Films are great. It’s a Sunday afternoon, you’ve got nowhere pressing to be, you’ve done all your reading for Monday (or at least as much as you physically can), and the time comes for you to simply lose yourself in stunning visuals, an amazing plot and a gorgeously crafted soundtrack. Sure, we love watching movies for escapism, but in 2016 it’s so easy to actually go to the places that become our favourite on screen haunts. With so many films using real life locations to set far off deserts, castles, alien planets and historical fantasy lands, it’s very tempting to take inspiration and base your next summer holiday on your favourite film or TV show. So here are a few of our film dream vacations!
Croatia (Game of Thrones)
Do you remember the big Croatia trend of 2015? When every single person on your Instagram feed had the exact same photograph of the exact same waterfalls? (They were from Krka National Park to be precise.) Well that was almost certainly in part inspired by Game of Thrones, which shoots in Croatia for the on screen locations of Kings Landing, Meereen and Quarth. While it may be a beautiful country with all of the sun, sea and edgy music festivals your heart could desire, if you feel like getting your fantasy nerd on, visit the cities of Dubrovnik and Split. See the tiny streets and majestic architecture which become synonymous with the Lannisters and the palace where Daenarys trains her dragons. We don’t begrudge our friends for posting Croatia pictures at all. It’s incredibly cool.
New Zealand (Lord of the Rings)
New Zealand is definitely a place made more famous by its association with Lord of the Rings. In New Zealand, you can visit literally everywhere in the fan favourite franchise, from Hobbiton to Mordor, with actual tours available to the studio filming locations. But you don’t need to take an expensive tour to feel like you’re in Tolkein’s land. The rolling hils, fjords and rivers of the landscape are enough to make you feel like you’re a part of a real life tracking shot. New Zealand is naturally spectacular. A must visit is Kaitoke National Park, which doubles up as Rivendell.
New York City (Breakfast at Tiffany’s/When Harry Met Sally/ Sex and the City/Annie Hall and many more)
The city that never sleeps is one of the first places on every movie lover’s travel wish list. The place where love blossoms, drama unfolds and experimental culture has space to find itself, New York City is top to tail full of cool travel spots. Wander through Central Park like Giselle from Enchanted, or take a sneaky peak into the New York Public Library, the place Carrie Bradshaw was supposed to get married. You could even go and visit Katz’s Delicatessen, which is where the infamous When Harry Met Sally orgasm scene happened.
Tunisia (Star Wars)
The deserts and canyons of Tunisia double as Luke Skywalker’s home town of Tatooine, as well as the Dune Sea from Episode IV of the franchise. With stunning, isolated landscapes that you can actually go and visit yourself, it’s no wonder George Lucas chose Tunisia as the site upon which to realise his alien space opera.
Harry Potter (UK and Ireland)
Going to university in the UK, us Exeter students are lucky in that we have the world’s favourite film inspired tourist spots right on our doorstep. Travellers flock from all over the world, hoping to capture photo evidence of the sites used in the Harry Potter films, and those that inspired them. We’re obsessed with Malham Cove and the Cliffs of Moher, which played a part in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Two awe-inspiring travel destinations.
For those who are looking for a little more magic in their lives, Alnwick Castle in Northumberland and Christ Church College of Oxford University serve as popular places to visit which have both masqueraded as Hogwarts!
Of course, being Exeterians, we don’t even have to travel far to visit Harry Potter tourist spots. The Old Firehouse, allegedly J.K. Rowling’s inspiration behind The Leaky Cauldron, is practically walking distance from most of us. As is the frequently Instagrammed Gandy Street, the inspiration behind Diagon Alley. We here at Lifestyle believe that they’re two of the places that visitors to Exeter shouldn’t leave without seeing!