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Travel
July 07, 2015

The Ultimate Guide For The Travelling Fangirl

Text by Tanisha Choudhury

Blur the lines between fantasy and reality and indulge your inner fangirl. Sign up for these tours based on your favourite movies and TV shows and discover the real magic of the locations used in filming them

1. Harry Potter series


Location: If you’re in London, take a guided tour of Warner Bros Studios, the ultimate treat for Harry Potter fans. Walk around the Great Hall, see Hagrid’s Hut and shop in Diagon Alley. Since many original sets and props used in all the movies are on display, you’ll get a taste of the filmmaking magic that goes into bringing this fantasy world to life. After this, head to locations around London such as The Leaky Cauldron and end the day by trying your luck at platform 9 3/4. Diehard fans of the series can opt for the longer tour which includes sites around England, like Lacock village to see Godric’s Hollow and Gloucester Cathedral to see the Gryffindor Common Room, among others.
Duration: The Studio tour along with locations around London is a daylong affair, while a Studio tour with locations around UK can take up to two days.
Verve recommends: Don’t forget to stop by the Studio shop and pick up some Chocolate Frogs or Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.

2. Downton Abbey


Location: If you love watching the subtle unfolding of the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family, then head to this tour of Downton Country. Visit the picturesque village of Bampton, in the Cotswolds, where scenes of Downton Village are filmed. Then visit Swinbrook in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, and stay at the Swan Inn, a boutique pub, that Lady Sybil and Branson eloped to. Finally, head to Berkshire and visit Highclere Castle, the Victorian manor that plays the role of Downton Abbey.
Duration: The tour can be done in a day or three, depending on how much you want to immerse yourself in the world of Downton.
Verve recommends: While at Highclere Castle, sip tea in the café, stroll the gardens and feel like a real-life English aristocrat.

3. Sherlock (BBC)


Location: If the twisty mind-games of BBC’s Sherlock are your thing, sign up for a tour of filming locations across central London including Bayswater, the City of London, Belgravia and Westminster among others. During this tour, you can stop by Irene Adler’s house, visit St. Bart’s Hospital where that iconic last scene from The Reichenbach Fall was shot and visit the house that stands for 221B Baker Street.
Duration: The tour takes approximately three to three and a half hours.
Best time to visit: Speedy’s café is only open from Monday to Friday.
Verve recommends: After the tour, stop by Speedy’s Café for a quick bite. It’s the cafe under Holmes and Watson’s flat in the show and has been used as a filming location.

4. Sex and the City


Location: To see New York through the eyes of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda, step onto a guided bus tour that involves various locations from the TV show. You can visit the shops they visit, eat at the restaurants they eat at and drink at the bars they frequent. The locations include the site of Carrie and Big’s wedding rehearsal dinner and Carrie’s famous brownstone stoop among many others.
Duration: The guided bus tour takes about three and a half hours.
Verve recommends: During your visit to Scout, the bar Aidan and Steve opened on the show, sip on some Cosmopolitans and live the Carrie life.

5. Midnight in Paris


Location: If you were mesmerized by Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, go on this tour of some of the most charming sites in Paris and let the city enchant you. Start by admiring Monet’s Les Nymphéas paintings at the Musée de l’Orangerie. Then head to the Rodin Museum, where Carla Bruni played the museum guide in the film. Don’t forget to visit the historic Shakespeare and Company, the bookstore Gil is seen leaving in the film and later take a stroll along the River Seine. You can also stop by Le Grand Véfour, an iconic Paris restaurant where the lunch scene with Inez’s parents was shot.
Duration: The tour can take anywhere from half a day to a day, but really you could spend a lifetime exploring the delights of Woody Allen’s Paris.
Verve recommends: After your tour, do head to Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, Paris’ famous flea market where Gil meets Gabrielle, to pick up a piece of Parisian history you can bring back home with you.

6. Amelie


Location: If Amelie melted your heart with its quiet charm, then grab a Vespa and see the Montmartre of Amelie Poulain. Ride along Rue Saint-Vincent like Amelie and Nino and visit Épicerie Collignon, the grocery store from the movie. Ride to canal Saint-Martin to skip stones like Amelie and visit the metro station Lamarck-Caulaincourt, also featured in the movie.
Duration: The tour lasts about three to three and a half hours.
Verve recommends: After the tour, stop for a bite at Café des Deux Moulins, the café where Amelie was a waitress.

7. Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies


Location: If you are among those who dream of making a pilgrimage to Middle Earth, then head to New Zealand and sign up for any one of the many LOTR and The Hobbit themed holidays. A visit to Matamata in the North Island is a must as this is where the Shire was shot. It is also where the village of Hobbiton has been built. Visit Wellington’s Hutt River to see River Anduin and to Kaitoke Regional Park to see Rivendell. Head to the South Island to see many more locations including Dimrill Dale, Chetwood Forest and Pelennor Fields among others.
Duration: There are planned holidays ranging from seven to twenty one days.
Verve recommends: In the South Island pay a visit to the home of Jens Hansen, the goldsmith who created the rings used in production. While there, you can view one of the original rings and buy copies in 9 and 18ct gold.

8. Lost


Location: If you’re still mourning the end of this cult action-adventure series, re-live the experience of The Island by tracing the steps of your favourite characters from Honululu, across Oahu. The tours include views of the Hawaiian shores, along with filming locations and sets from the show, most of which are still intact.
Duration: There are organized tours for two hours, five hours and eight hours.
Verve recommends: After the tour, stop for a bite at the Orchids restaurant in Halekulani Hotel, known to be a regular haunt of show’s cast.

9. The Sound of Music


Location: If you love the von Trapp family and believe that the ‘hills are alive with the sound of music’, sign up for a tour of the Trapp family home and other film locations. Visit Mirabell Gardens and Pegasus Fountain where Maria dances with the children. Also see Leopoldskron Palace, where the family lived in the film, and the convent where Maria lived as a young girl. The film is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, with great pomp, including an exhibition at the Salzburg Marionette Theater and the show Sound of Salzburg, running all year round.
Duration: The tour takes approximately four hours.
Verve recommends: After the tour, attend the Sound of Salzburg Show and Dinner, which involves musical performances of the most famous melodies of Salzburg, including music by Mozart and from The Sound of Music movie.

10. Star Wars


Location: If you’re a Star Wars fan and want to visit planet Tatooine, then take a tour of the real Tunisian town Tatouine, which inspired the name of the planet and see many original sets and filming locations. Visit the Dune Sea where R2-D2 and C-3PO crashed in Episode IV. You can also see several of the best preserved Ksars or fortified castles in this area which were used as the slave quarters in the Phantom Menace. If you head to The Yardangs in Chott El-Gharsa, you can see almost the complete set of Mos Espa.
Duration: The tour can take half a day to a few days, depending on the locations visited.
Verve recommends: After the tour you can, not just visit, but actually live in Luke Skywalker’s home, because the cave dwelling is now the Hotel Sidi Driss, where props from the movie and Star Wars fans abound.

11. Breaking Bad


Location: If you’re craving more Breaking Bad, head to Albuquerque, New Mexico where the show was filmed and set. The tour includes many famous locations from the show like Walter White’s house, his carwash, Jessie’s house, Saul’s office, Tuco’s Headquarters, the DEA Building and of course, Los Pollos Hermanos.
Duration: The tour takes about three and a half hours.
Verve recommends: For a truly special experience, sign up for the Breaking Bad RV tour and visit the locations in a replica of the RV used by Walt and Jessie. This tour also includes lunch at the iconic Los Pollos Hermanos.

12. Game of Thrones


Location: This epic saga is shot in various exotic locales across the world and you can visit them depending on which part of George R. R. Martin’s expansive world you would like to submerge yourself in.
Croatia – If you want to wander the streets of Meereen, head to Split in Croatia where you can visit Diocletian’s Palace, and see the palace basements that became Daenarys’ throne room. You can also see Klis Fortress where other scenes from the show were filmed.
Iceland – To visit the lands North of the Wall, sign up for a tour of Iceland and see the landscape of Lake Myvatn, filmed in the show. Walk the land that Jon Snow, Ygritte, and the Free Folk cross to reach the Wall, and then see the ice Wall. You can also visit the area where Sam Tarly was attacked by the White Walkers.
Northern Ireland – For an experience of Winterfell, take a tour of Northern Ireland. Here you can visit Tollymore Forest Park, where the Starks found the direwolf pups in Season 1. You can also view the 16th century castle used as the location of Winterfell, Robb’s camp, and the place where Theon Greyjoy returns to the Iron Islands.
Duration:
Croatia – The tour takes about four to five hours.
Iceland – The tour is five days long.
Northern Ireland – The tour takes about a day.
Verve recommends: If you visit Iceland during the winter, don’t forget to go chasing the ethereal Northern Lights.

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