In an era where many of us spend our free time binge-watching the latest TV shows and movies, we can become very attached to our favourite ones. From the cast to the outfits and the shooting locations (whether real or from a studio), we can’t seem to get enough. Due to this, there has always been a tourism element behind what we see on our screens. Where we have seen this closer to home is in the recent worldwide interest around Skellig Michael, the small and picturesque island off the coast of Kerry. The Skelligs, which we’re featured in the two latest Star Wars movies, have seen a massive upturn in tourism from all over the world. Where else in the world can you retrace the steps of your favourite characters? We’ve put together the following list of iconic filming locations that you can actually visit.
Lord of the rings:
One of the biggest brands in movie history, The Lord of the Rings is a massive part of popular culture. Director Peter Jackson chose his native New Zealand as the filming location and backdrop for both “Hobbiton” and “Middle Earth” throughout the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Hobbit series of films. The Lord of the rings was a massive hit both critically and in the box office when it was launched. This in turn resulted in a massive increase in New Zealand tourism with some articles claiming it has played a significant part in a 50% increase of visits since 2001 (when the first movie was released). The film is famed of course for its extensive use of cutting edge CGI but many of the locations are just as breathtaking in real life. The Hobbiton Tour and other iconic filming locations from the series can be visited on a trip to the islands.
If you grew up in the 90s, chances are that “Friends” was one of your favourite comedy shows. The sitcom is referenced nearly daily by its most loyal fans and has become synonymous with New York City. Although much of the series was filmed in studios, there is enough places in NYC that you can visit to feel a greater connection to the show. Unfortunately however, you won’t be able to start your day with a latte in Central Perk. The coffee shop is fictional but for a short lived pop up in 2014 and rumblings of it possibly opening up for good soon. You can however visit Monica, Rachel, Chandler and Joeys Apartment to take pictures from the street (the inside was a set). You can also visit the American Museum of Natural History to get a feel for Ross’s day job and catch a New York Knicks game like the characters regularly did. As for the iconic water fountain below, sadly that was created on a sound stage in LA.
Game Of Thrones:
Arguably the biggest TV show to air in recent years, Game of Thrones fans are some of the most committed that you’ll find. In truth there are so many iconic filming locations to choose from when it comes to this series. From the south of Spain to the North of Ireland, fans can really connect with the various kingdoms that are portrayed on screen. We’ve chosen Kings Landing as our must visit location though as it is perhaps the most stunning. Set in Dubrovnik in Croatia, you can get a sense of what it was like to reside in the stronghold of the Lannister family. To find out more about the types of tours you can take to get the most out of your trip to Kings landing, check out the following visitors website.
ABBA’s music is cross generational and continues to get major plays on radio, TV music shows and theater productions across the world. When the film of the play “Mamma Mia” was released in 2008, it was a massive hit worldwide (with mixed critical reviews). For those who loved the movie, you too can sing (or at least try to) all of the classics just like Pearse Brosnan and Meryl Streep on the stunning Greek island of Skepolos where it was shot. You can even visit the church where the wedding took place. With plenty of similarly stunning islands to explore off the Greek coast, you’ll be blown away by what this part of the world has to offer.
There’s something very glamorous about period dramas and none have been as popular as ITV’s “Downton Abbey”. The series ran from 2010 until 2015 and had many dramatic ups and downs that kept viewers gripped. The outfits, props and the post Edwardian era style of the show is something that enchants fans and makes the show unique. If you want to experience the external and internal shooting locations then you can visit Highclere Castle, which is located in Hampshire about a minute train away from London city. The castle and its surrounding land also plays host to downton abbey themed nights, cricket games, corporate events, exhibitions and even weddings.
There are few scenes as iconic as the one below in which our characters first witness dinosaurs in the flesh as they roam the park (what could possibly go wrong?). Although the dinosaurs may not have been real, that stunning backdrop was not the work of CGI magic. You can visit the stunning landscapes of the “real” Jurassic park in Hawaii as part of a movie and TV locations tour on the island of Oahu. While there you’ll also recognise the beach from TV series “LOST” and the many filming locations from “Hawaii Five-0”.
The sound of Music:
Arguably one for the older crowd but musical fans of all ages will be more than familiar with the brilliant “Sound of Music”. The film follows a young Governess played by Julie Andrews who is tasked with looking after the 7 children of retired naval officer Georg Von Trap in Salzburg Austria. Although the film is primarily remembered for its catchy tunes, Salzburg and its picturesque surroundings almost steal the show. Lakes, mountains and the beautiful architecture of the buildings showcased in the film have since been visited by adoring fans. You can take extensive tours of the various filming locations involved and find out for yourself if the hills are in fact alive, with the sound of music (sorry).
If you’re planning on retracing the steps of kings or even chasing dinosaurs, don’t forget to pick up your travel insurance. We have great value multi trip policies so get a quote today.