By Nathan Lee, TLE Correspondent
Brits are choosing holidays to countries and landmarks made famous by TV and film, according to new research, with New Zealand, Malta, the USA and Dorset among the most popular destinations.
One in four adults now regularly pick where to go on their next holiday based on filming locations used in their favourite TV shows or films. New Zealand, used to film much of The Lord of the Rings came top in the poll of film locations we would most like to visit, followed closely by New York, where fans of Sex and the City want to retrace the steps of heroine Carrie Bradshaw.
The HBO phenomenon, Game of Thrones, featured three times in the top 10, with viewers now travelling to The Causeway Coast and Glens in Northern Ireland, Iceland and Malta off the back of the success of the hit fantasy epic. Moyra Locke, Head of Marketing at Northern Ireland Screen, said the TV hit is “a magnificent showcase for many stunning locations across Northern Ireland”, adding that they hope “Game of Thrones will do for Northern Ireland what Lord of the Rings did for New Zealand.”
The study of 2,000 adults found almost half have countries or landmarks they would like to visit after seeing it on their TV or cinema screen, and one in five even admitted they dream of visiting the locations used in their favourite TV show or film so they can take a selfie next to a famous spot.
New Zealand came top of the most popular TV holiday choices, after being used as the main location in the Lord of the Rings series, followed by Sex and the City’s home of New York City. Third place went to The Giant’s Causeway, in Northern Ireland, one of several Game of Thrones locations to feature in the poll, along with The Hangover’s location of Las Vegas.
The popularity of murder mystery series Broadchurch, which was partly filmed in West Bay, in Dorset, saw it voted in at number five. Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland, which featured in the Harry Potter films, came sixth, followed by Paris, used to film Inception, and Benidorm, in Spain – home to the ITV hit of the same name. Iceland and Malta – both used to film the Game of Thrones completed the top ten.
Colin Smith, Director of HBO Home Entertainment UK, which commissioned the research to mark the release of Game of Thrones Season 5 on digital HD, said: “When choosing a holiday destination, there are already a large number of things to consider – things like cost, travel time and weather.
“Films and TV shows are filmed in such a variety of places nowadays; they allow us to get a glimpse of parts of the world we may have otherwise never considered as a holiday destination. While we might have only considered the more well-known tourist destinations before, some shows are introducing us to countries or cities away from the beaten track, and are helping to broaden our horizons when it comes to our travel plans.”
Other locations to feature in the poll include Ko Phi Phi Leh, in Thailand – from The Beach (15), Notting Hill, in London, from the film of the same title (19) and even Marbella, Spain, after it has been featured in episodes of The Only Way is Essex. (22)
Kings Cross station, in London, used in the Harry Potter films (16) also made it into the top 20, along with The Beverly Wilshire Hotel, in Los Angeles, (24) which features heavily in Pretty Woman.
Researchers also found films and TV shows aren’t just affecting where we go on holiday though, as two thirds admit to spending time on their break catching up on the latest releases. One in four even avoid watching certain films or TV box sets so they can ‘save them’ to watch while they are away.
And three in ten reckon they are now more likely to spend their time on holiday watching a film or TV show on their tablet or laptop than they are reading a book.