We’re blessed with living on an island that boasts a lot of natural beauty – and it’s easy to see why filmmakers and television producers find inspiration from this.
From period dramas to Hollywood blockbusters, the UK’s stunning landscapes form the backdrop for some of our most cherished films and television shows.
So, if you’re looking for a fun trip away, why not plan to see where the action unfolded in your favourite?
‘Set-jetting’ or ‘screen tourism’ is an increasingly popular trend – not least because it’s a way to deliver a family-friendly holiday that celebrates a shared passion.
Plus, with so much choice across the UK, when it comes to filming destinations, this is a great idea you can still look to do during the pandemic if you’re unable to fly away.
Of all of the UK’s beautiful destinations, the Lake District perhaps tops the list – with some truly incredible scenery that’s bound to captivate.
Yet, you can add to the long list of reasons to have a Lake District break on your bucket list by considering the filming locations you can explore while you spend time among its breathtaking backdrops.
For example, the otherworldly charm of Derwentwater and Thirlmere in Cumbria were both used to depict alien worlds in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, while Shap and Bampton were used for cult film Withnail and I.
From Langdale Lakes in Snow White and The Huntsman to Coniston’s Yew Tree Farm in Miss Potter, there’s a great variety of ‘screen tourism’ locations here – and something to suit every member of your family.
The rise of screen tourism has undoubtedly been of huge benefit to the south west of England – with three hit TV shows in particular fuelling a rise in visitors.
Period drama Poldark has been one of the biggest Sunday night shows of the past five years and is said to have influenced as many as 14% of Cornwall’s visitors according to tourism chiefs.
Follow Ross Poldark’s footsteps with a walk from Chapel Porth beach to St Agnes Head (a great spot to see the sunset) or check out Charlestown port and Holywell Bay.
Close to here you’ll also find Port Isaac, the picturesque setting for ITV comedy drama Doc Martin.
Guided tours can explain where the show – due a tenth and final series in 2021 – is filmed.
Finally, it might be a couple of years since Broadchurch was on air, but this ITV detective series fuelled a huge rise in interest for Bridport and West Bay in West Dorset.
Whether you’re catching up with it on Britbox or are just a huge fan of this award-winning show, the incredible Jurassic Coast is well worth building into your itinerary.
TV shows don’t get much bigger than HBO’s blockbuster Game of Thrones – and Northern Ireland offers you the chance to see where many of its key scenes were shot.
The country is revelling in its role as the ‘Home of Thrones’, with a series of trails and tours to help fans find their way.
There are about 25 different filming locations to explore here – including Castle Ward (Winterfell), The Dark Hedges (where Arya Stark escaped from King’s Landing) and Cushendun Caves (where Lady Melisandre gave birth).
Even non-fans among your traveling party will be able to appreciate the sheer beauty of some of Northern Ireland’s most magnificent sights.
Wales has enjoyed something of a filming boom in recent years – which means there are so many choices when it comes to a screen tourism break.
From The Crown to His Dark Materials right through to Gavin and Stacey, there’s bound to be a stop-off that suits someone in your family or friendship group.
Highlights include Southerndown Beach in the Vale of Glamorgan where David Tennant’s Doctor and Rose made their unforgettably emotional farewell, Penrhyn Castle that hosted Jeremy Irons in Watchmen and St Donat’s, one of several Welsh locations to feature in the BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.
Hopefully that should provide the inspiration you need for a screen tourism break in the UK.
It’s by far from an exhaustive list though, don’t forget:
- Oxford – a city that has been the backdrop for Inspector Morse and its spin off series’ Lewis and Endeavour
- Highclere Castle – The real life setting of Downton Abbey
- Lyme Park in Cheshire – Which doubled as the Pemberley estate in BBC’s Pride and Prejudice and was home to the iconic ‘lake scene’
- Wollaton Hall – The Nottinghamshire venue doubled as Wayne Manor in Batman film The Dark Knight Rises
- Alnwick Castle – Which featured in the Harry Potter films and offers visitors chance to embark upon a spot of broomstick training.