When it comes to travel inspiration you need not look further than the big screen. With films dominating our culture it’s no wonder we all want to jet off to the scenes in our favourite movies. With the movies you can lose yourself, but with travel you can find yourself. Here I show you some of the most iconic movie scenes and the locations they were filmed in.
Lord of the Rings
You can’t talk about movie locations without mention of the epic that is Lord of the Rings. This three part fantasy takes us on a journey through Middle Earth and Mordor. But where do these mystic lands exist on our little green and blue planet?
Well it goes without saying that LOTR has quite a bit of CGI going on, but most of the scenes are actually natural beauties. Many scenes were filmed in New Zealand. Though CGI was used throughout the series to show us Orc Armies and Wizardry, little was needed in creating the back drop of the movies with the stunning natural landscapes on offer in New Zealand. In other words Hobbiton really does exist, and you can visit too! Walk around Frodo’s Hobbit Hole down Bag End, but mind your head!
Every Rom-Com ever
Sometimes it can seem like the writer’s down at Hollywood might be sticking to a certain formula when it comes to the ol’ romantic comedy…. girl meets boy, some kind of class divide, poignant scenes walking alone in a busy street, will they / won’t they, finishing in a marriage and baby montage. Well regardless of the variation of this, the top location is bound to be New York. From ‘The Devil Wears Prada‘ to ‘Maid in Manhattan‘ they’ve all been there and done that. Classic scenes include Sandra Bullock on her knees at Federal Plaza in ‘The Proposal‘ and the ‘Sex and The City’ girls shopping in Bergdorf Goodman Store on 5th Avenue.With hundreds and hundreds of movies shot here you can spend a whole week picking out your favourite spots. If you’re planning a trip to New York then make sure to hit up Trivago for the best prices on hotels.
*Cue iconic theme music*
With a franchise spanning over three decades choosing which locations to feature from Star Wars is no mean feat. This institution of a franchise takes us from The Moons of Endor to the barren deserts of Tatooine. Though the franchise has grown from it’s origins in the 70’s with make-shift effects to the second trilogy and now onto the much anticipated third trilogy, it has always been a cult classic. Some favourite backdrops of the movies include Theed Palace in Naboo, the ever expanding snow and ice of Hoth and the Underwater World of the Gungans. For truly stunning Star Wars themed getaway, head to Lake Como to see Queen Amidala’s secret retreat.
If you’re looking for a Star Wars fix a little closer to home then be sure to head to Madame Tussauds London to see their latest outer space collection. Here you can see the finest works of wax of all your favourite characters, including a rather furry Chewbacca.
While you keep on hoping for your letter from Hogwarts you can (almost) satisfy your wizarding cravings by visiting the supposedly ‘real’ locations in which the castle was filmed. A British book of heritage (I may or may not be obsessed) the films were mostly filmed in Britain, and rightly so. The magic of Hogwarts is unfortunately spread out all across the country. From the Great Hall in Oxford, to the Castle Grounds in Scotland there are so many places across the country to get a slice of the Harry Potter experience. It’s no wonder that the architectural style of Christ Church College lends itself so well for a magical atmosphere. At the college you can see the stone stair case to the Great Hall – floating candles, however, are not guaranteed. For the great outdoors of Hogwarts grounds you’ll want to head to Scotland’s mountains of Glencoe and Glen Nevis, as you take a walk be sure to bring the binoculars to spot the rare sighted Hippogriff. Failing that you can always head to the Warner Studio Tour and see all the magic for yourself.
The 2012 musical smash hit Les Miserables is not short of dramatic scenery. From prostitutes in the old docks to the revolution taking to the streets it all went down in Les Mis. However, no matter how French the movie appeared to be, most of the film was actually shot in England. The opening scenes of the movie see Hugh Jackman belting it out in the rain (no surprise it’s England then) in the docks, which are not in France, but our very own Portsmouth. Though many scenes were shot using Pinewood Studios, the cast also took to the streets and other English locations include Chatham Historic Dockyard in Kent, St Sepulchre’s Chapel in London and the River Avon in Bath.
A great location to visit is The Old Royal Naval College, which features in plenty of other movies including Thor, James Bond Skyfall and The King’s Speech.
Lawrence of Arabia
Perhaps one of the first great movies, this classic has some real dramatic scenery and beautiful imagery – all way before the days of CGI and photoshop. With many an Arabian desert this film has it’s fair share of beautiful backdrops. Most stunning is Wadi Rum in Jordan, with it’s red sandy planes interrupted by rocks erupting from the ground. With tensions in Jordan tourism is not advised right now, but for a more accessible destination you can try the dunes of Cabo de Gata in Spain. This stunning natural park is a great spot for those travel photographers out there.
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
This legendary oriental film came to our screens in 2000 and made us all think twice about messing with monks. Set in rural China the backdrop to this film is beyond amazing. With the thick leaves of the bamboo local to the country, and the architecture you can identify from a mile, it’s no doubt you’re in China. The real location here is spread out across the country, but many scenes were filmed in the town of Hengdian. Hengdian is home to the world’s largest movie studio, stretching out across the mountains of the region. This is the go to studio for films set in the east and boasts movie titles such as ‘Hero‘ and ‘Kingdom‘.
If you’re looking to head to China be sure to check Bravofly for your flights.
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Though this movie is out of this world the iconic landing of the alien spacecraft is very much in this world. The famous space landing (not the Armstrong one) happens in Wyoming at Devil’s Tower. This natural wonder has quite a history. It’s America’s first National Monument, declared in by Rossevelt in 1906. Though geologists are not entirely sure how this rock formation came to be, I think we can all agree it’s the perfect landing pad for extra terrestrial life to touch down and make friends. If you’re looking to visit Devil’s Tower then you’ll need to fly into Casper Wyoming.
So now you have no excuse not to shut down Netflix and get out and see the scenes from the movies for yourselves. Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever been to any of these places and the best things to do in town.