Film locations as tourist attraction?

The summer holidays are about to start for many of us, which means a lot of trips will be made. Trips abroad, trips in your own country, a three-week camping holiday, lying at the beach and so on. I decided to go on a holiday abroad to visit my sister. The journey goes to London where I will bore my sister for almost two weeks. When I spoke to her she asked me “What do you want to do when you are here, in London” Well, I thought then. What shall I do? I’ve visited London several times as a tourist since my sister lives there. But playing the tourists gets a little old, since I’ve done that now for a few times. But when it was my turn to write a column for the website Undercover-Network – where you will also find the Dutch version of this article –  I got the greatest idea!

James Bond Skyfall in London

As a huge film fan I’m planning to visit London as the city where films are being made. Is London really that amazing to use it as a film location? Or do they use the surrounding film studios, as Leavesden Studios, more often? Using a large city as location for your film, must be a big but interesting operation! But this is not relevant for now. What I’m going to do is look for films which are filmed in London. In fact, London has played a starring role in many blockbuster films thanks to its epic skyline, atmospheric streets and royal palaces. My next step is to actually find some locations which are used in those films and make a nice picture! I didn’t have to think long before I thought of at least two films. Whereof one is a film I saw recently and the other is one of my favourite film franchises.

We are all familiar with the Harry Potter franchise and from those films I thought of a few locations in London which are worth the visit. For Harry and the other wizard students to go to Hogwarts, they need to go by train. This famous site is platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross St. Pancras Station. This will be the place I try to walk through a wall. I think this place is even indicated with deposits so everyone could make a proper picture! Sounds fun right? A visit to the fictional place ‘Diagon Alley’, the ministry of magic and the indispensable Millennium Bridge are also on my list. The film I saw recently, which was also filmed in London and has an interesting spot to visit is Kingsman: The Secret Service. The shop you saw very often in trailers and promotional material is tailoring house ‘H. Huntsman & Sons Ltd’ and can be found at Savile Row. London is also used in many James Bond films.

Zweinstein Express

Of course there are many more films which are filmed in London. But there are also a lot of other cities which were used as a film location. One close to home is my very own capitol Amsterdam. Teen film The Fault in our Stars had Amsterdam as decor which attracted many tourists to the city. There was a lot of hassle around the bench on which the protagonists have filmed an important scene. The bench was even missing for a few days and the tourists where not happy about that as they wanted to make pictures and memories. Other well-known national and international films recorded in Amsterdam, include Diamonds Are Forever, Ocean’s Twelve, Alles is Liefde, Soldaat van Oranje and Amsterdamned, whereof the famous speedboat chase was partly recorded in the Old Canals of Utrecht – also The Netherlands. It’s of course not surprising that also other major European and US cities starred in many films.

Like I mentioned before, the film The Fault in our Stars brought a lot of tourist to the city who wanted to picture that famous bench. My question is: Did these fans visit Amsterdam because they saw the city in that film, or did they already planned their trip to Amsterdam and was it just a matter of ‘already being there’? I won’t dive into any statistics, but I can speak for myself. I usually plan a vacation with the hope of good weather, nice food, culture, shopping and entertainment. I don’t think of films nor the beautiful locations or buildings used in films when I plan a vacation. What did occur was when I planned a trip to Paris, I remembered seeing another Statue of Liberty in the capital of France in the film National Treasure: Book of Secrets. In this film the main characters are in Paris to find a clue inside the Statue of Liberty. Because of that I went looking for that statue in Paris and made a nice picture.

The Fault in Our stars amsterdam

Sometimes, while watching a film or tv-series I say to myself: “Oh, that’s a beautiful view I really want to visit that place someday.” unfortunately, I haven’t visit any of those places yet. But a few of those which are definitely worth a visit are Iceland and Croatia. Cities in these countries serve as a backdrop for the series Game of Thrones. In Croatia they even offer tours where you can pay a visit to the site that served as the fictional town Mereen. I’ve always been interested in Iceland, but after seeing parts of the country in Game of Thrones I really want to go there someday! There are also very beautiful locations in Italy. The film Letters to Juliet shows a lot of these amazing and vast vineyards, which made my interest in that country even greater. Another country which is really worth a visit, but also very far away from me, is New Zealand. Thanks to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, everybody knows who gorgeous that country is.

You could say that a film location has a positive effect on the number of tourists. Amsterdam and the bench were quite popular because of the film The Fault in our Stars. Several cities offer also excursions which take you to various film locations. The hugely popular series Game of Thrones draw fans to Croatia and in the future probably also a Spanish region. In the British capital London, there are several Harry Potter tours and in New York you can make a ‘Sex and the City’ tour. There are of course many more trips to find which offers you a film experience, in several cities and countries, regarding a lot of various films and series. For now, I’m going to outline my trip to London and I wish everyone a very happy holiday, whether you visit a film location or not! If you do, let me know where you have been!

GoT Croatia GoT Iceland


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