It's A Great Big World
Lights! Camera! Travel!
Have you ever watched a movie and thought, ‘I’d like to travel there!’ Sometimes a movie can ignite a travel bug inside of us and other times a movie can make us want to see where it was filmed because the movie had such an impact on us. Either way, if you are trying to decide your next holiday destination, why not watch some of these movies and see if you are inspired to travel! A movie may be the reason you visit a destination but the destination will have so much more to offer. Here are my Top Ten movie-inspired destinations.
New Zealand – Lord of the Rings
Sure, film stars such as Martin Freeman, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett and Ian Mckellen graced the screens with their presence during the Lord of The Rings trilogy and also the Hobbit trilogy but perhaps it was New Zealand, the filming location of these epic movies, that was the real star of the movies. You can take your own Unexpected Journey to New Zealand and witness first hand the stunning landscape and feel like you have taken your own trip through Middle-earth.
London, England – Harry Potter
This is at the very top of my bucket list. As a Harry Potter fan, I have been itching to take the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London to go behind the scenes of the Harry Potter film series since it opened. A trip to England for the studio tour is definitely on the books if you are a Harry Potter fan but while you are there you will be able to explore England, maybe even check out some of the on-site film locations, e.g. Goathland station in North Yorkshire that served as the Hogsmeade station, and discover what I consider to be a remarkable country chock full of history and culture (although I may be biased).
Ireland and Northern Ireland – Game of Thrones
Yes, this is a TV series and not a movie but I have included it because Game of Thrones is so popular that fans can’t get enough of it. With only a handful of episodes each season and what feels like a never-ending wait between each book, fans can satiate their hunger for anything Game of Thrones by visiting some of the TV series filming locations. A lot of filming takes place in Ireland and Northern Ireland, however you can also visit Dubrovnik in Croatia, Iceland, Morocco and Malta. Just remember that wherever you travel to, dress warmly as winter is coming!
Bletchley Park, England – The Imitation Game
This movie is for our history buffs. Thanks to the popularity of The Imitation Game, people want to learn more about what happened at Bletchley Park and have been inspired to visit the location where history was made and where they speculate that WWII was reduced by 2 years. Not only can you immerse yourself in history, you can also experience a new exhibition that showcases where some of the scenes were filmed on location and also the costumes worn by the actors. Act quickly though because the exhibition is only until November 2015, however, you will still be able to experience Bletchley Park even after The Imitation Game exhibition has closed.
Alesund, Norway – Frozen
Calling all families with younger children. If you have kids in your household (this may still be applicable even if your kids are teenagers) chances are you probably know all of the words to “Let It Go”. Frozen was such a huge hit that this may be the perfect opportunity to get your children interested in travelling. You can take a Norwegian Fjord Disney cruise where you can be immersed in the stunning scenery. Admittedly nothing was filmed in Norway for the animated film but it was the inspiration for Arendelle and you can now take a Port Adventure with Anna and Elsa in Alesund, Norway.
Before we get to destinations 6-10, I’d like to take an intermission, if you will, and share a quick story where I became even more interested in learning more about film making.
On our cruise over Christmas on the Queen Mary 2, we had the privilege of attending a talk given by Dale Templar, the producer of BBC’s Human Planet. It was a wonderful experience listening to the behind the scene stories and learning more about the different types of cameras and technology that was involved in filming a particular shot.
It really opened my eyes to all of the work that goes behind filming a series or even a movie. After the talk, we met with Dale Templar and got our DVDs and books signed! We also had time to chat with her for a while.
Now let’s get back to destinations 6-10 of our top ten movie-inspired travel destinations!
Salzburg, Austria – The Sound of Music
The hills are alive in Salzburg with numerous sights from the movie. I admit that I have never actually seen this movie and yet I can sing along to all of the songs just as well as the person next to me! Interestingly enough, a lot of the locals in Salzburg have never seen the Sound of Music either although I am guessing that they have a good idea of what the film is about with tourists constantly asking where the Residenz Fountain is (where Maria sings “I have confidence in me”) or where the Mirabell Gardens and Mirabell Palace is (where Maria and the children sing “Do-Re-Mi”).
USA – Forrest Gump
If you want to check out some of the filming locations of Forrest Gump, you’ll have to travel all over the States. Forrest Gump was filmed in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Arizona, Maine, Montana and Utah. You can find most of the filming locations in South Carolina but you will have to head to Georgia to find the iconic bench where Forrest Gump refers to life as a box of chocolates. On one of our own holidays, we reenacted the running scene from Forrest Gump when we visited Monument Valley in Utah.
London, England – Paddington
Your first stop in London must be, unsurprisingly, Paddington Station. This, after all, is where the lovable bear gets his name! From there, you can take a short trip to the Tilbury Docks in Essex, which have also been in other films such as Batman Begins and Alfie, and then head to Hatfield House in Hertfordshire to recognize some of the scenes from the movie. You will be in for a treat at Hatfield House as it is one of the Treasure Houses of England.
England and France – The Da Vinci Code
Before beginning to plan for a holiday inspired by The Da Vinci Code, you need to first decide if you want to visit the locations that are in the book or the locations that were used in the movie. At times, the filmmakers came across practical limitations to filming. A great example of this is when Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu head to Westminster Abbey. Filming inside the Westminster Abbey (pictured below) was a resounding ‘no’ and so instead they filmed in Lincoln Cathedral and so chances are you would rather visit Westminster Abbey but if you are really interested in film making, Lincoln Cathedral should be on your radar. Either way, a holiday inspired by The Da Vinci Code will make for a fascinating journey full of history and myths.
Greece – Mamma Mia
I have included this film under different circumstances than the other films. This film definitely comes under the category of a movie igniting a travel bug inside of you as opposed to seeing where everything was filmed. In fact, if you went to what you thought was the church that Sophie gets married in you would be bitterly disappointed. It’s way too small and there aren’t even any pews and yet the car park is constantly overflowing. It is without a doubt that after seeing this movie you will have a real urge to visit Greece and see the beautiful white buildings with bright blue roofs on the cliffs by the sea. You absolutely must visit Greece at some point, just don’t go to the Mamma Mia filming locations.
So that’s a wrap! If your favourite movie didn’t make the list perhaps it made it to our honourable mentions: Under the Tuscan Sun, Eat Pray Love, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Sideways, Bottle Shock and Downton Abbey.
About the Author
Rhian Torontow is a Family Travel Consultant with Magical Family Adventures. Rhian creates travel experiences that foster connections in your family that will last a lifetime and transforms your children into open-minded, flexible, well-travelled people. During Rhian’s childhood, her father travelled for work constantly and it was always travel that brought her family back together. You can follow Rhian on Facebook at www.facebook.com/magicalfamilyadventures, Instagram @MagicalFamilyAdventures and you can also connect with her on LinkedIn ca.linkedin.com/in/rhiantorontow/