Who wouldn’t want to escape into their favourite films or books? Well… now you can! From Hogwarts to Hobbiton we have selected our top picks of fictional places you can visit in real life!
Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings
Yes, it’s real folks! Bilbo Baggins’ home in Hobbiton can be found in Matamata, New Zealand. Matamata is two hours south of Auckland in New Zealand. The Party Tree, the arched bridge, and Bilbo Baggins’ home are highlights of this permanent reconstruction of the original sets for the Peter Jackson trilogy. “Not all those who wander are lost” but just in case you are easily lost, the best way to see the shire is to join one of the organized tours by Hobbiton Tours.
Tatooine from Star Wars: A New Hope
Ever thought, “I want to learn the ways of the Force?” Then what better place to start than the home of Luke Skywalker himself. A traditional Berber house in the Tunisian village of Matmata served as the Skywalker home in the George Lucas epic, and the other sites nearby stood in for the distant planet of Tatooine. Visitors can spot a few of the original Star Wars props and decor hanging here and there.
Winterfell from Game of Thrones
Winter is coming! Are you as much of a Game of Thrones fan as we are? Then Castle Ward in Northern Ireland is the place to be. The castle is located only 40 minutes away from Belfast and is easily accessible (unlike it is in the show). The location was mostly used for interior shots of the castle however some establishing shots were taken from outside the castle walls. If you are a Game Of Thrones fan, this should definitely be a place to visit.
Arendelle from Disney’s Frozen
As everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows, Arendelle is the home of Queen Elsa and Princess Ana. But did you know that Ardendelle is based on a real place? You can actually visit the kingdom in real life, or the closest representation to the kingdom. The cold might not bother a certain queen, but be sure to wrap up as high winds get awfully chilly.
Neverland from Peter Pan
Neverland can be found in Vietnam’s scenic Halong Bay. While it may not include the anti-aging properties of Neverland, the beauty of Halong Bay will be more than enough to make up for that.
Pandora from Avatar
One of the most visually stunning films in the past few years would have to be James Cameron’s Avatar. The movie was a milestone in the way CGI had come in the way of films. However, CGI didn’t make up the entire movie like many would be led to believe. Several places featured in Avatar’s Pandora are real-life places. For example, the prominent mountain form featured in the film is a true to life location known as the Hallelujah Mountains. The area is absolutely breathtaking and looks as if you are actually in the film.
The Ewok Village from Star Wars Return Of The Jedi
The Ewok Village from Star Wars is a unique scene from the film franchise made up in a forest and features small huts along the sides of trees. Star Wars fans will be happy to know this is actually a proper place located in Costa Rica. While you won’t be able to live in small huts amongst Ewoks, you will be able to live in much nicer houses made into trees. The small village also features zip-lines from place to place.
Paradise Falls from Pixar’s Up
Pixar took direct inspiration from a real-life place known as Angel Falls located in Venezuela. Pixar spent weeks taking notes on Angel Falls and even sent several teams to visit the falls so they could do it justice in the film. Keep an eye out for a rickety house carried by a thousand balloons. If any could make that happen, it’s Disney.
The Canyon City from Indiana Jones
One of the most unique locations featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was a city seemingly built into the side of a mountain. This city exists in actual life and was mostly used naturally for the filming of the movie. The city, known as Petra, was said to have been created by a group of people known as the Nabataeans who were known for creating their cities by carving them right into the stone.
Mordor from Lord Of The Rings
Okay, so you can’t actually travel to Mordor. You can, however, travel to the place Mordor was filmed. Even though it won’t have the Eye of Sauron or any of the cool green screen effects, it will offer a beautiful landscape to hike. There is a mountain that shares a resemblance to that of Mount Doom in the films. This mountain can be found in Tongariro National Park in New Zealand. Tongariro National Park is a popular place to hike as it usually has great weather and offers seasonal hikers quite a challenge.
Hogwarts Express from Harry Potter
We can’t be the only ones gutted at not receiving our Hogwarts letter on our 11th birthday. Well now you can imagine you did. Glenfinnan Viaduct in Lochaber, Scotland offers fans the trip of a lifetime with a train ride through the exact same landscapes you see in the film. So grab your robes and wands and jump aboard! “Anything from the trolley dears?”
Hogwarts from Harry Potter
You can visit a recreation of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry yourself in Universal Studios, Florida. Across the pond you can still get your wizarding fix with a Harry Potter London film locations tour. From magical spells to magical creatures, it’s all there!
Highclere Castle in West Berkshire, U.K. is the home and filming location of the period drama, Downton Abbey. While we can’t promise you’ll be treated like Lady Mary, the castle is certainly a sight for sore eyes. The 5 000-acre estate is still home to the Earls of Carnarvon, but the house, egyptian exhibition, and gardens are open to the public for self-guided tours during the summer months.
While most scenes in Jurassic Park were shot on soundstages, the exterior shots of Isla Nublar (a.k.a site of Jurassic Park) were of Na Pali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii. They have some of the most beautiful hiking trails and beaches with the added benefit of being entirely secluded.
Groundhog Day Festival
The Groundhog Day Festival is an annual event that takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. During the ceremony, which begins well before the winter sunrise, Punxsutawney Phil (a groundhog) emerges from his temporary home on Gobbler’s Knob. According to the tradition, if Phil sees his shadow and returns to his hole, he has predicted six more weeks of winter-like weather. If Phil does not see his shadow, he has predicted an “early spring”. It’s most well known from the film ‘Groundhog Day’ starring Bill Murray. We promise if you visit you won’t have to hear I Got You Babe on repeat, unless you want to of course.
Professor X’s School For The Gifted from X-Men
Ever wanted to be born with superpowers and be whisked away to a magical school where you can learn how to control your super gifts? Well… we can’t help you there. As far as we know no school exists… or does it? Anyway, while we can’t promise to introduce you to Professor X himself, you can visit his school. Hatley Castle and park is one of the most remarkable places in all of Canada and has been used for a whole bunch of film and tv productions.
Moors from Wuthering Heights
Arguably the most beautiful wild countryside in the world, the moors in Yorkshire, England have been used as the backdrop for countless productions, most notably Wuthering Heights. Deep wooded dales, high hills, crinkly coasts, ancient abbeys, tumbling streams and timeless villages, the moors have everything that’s great about England and is perfect for walkers and cyclists.
Pemberley from Pride & Prejudice
“And of this place,” thought she, “I might have been mistress!”
Anyone else dreamed of being invited to dine at Pemberley by Mr Darcy? While we can’t promise Mr Darcy will be there to greet you, you can visit the stately home where the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice was filmed. Lyme Park boasts the most beautiful gardens and their tea room is much! Take a step back in time & book today with National Trust.
Diagon Alley from Harry Potter
Ever wanted to wander down Diagon Alley with Hagrid, buying magical items from your Hogwarts acceptance letter? Well, now you can! (Minus the big friendly half-giant games keeper that is). The Making of Harry Potter at the WB studios lot in London allows you to experience this and so much more, from the forbidden forest to Mrs Weasley’s kitchen.
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle
“They say if you dream a thing more than once, it’s sure to come true.”
Disneyland, often referred to as the happiest place on Earth, is where you’ll find our next dream come true location. Disneyland Paris’s castle stands at over 50 metres tall, complete with a spiral staircase and dungeon. This fairy-tale castle is where little girls’ (and some grown-ups’) dreams will come true.
Salzburg from The Sound of Music
“The hills are alive, with the sound of music!” Ever wished for the hills to fill your heart with the sound of music? Well, now you can! Salzburg in Austria is home to the incredible scenery used in The Should of Music. Over 300,000 “Sound of Music” fans visit this city every year to walk in the footsteps of the Trapp family at the original shooting locations.
221b Baker Street from Sherlock Holmes
Arguably the most famous front door in literacy history, 221b Baker Street is the home of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. Fans of the wonderfully weird duo will be pleased to know they can actually visit the real life 221b Baker Street as it is in fact a building in London. Now converted into a Sherlock Holmes museum and shop, fans of the books/series will not be disappointed at the visit.
One Hundred Acre Wood from Winnie the Pooh
Take a walk through the magical wood where Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Tigger and Eeyore roam. A walking trail will take you to many of Christopher Robin’s and Pooh’s other well-known haunts in the rolling, high weald forest known to both characters as the Hundred Acre Wood where, “in that enchanted place on the top of the forest a little boy and his bear will always be playing”.
Kings Landing from Game of Thrones
Dubrovnik in Croatia is where you’ll find the home of the King or Queen of Westeros. Kings Landing is featured heavily throughout the Game of Thrones series and apart from the obvious special effects, the majority of the town’s streets and castle grounds were shot here.
Sherwood Forest from Robin Hood
Centuries in the making, the legend of Sherwood continues to grow, with every generation adding to its legacy. Today, the forest is a magical destination for everyone who wants to enjoy this beautiful ancient woodland and the diverse flora and fauna that lives here. It is also, of course, home to the enduring legend of Robin Hood. The forest is open all year round and is free to all.
Dragon Stone from Game of Thrones
Yes, the picture above is real. For any other fans who watched the scenes from Dragon Stone in Game of Thrones and assumed it was fake, you are not alone. But we are pleased to inform you this impressive stone path is 100% real. Located in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in Spain. The gorgeous structure is also located near San Sebastian but is closer to Bilbao. Unfortunately, only a small chapel awaits you at the top – not an imposing castle.
Prince Humperdink’s Castle from The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride might be unknown to some but has a very small and enthusiastic fandom. The ultimate quotable cult classic (while fictionally based in Florin) was actually shot in old blighty herself, and maybe of the locations open to the public. Our favourite being Humperdink’s Castle (Haddon Hall) which is open all year round and can be booked via The National Trust. “Have fun storming the castle!”
Tiffany’s from Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Audrey Hepburn isn’t the only one who can breakfast at the most iconic jewellery store in the world. Whether it be a cup of coffee outside the famous landmark in New York or in Tiffany’s tea room, there is a way all fans can celebrate the Hollywood classic.
The Great Barrier Reef from Finding Nemo
One of the most iconic scenes from Finding Nemo takes place along The Great Barrier Reef, the word great being an understatement, “It totally rocks dude!”. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia and is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres.
Prince Charming’s Castle from Snow White
Ok, so you can’t visit the exact Prince Charming’s castle from Snow White, that’s animated, we are sorry to break it to you. But you can visit Disney’s inspiration for the Castle. Alcázar de Segovia in Spain was the animator’s guide when creating the Princess’s future home. Alcázar de Segovia is open to the public during the summer months and is said to have the most amazing views of Segovia.