The camera spans across an idyllic landscape, we see something particularly intriguing in the background, maybe even recognise a setting as somewhere that we've visited at some point. "œIsn't that..?" or "œAh, that looks lovely, doesn't it?" are common phrases heard when we're stuck in front of the gogglebox engrossed in our favourite films and TV programmes.
An emerging holiday trend is allowing fans of productions such as HBO giants Sex and the City and Game of Thrones, and cult classics like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings to visit the settings of where the household name stars once trod.
Hobbiton is just one example of where the visiting tourist population is solely fans of Peter Jackson's adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic literature: The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. On camera, it's a village in the Shire - home to the famous Bilbo and Frodo Baggins who are both Middle Earth creatures - hobbits. In both of the film trilogies, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, the fictional village is set on a farm in Matamata, New Zealand. Each point of view from set is instantly identifiable as Hobbiton, with small 'Hobbit-hole' cottages and iconic film locations such as the Green Dragon Inn and The Mill being the visiting fan's favourites. The double-arched bridge, green and other structures and gardens also provide tourists with the idea that for the duration of the tour (or even your whole holiday if you rent one of the specialised 'hobbit-hole' cottages), you are really in Middle Earth.
HBO 90's cult classic, Sex and the City generated a worldwide interest in both the cosmopolitan lifestyle of New Yorkers, and the Cosmopolitan cocktail. Now, the city provides tourists and fans of the show the opportunity to shop where Samantha, Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte shopped, gossip where they gossiped, eat where they ate and drink where they drank. With over forty locations throughout New York being featured on the show, it's a great idea to stay in a hotel or apartment near where Carrie Bradshaw's apartment was - in the West Village- and fully live the show's experience.
Game of Thrones is one of the biggest TV shows of all time, generating an insane continuing viewer count of over 7 million people watching each episode avidly. Now, jumping on the bandwagon are several companies looking to take advantage of the show's success and selling tickets for fan's to visit the fictional capital of King's Landing, which was filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The immaculately preserved, medieval-walled city underwent many fights for the throne of the Ottoman Empire - a history eerily similar to the storyline of the TV show. Other filming locations include emerald-green countryside of Ireland, which plays host to many of the show's 'travelling' shots, and Iceland, which proves to be a suitable filming location for 'life beyond the Wall'.
Celebrating the anniversary of the release of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, meant a travel guide documenting the real life shooting locations for some of the film's most iconic scenes was released to the general public. The infographic, produced by Lucasfilm added, "œLet's face it, since most of us were kids, we've wanted to visit the Star Wars galaxy. Although we haven't yet achieved hyperspace travel, you can still visit the galaxy's most iconic locations here on Earth." Primarily spread across Tunisia, America and Europe, the locations include Hotel Sidi Driss, the setting for many a scene at the Luke and Anakin Skywalker's home on Tatooine, where fans can stay the night in Luke's home, with a Star-Wars themed bar nearby for the truly hardcore fans. The Tatooine set was built in the desert exclusively for Episode I, with the buildings based on real-life traditional Tunisian structures and was left as a ruin/tourist destination. The American shooting locations include the picturesque Redwood State and National Parks in California, which was used to film the scenes on the planet of the Forest Moon of Endor, home to the Ewoks, iconically hairy film characters, and Villa Arconati, on the edge of Lake Como served as the setting of Anakin and Padme's first kiss.
So whether you feel like following in the footsteps of adventurous hobbits, or visiting a galaxy that perhaps isn't so far away, you can now visit the scenes that were once only available through the screen of your TV. Just make sure you have peace of mind with long stay travel insurance from Alpha!
Alpha Travel Insurance and alphatravelinsurance.co.uk are trading names of Infinity Insurance Solutions Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority: FRN 528912. Registered Office: 1 Tower View, Kings Hill, West Malling, ME19 4UY. Company Registration: 4319592. (c) Infinity Insurance Solutions Ltd; All rights reserved.