Ever wondered about the real places behind some of the most iconic scenes from cinemas and screens?
Famous film scene locations make great holiday destinations. Not only do you get to explore some of the most incredible scenery around, but you also get to feel like you’re part of your favourite films and TV shows, making film locations a firm favourite with children and adults alike. Think about it logically: Hollywood location scouts are paid millions to hand-pick the most picturesque film locations in the world. When you choose to follow in their footsteps, you’re harnessing that expertise for free and guaranteeing an unforgettable experience.
This article will look at some of the most famous film set locations in the UK and Europe, providing inspiration for prospective travellers and fans of European films alike. Once you’ve decided on the film star whose footsteps you’d like to follow in, why not go the whole hog and arrive via private jet charter? After all, Tom Cruise won’t be flying economy on his way to filming Mission: Impossible 36 (incidentally, is anyone else starting to think these missions might not be quite so impossible?).
The first entry on our list of famous movie locations has played host to films from Dracula Untold to Hellboy II at its iconic Giant’s Causeway, but this landscape is perhaps most widely recognised for its role in a little-known fantasy TV show called Game of Thrones. The Ballymoney tree tunnel, Dunluce Castle, and Cushenden Caves all feature prominently in the global cultural phenomenon that the world of Westeros has become, making this a perfect place to kick off our tour of famous movie locations in Europe.
For all its joys, Northern Ireland isn’t the warmest place on earth. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan looking for a more sun-kissed destination, then Dubrovnik in Croatia might be the perfect choice.
This ancient city is replete with Game of Thrones filming locations and makes up the majority of scenes in and around King’s Landing. Added to the intrigue of modern filming locations is the fact that Dubrovnik is a stunning historical destination, meaning that even those among your party who haven’t seen the series (and presumably live under a rock) have an incredible holiday.
The Limestone Pavement, England
Malham cove in Yorkshire is a stunning filming location nestled in the hills of northern England. It’s here where pride at managing so far to avoid mention of that little wizard has to tumble as, yes, this is the first of many Harry Potter filming locations that make this list. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the bizarre landscape on which they set up camp – presumed by some to be CGI – can actually be found in North Yorkshire, and is a fantastic day out even apart from its status as one of the most famous movie locations to visit.
Perhaps the most famous film set in Bruges is, well, In Bruges. Colin Firth and Brendan Gleeson’s ill-fated romp around this picturesque Belgian city is enough to set anybody’s travel taste buds tingling, and if you’re looking to visit famous locations in movies then you should look no further.
Unlike more ambitious franchise movies or series that span multiple seasons, In Bruges is a small, self-contained film that delivers despite its limited scope. This is evidenced in the setting, too: rarely does the camera leave the city, so any fans of the film are sure to feel immersed in the scenery that made it so iconic.
The Scottish Highlands, Scotland
The Scottish Highlands are an incredible place to visit full-stop, but for film buffs there is an added layer of intrigue. Here we again turn to the boy who lived: the famous Hogwarts Express (the Jacobite Steam Train to the rest of us) winds its way through this stunning landscape, making this among the most beautiful Harry Potter film locations to experience. It’s not all wizards and witches, though.
After the advent of Skyfall, the Scottish Highlands are also home to a number of James Bond film locations, with Glencoe representing the jewel in this particular crown. That’s not to say this famous movie location is a one-hit-wonder, however: Buachaille Etive Mor, Glen Etive, and Buachaille Etive Beag all round out the Skyfall highlight reel – after all, it takes some effort to upstage Daniel Craig in a classic Aston Martin!
Beyond Skyfall, there are also a number of filming locations from classic Bond films – from The Spy Who Loved Me to The World is Not Enough – within a short drive. All of this points to one conclusion: both visually and literally, the Scottish Highlands really is the home of Bond.
Alnwick Castle, United Kingdom
By way of contrast, from a large region that primarily plays host to one film to a single house that has been occupied by productions ranging from Downton Abbey to Transformers, Alnwick Castle in north-eastern England is a must-visit for film buffs. Rich in both ancient and recent cultural history, this stunning building is one of the most famous movie locations in the UK and also a fantastic day-trip for anyone with a passing interest in British heritage.
Given its beauty, its history, and its splendour, it will surprise nobody to learn that the Harry Potter location scouts again got their hands on it – it’s becoming apparent that they really did their homework. No tour of Harry Potter filming locations can be complete without a trip to perhaps the most iconic location of them all: Hogwarts, a large portion of the outer scenery of which was composed of shots of Alnwick Castle.
When it comes to modern cities, if you’re looking for famous movie locations London is hard to beat. There’s an almost endless list of romcoms that take place in and around London’s narrow streets – Love Actually, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Notting Hill, and so on – but there are also a number of more standout famous movie locations in London. King’s Cross station, for example, is another well-known Harry Potter filming location, and who can forget James Bond’s Trafalgar Square appearance in Skyfall.
The easiest way to find good London famous movie locations can sometimes be to simply go to good London locations. Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Hampton Court Palace, the Old Royal Naval College, the Natural History Museum – all have played host to some of the most iconic scenes in cinema and television history. If you’re looking for one destination that will have you pointing at the screen for years to come and shouting “I’ve been there!” then London is it.
Skellig Michael, Ireland
After the metropolitan surrounds of London, perhaps it’s best to round this list out with a destination that’s a little more off the beaten path. Skellig Michael, the most prominent of the Skellig Islands off the coast of County Kerry, Ireland, was the dramatic refuge of Luke Skywalker in the most recent Star Wars trilogy. You don’t have to be seeking an escape from the Galactic Empire to enjoy the scenery here, though – those looking for a day away from the bustle of city life will be equally at home.
If you want to feel like an outcast Jedi, or at least spend time in the kind of place that they frequent, then there’s no better activity than wandering around the ruins of Skellig Michael. The drystone huts that characterise the island make for one of the most famous film locations in modern cinema, and everything that you saw in the film is available to visit – minus the lightsabre of course, and the X-wing, oh and that strange cow-thing that Luke drinks milk from (did that really happen?).
If any of the above famous move filming locations have inspired in you the desire to see the on-set locations of some of your favourite productions, then why not charter a private jet and get out there? Private jet charter flights offer the full movie star package and complement any tour of the most famous movie locations perfectly, but it might surprise you to learn that you don’t need an entire entourage to travel like the stars.
It’s fairly simple: pick a destination, decide on your dates of travel, and then enlist the private air charter services of a trusted provider. Ideally, you want an organisation with experience chartering private jets – a company that has helped countless passengers arrange private jet charter flight and have the holiday of a lifetime as a result. Good news: you’ve come to the right place!