Every person at one point in their lives has seen a film or television programme with a backdrop that completely captures their hearts and minds. The camera depicts the place for the audience in such a way, that it is love at first sight and the location automatically gets added to our holiday wishlist.
Whether it be Kevin McAllister walking aimlessly through the streets of New York in Home Alone 2, or Bill Murray trying to find himself amidst the bright lights of Tokyo in Lost in Translation, if the relationship between film set and actor clicks, it can leave a lasting impression on us that impacts the way we see certain places for ever.
Top 10 Famous Film and TV Sets
Being a Guru of Holidays, I find myself becoming inspired to travel maybe more so than others. So I have decided to bring two passions of mine to you with the hope that I may inspire you to take a trip to somewhere beautiful that you’ve never been. So here you are in no particular order, the Top 10 Famous Film and TV sets from across the world!
1. Ko Phing Kan – James Bond Island – The Man With the Golden Gun (1974)
It is hard to find a person who has never had some form of interaction with Agent 007 in their childhood. I used to love watching all the old films and seeing the various different portrayals of Bond stylishly defy reality all over the world. Sean Connery played the role fantastically and Daniel Craig is most definitely doing it justice presently, but the stand out James Bond for me is and always will be Roger Moore. I have particular fond memories of The Man With the Golden Gun and the absolutely stunning cinematography which portrayed Ko Phing Kan in Thailand in the most incredible of ways. The film has such a lasting legacy that it is now more renowned across the globe as ‘James Bond Island’…the power of film!
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2. Malta – Gladiator (2000)
This Ridley Scott epic was a game changer in the world of cinema. Russell Crowe gives a fantastic portrayal of Maximus; a former Roman Army general who suffers a major fall from grace and ends up forced to fight for his life for the entertainment of others. The film was credited with reigniting public interest in historical epic films. That is quite an achievement all right. For me though the biggest achievement is the incredible set design and locations that we see the whole way throughout the 155 minute running time. Malta was the place that was chosen to depict Ancient Rome. Aside from the over one million dollars that got invested into building a replica Colosseum, there was some truly incredible natural shots of the Maltese countryside. This most definitely is an accurate justification of just how incredible a place Malta really is.
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3. Bruges – In Bruges (2008)
My personal favourite Irish film. The plot is brilliant, both Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell give nearly flawless performances and it is next to impossible not to fall in love with the city of Bruges. The romantic scenes of Colin Farrell’s character and his love interest enjoying a romantic meal in the town square leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. The legendary scene with Yuri and his explanation of how ‘Zee Alcoves’ are just beautiful had me in stitches, but Yuri hit the nail on the head. The whole way throughout the film, Bruges’ supposed lack of appeal is the butt of many jokes, but in a way you definitely begin to become endeared to the city by the end of it. The Belfry is an incredible sight to see in person and something that you should definitely add to your own to do list for sure.
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4. Belfast – Game Of Thrones (2011-Present)
Game of Thrones has taken the world by storm since it first went on air in 2011. It is an amazing achievement in the world of television to see such a large production for a small screen programme. It has a series of truly breathtaking locations that would blow the minds of most. Daenerys Targaryen’s ventures through the desert with her Dragons are incredible to watch and make you long for a holiday to sunnier climates. However my favourite shooting location is a lot closer to home than you would think. Belfast’s natural beauty has a huge part to play in the landscape of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The amazing cliffs and natural beauty of the northern coastline have been portrayed perfectly. The end result of this has seen a really popular tourist industry form around the theme of ‘Games of Thrones Tours’. They are a bundle of fun and something that would be great for a day or weekend trip.
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5. Bali/Rome – Eat Pray Love (2010)
This woman can do no wrong in my eyes. She has been in some serious classics over the years. Very few of her films can match the aesthetic beauty of Bali and Rome in Eat Pray Love. She plays the roll of a business woman who seemed to have a perfect life on paper. However when everything starts to crumble around her own personal life with the breakup of her marriage, she decides to find herself with a year out travelling. It is so true to life that we often have to uproot ourselves from our surroundings and explore new pastures so we can gather our thoughts again. That’s why I have such a respect for this film and oh my, does Julia end up in some stunning places. She visits three separate locations but without doubt, the two that stick with me the most are her exploration of Italian cuisine in Rome and her pursuit of life balance and love on the beautiful island of Bali. Feast your eyes on the trailer and see the amazing scenery for yourself.
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6. Paris – Midnight in Paris (2011)
This film was just oozing with charm from start to finish. I have always been a huge Woody Allen fan but Midnight in Paris really pushed this onto another level. I have often dreamt about meeting my heroes from generations gone by and what I would say to them if I ever had the chance to interview them. This film had me awestruck from start to finish. It had a great plot but it was like the best history lesson I had ever received. Owen Wilson is so likeable and Marion Cotillard is the most beautiful woman in the world as far as I’m concerned. The bigger picture of the film though, is the insight you get into one of the most magical cities the world over. Paris has everything; romance, class and culture. Once you step foot in it yourself for the first time you will be hooked from moment one.
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7. New York – Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
The word ‘icon’ gets thrown around a lot these days. However I am pretty sure I can pinpoint the one and only appropriate usage of the word..when it is applied to basically everything Audrey Hepburn does in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. What a woman! Hearing her say the words ‘Oh how I love New York’ is the first thing goes through my head every time every time I see the New York cityscape appear on any sort of screen. Seeing her stroll down Fifth Avenue is just one of those things that will never leave you once you’ve seen it. The wider shots of New York are exactly the same too and it leaves you with such a burning desire to check it out for yourself. The best thing about New York though is that when you do eventually see the real thing for yourself, it does not disappoint! :)
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8. London – Notting Hill (1999)
Everybody loves watching Hugh Grant charmingly trip over himself during his sentences in a way that only Hugh Grant could. When you add to the mix; Julia Roberts and the Notting Hill area of London, you really do have a recipe for success. It is very rare that a film can portray so accurately, the daily life of a city and its inhabitants. From the busy market place to the Savoy Hotel in London, this film really does give you an excellent insight into just how pretty and vibrant the city of London can be. The film is cast to perfection and seeing them interact with their surroundings really does make Notting Hill a joy to watch. I really am quite lucky to have a sister in London.. ;)
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9. Greece – Mamma Mia (2008)
‘Wow….just wow!’ That was the first thought that ran through my head when I saw this film in the cinema way back in 2008. The thing that surprised me though was that this reaction wasn’t for the film, it was in honour and jealousy of the breathtaking Greek islands where Amanda Seyfried and Meryl Streep got to spend so much time filming. I really did love the film too, don’t get me wrong. However I must admit the lasting memory for me will always be Kalokairi Island and its stunning blue waters. It was one of the rare occasions in life where I had to ask myself ‘Holy ****, do places exist actually exist in the world?” Well the answer is; yes they do and YES it really is that beautiful in real life. :)
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10. Hawaii – Lost (2004-2010)
I still to this day have no clue what was going on, on that island. After the first few amazing seasons, I felt as if the plot descended into madness a little bit. With me being the die-hard and loyal TV lover that I am though, I decided to stick it out. A major influencer on this was the amazing Hawaiian locations that they commonly shot scenes in. I loved watching the likes of Jack, Hurley and Locke walk aimlessly through the Hawaiian hills and jungle, just so I could appreciate a view of Hawaii to a level that I had never experienced before. It really is a tropical paradise and one of the few remaining, naturally beautiful places on earth.
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When we see things on a big or small screen, we often subconsciously distance ourselves from what we see and think that it will forever be out of reach. It really is not the case though. Film and television sets are one of the biggest driving urges behind my desire to travel. What we watch on film and television, can inspire us to no end but when we encounter these places in person, this level of inspiration then reaches a whole new level.
So why not allow yourself to visit one of these famous film and TV sets, if not your own personal favourite in 2015…because all it really takes is a few clicks and you’re there….Simples! :)