta, at 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway at Akers Mill Road.

· The Bellwood Quarry (279 Grove Park Pl NW, Atlanta) was used as the camping grounds that the survivors rendezvous at for three episodes before heading to the CDC. It's here that Rick reunites with his family.

To see a map of The Walking Dead shooting locations, visit Google maps here.

A US travel company also has ideas for zombie-inspired holidays .. click here for more information.


Film - The Lord of the Rings (series of three films)

Based on the novel The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, this series of three films were filmed back-to-back in New Zealand (NZ). According to Wikipedia, the series took an astonishing 8 years to complete!

The plot: Set in the fictional world of Middle-earth, the films follow hobbit Frodo Baggins as he and a Fellowship embark on a quest to destroy the One Ring (and its maker, the Dark Lord Sauron).

The Fellowship becomes divided and Frodo continues the quest together with his loyal companion Sam and Gollum. Meanwhile, heir in exile to the throne of Gondor, Aragorn, and the wizard Gandalf unite and rally the Free Peoples of Middle-earth in the War of the Ring.

There are a number of Lord of the Rings locations you can visit in NZ, from one day trips to 16 days’ private tours!

New Zealand is a stunning country to immerse yourself in, whether you are a Lord of the Rings fan or not.

Matamata, North Island

Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set on a guided tour where you can see over 44 unique hobbit holes, including Bilbo’s house Bag End.

You’ll also see the mill, the double arched bridge and the famous Party Tree before stopping for a drink at the Green Dragon Inn.

Tongariro National Park, North Island

Visit Mordor and Emyn Muil as seen in the Lord of the Rings films at this amazing National Park. Visit the base of Mt Ruapehu, at the intersection of SH4 & SH47 on the volcanic plateau, and take in views of all three mountains, Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings filiming locations) and Mt Ruapehu.

Wellington, North Island

A half day tour from Wellington takes in seven locations in both the North and South of Wellington. Explore Mount Victoria and the 'recreation greenbelt' where the Hobbits hid and were chased by Ringwraiths, then on to Hutt Valley. Stops include the Hutt River (Anduin) and Harcourt Park (Isengard). In Kaitoke Regional Park have tea under the elevish trees of the Rivendell location. We also spend time at Minas Tirith and Helms Deep at an old quarry closed to general visitors.


Film - Harry Potter (series of eight films)

The Harry Potter series of films were shot in England, Scotland and Wales and are based on the Harry Potter novels by author J. K. Rowling. Consisting of eight fantasy films, Wikipedia reports it as the highest-grossing film series in inflation unadjusted dollars, with $7.7 billion in worldwide receipts.

The plot: On his 11th birthday, lonely Harry Potter learns that he’s really a wizard, and will soon be attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Together with his two new friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, he has lots of adventures throughout the series of films.

The Visit Britain website lists some of the top locations to visit …

Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), on its way to Hogwarts, the flying Ford Anglia lands on Glenfinnan Viaduct, on the West Highland line between Fort William and Mallaig in Scotland.

Bodleian Library, Oxford, England

Oxford University’s famous Bodleian Library starred in three of the Harry Potter films. Duke Humfrey's Library was used as the Hogwarts library and the elaborately vaulted Divinity School became Hogwart’s infirmary.

This is also where C S Lewis, Oscar Wilde, and J R R Tolkien once studied.

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England

Alnwick Castle is the site of Madame Hooch’s flying lesson in the first film. With 700 years’ of history, spectacular gardens with water sculptures and one of the world’s largest treehouses, this is a wonderful place to spend the day. Other films Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1991) and Elizabeth (1997) were also filmed at the castle.

Leadenhall Market, London, England

Leadenhall is a shining example of a Victorian covered market with an ornate painted roof. The wizard’s pub, 'the Leaky Cauldron', is an optician in Bull’s Head Passage in the market.

King’s Cross Station, London, England

The Hogwarts Express departs from ‘Platform 9 ¾’ of King’s Cross Station which is actually the arched wall between Platforms 4 and 5. Head towards the entrance to Platforms 9, 10 and 11 on the west side of the station and you’ll see a trolley disappearing into the magical realm through a wall marked ‘Platform 9 ¾’.

Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire, Wales

This stretch of golden sand was chosen as a location for Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour‘s Shell Cottage. The cottage was built for the film and later dismantled, but it is still worth a visit to this stunning beach (which is a favourite with surfers).

Find some more tours for Harry Potter here and here.


TV - Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is a British period drama, which was first shown in the UK in 20101. In 2015, a further sixth series was commissioned. It has won numerous awards and is popular in both the UK and the USA.

The plot: Set in Yorkshire at the Downton Abbey estate, the story revolves around the lives of the Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era.

Many historical events are featured in the series, showing the effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy.

The majority of exterior shots of Downton Abbey takes place at Highclere Castle in Hampshire as do most of the interior shots. According to Wikipedia, the servant’s kitchen, the main kitchen, the working areas, and some of the "upstairs" bedrooms were constructed and filmed at Ealing Studios.

There are a number of Downton Abbey tours you can go on – some visit the Oxfordshire countryside (where several villages have been used as locations) while others visit locations in London.

Here are just two to whet your appetite …

Various locations, London


This is a three hour tour that allows you to see locations used for scenes set in Ripon, York, Manchester and Liverpool – all without leaving the capital! Highlights include the exterior of Grantham House where we meet Uncle Harold for the first time, the Liverpool hotel where Lady Mary and Lord Gillingham have their secret liaison, and the restaurant where Edith goes for dinner with Gregson.

Highclere Castle, Hampshire

This beautiful Victorian Castles is set amidst 1,000 acres of spectacular parkland and woods, which you can explore. Home of the Carnarvon family since 1679 (and home of the fictional Crawley family), the current Castle stands on the site of an earlier house. This previous property was built on the foundations of the medieval palace owned by the Bishops of Winchester for some 800 years.


TV and film – Sex And The City

Walk in the designer shoes of Carrie and co through Manhattan, New York and shop, drink and eat where they did!

The plot: Sex And The City (SATC) was an American romantic comedy series featuring the loves and the lives of four glamorous New Yorkers - Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda. Two Sex And The City films also followed after the TV series finished.

Going on a SATC tour will give you a great way to see the hotspots of New York - designer dress and Jimmy Choo shoes not obligatory!

New York, USA

Staten Island Ferry. A trip on the Staten Island Ferry is a must – not only because this is where Charlotte announces: "I'm getting married this year!" but because of the amazing views you’ll see on the 25 minute ride such as The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The ride is also free!

Monkey Bar is a swanky bar and restaurant in Midtown East where Carrie meets a brief fling, jazz musician Ray, Monkey Bar was also featured on an episode of that other glamorous TV show, Mad Men.

The fountain at Columbus Circle is where Carrie breaks up with Aiden. With breathtaking views, this is a wonderful place to stop and catch a breath.

Buddakan. Carrie and Big's rehearsal dinner in the SATCmovie was filmed in at this fashionable Chinese restaurant in the Meatpacking district. This is where Miranda's notorious outburst causes Big to get cold feet the night before the wedding.

Further reading: http://www.fodors.com/news/nyc-top-25-icon-3018.html and http://onlocationtours.com/tour/sex-and-the-city/ and New York sightseeing tours.


Film – Angels and Demons

The film Angels and Demons is based on the book by Dan Brown and is the follow up film to The Da Vinci Code. The film was realised in 2009.

The plot: The main character, Robert Langdon, follows clues around Rome trying to prevent the deaths of four cardinals who have been kidnapped by the Illuminati.

There are several tours around Rome that follow Langdon’s footsteps – or you can do it yourself and see what you recognise!

Rome, Italy

Filming locations include:

  • Piazza Navona
  • Castel Sant'Angelo
  • St Maria del Popolo Church
  • St Peter's Square
  • St Maria della Vittoria Church

Castel Sant’Angelo

Each of these places is well worth a visit in its own right, whether you are a fan of the book or not. For example, Castel Sant'Angelo, built 123 - 139 AD as a mausoleum for Roman emperor Hadrian.

In the film, this is where Langdon runs from Piazza Navona through a passageway to Castel Sant’Angelo - the secret meeting place of the Illuminati Lair.

Santa Maria della Vittoria

Santa Maria della Vittoria (Our Lady of Victory) hosts the amazing Baroque masterpiece, the ecstasy of St Teresa, by Gianlorenzo Bernini. In the film, this is where Langdon finds the kidnapper in the act of setting the third cardinal on fire.

The official Angels and Demons tour can be found here.


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