Old Harry Rocks, Dorset

Box set travel – six ideas for a TV show pilgrimage

Avatar Image
By Stuart Heritage
View Comments

Share

In the past, nobody ever based a holiday around popular TV show filming locations. Imagine how stupid you’d have to be to spend a miserable fortnight digging around inside all the bins in Brooklyn because you’d watched Sesame Street and wanted to see where Oscar the Grouch lived. But the recent rise in box set TV consumption has changed all that. Now we have a raft of dramas, all shot in beautiful pin-sharp HD, with filming locations integral to their storylines. So as a result, these locations have turned into brand new tourist hotspots. I watch a dangerous amount of television, so here’s where I plan to spend my next six getaways.

Dorset, as seen on Broadchurch

Dorset’s Jurassic Coast is a major tourist attraction at the best of times – full of long beaches, stunning cliffs and quaint little towns – but, for me at least, it’s always been lacking when it comes to crowds of people taking photos of each other pretending to be murdered. This year’s ITV drama Broadchurch has seen to that, though. Now people are falling over themselves to see Jack Marshall’s newsagents, and the Sea Brigade Hall (actually an old Methodist church) and, best of all, Pauline Quirke’s caravan. Money well spent.

Annecy, as seen on The Returned

I have to break your heart. The town in the astonishing French zombie drama The Returned isn’t a real town. But all the composite parts can be found around the Lake Annecy region of France. Camille’s house is in Menthon Saint Bernard. The leaky dam is the Tignes Dam. And Sevrier is where you’ll find The Lake Pub, and also hundreds of British nerds saying “Zer Lek Poop” in wholly inappropriate French accents. No word where the underpass is, though. Thank your lucky stars for that.

Annecy, France

Copenhagen, as seen on The Killing

Copenhagen was once simply another Scandinavian city – full of polite people who don’t really mind very much when other polite people wildly overprice their beer. Now, though, it’s teeming with TV tourists scowling enigmatically in their best novelty Christmas jumpers. The Danish tourism site even has specific directions to get to Sarah Lund’s apartment in The Killing, presumably because the current owners love hearing the word ‘Tak’ being yelled at their bedroom window at 3am.

Hawaii, as seen on Lost

Lost is a little older – it’s 10 next year – but that doesn’t stop it from being the perfect opportunity to visit Hawaii, which doubled as The Island. Think of a scene, no matter how obscure, and you’ll be able to visit it. The bamboo forest that bookended the series? Nuuanu Watershed. Mr Cluck’s Chicken Shack? The Dillingham Blvd branch of Popeye’s. The pub where Charlie met his heroin dealer in season one episode 15? Murphy’s Bar and Grill. The church in the final episode that made you feel slightly ripped off by the whole endeavour? A girl’s school on Waialae Avenue that you are absolutely not allowed inside. That’s worth the flight alone, surely.

Nuuanu, Hawaii

Albuquerque, as seen on Breaking Bad

In the last couple of years, Albuquerque has transformed into Breaking Bad central. You can tour some of the show’s major filming locations. You can visit an unofficial Breaking Bad day spa. You can buy commemorative blue doughnuts, Pez figurines that look like Saul or bag after bag of blue rock sugar. Not only is the scenery beautiful but, deep down, who wouldn’t want to spend thousands of pounds travelling to New Mexico exclusively to Instagram the precise spot where you lost all faith in the goodness of people midway through a six-hour Breaking Bad binge?

Baltimore, as seen on The Wire

I’m not really sure why anyone would want to go to Baltimore based on their viewing experience of The Wire – if the show taught us anything, it’s surely that a) there are abandoned sofas everywhere, b) everyone mumbles slang so indecipherably that you genuinely won’t have a clue who anyone is or what anyone is talking about or why anything is happening and c) that Baltimore is awful. And yet, if you travel to Baltimore, you’ll be able to see sights such as the place where Snot Boogie died, the supermarket where Marlo stole a lollipop and the overpass where McNulty crashed his car while listening to The Pogues. Fun times, eh?

Have you ever made a pilgrimage to a TV show location? Let us know below or in the Community section.

Like the look of some of these? Book hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.