While the sites of film and television shows set in the UK have
always drawn travellers across the pond, a new season of fan-favorite
"Bridgerton" (premiering March 25) and a new "Downton Abbey" movie —
along with "No Time to Die", a new James Bond film released last year —
will surely generate renewed interest.
And with the 18 March easement of all travel requirements for inbound travellers, now is a perfect time to visit.
"Films and TV are powerful motivators for travel,” said Patricia
Yates, deputy CEO for VisitBritain. “Upcoming releases … provide
valuable opportunities to promote our world-renowned culture, history,
heritage, stunning countryside and associated experiences that you can
only have in the UK, ultimately inspiring visitors to come here and see
the destinations and locations for themselves.”
Here’s how travellers can walk in the footsteps of Lady Whistledown, the Earl of Grantham and, yes, even 007.
Bridgerton-themed UK tours
Travellers can live out their "Bridgerton" fantasies on a tour that takes them to Lady Danbury’s mansion. Photo Credit: 2022 Visit Britain
Since Christmas Day in 2020, the world fell madly in love with
“Bridgerton", a Netflix drama that takes place in London, yet films in
the Georgian city of Bath.
the second season premiering recently and continuing the scintillating
story, fans are naturally eager to lay eyes on the newest filming
Blue Badge tour guide (and Bath local) Fred Mawer leads a two-hour
“Bridgerton” walking tour that takes clients to all 14 season-one
filming locations — including the Modiste on Abbey Green, the
Featheringtons’ home (No. 1 Royal Crescent), and Lady Danbury’s mansion
(The Holburne Museum) — plus locations for season two.
In true “Bridgerton” form, tour guide Mawer also has a few secrets for his guests.
"My Bridgerton and More tour includes insider snippets about the
filming (as I picked up some juicy nuggets from a family member who
worked on the production),” Mawer said. “The tour also touches on other
films and TV shows shot in Bath … like Netflix’s upcoming new adaptation
of Jane Austen’s 'Persuasion', and Warner Bros’ ‘Wonka’, a prequel to
Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory story [starring Timothee
Downton Abbey experiences in London
Guests can dine in one of Highclere Castle's formal dining room like the aristocrats from "Downton Abbey". Photo Credit: 2019 Focus Features, LLC./Jaap Buitendijk
Records for Highclere Castle in Hampshire date back to 749, but the
magnificent estate gained widespread attention in 2010 as the “star” of
the "Downton Abbey" television series (and, in 2019, in the first
Downton Abbey movie).
As a result, fans have flocked to Highclere to relive their favourite
moments, and a second movie – "Downton Abbey: A New Era" – premiering
this May, will provide a reason to return.
Bespoke tour operator Humphreys of Henley offers private guided tours
of Highclere’s state rooms and castle bedrooms, complete with lunch in
the formal dining room. (Clients may even hear the ghost of a former
housekeeper whose keys jangle as she moves from room to room.)
“We believe the British countryside is the most beautiful place in
the world,” said Samantha Evans, founder of Humphreys of Henley. “That’s
why we dedicate so much time and effort…to creating the very best
experiences … so your clients can ensure they make the very best of
their holiday time.”
No tour of Highclere — aka Downton — would be complete without seeing
the green silk-walled drawing room, which is one of “Downton Abbey's"
central filming locations. According to Lady Carnarvon (wife of the 8th
Earl), it was decorated by her predecessor with a bolt of green silk
received as a wedding gift. The previous countess also converted the
castle to a hospital during World War I, a bit of Highclere history that
found its way into the second season of “Downton Abbey”.
“She was trying to heal people and return sons, fathers and brothers
to their families,” Lady Carnarvon said in a video tour with Evans.
“That was an extraordinary part of the story, so this room is still a
tribute to her.”
Highclere will also be open for public tours this summer from July 10 to 5 September (closed Fridays and Saturdays).
Embrace your inner James Bond
Race down the Thames James Bond style in a speedboat. Photo Credit: 2022 Visit Britain
British secret agent James Bond has thrilled audiences in
action-packed films starting from “Dr. No” (1962) to “No Time to Die”
(2021). The chance to explore Bond’s London has always been a draw for
travellers, and while the city was closed to tourists, new tour operator
Imagine Experiences was developing its Bond for a Day Experience.
You look forward for so many months to your journey — it might be the
holiday of a lifetime — and you want to do what you’ve seen in movies,”
said Brendan Murphy, co-founder of Imagine Experiences. “[We] make it
authentic and experiential, so when visitors come on [our tour], they'll
see some hidden London, go off the beaten track a little bit but still
tick those boxes that they want to tick.”
The five-hour guided tour provides opportunities to do all that (and
more) during an elegant and adventurous mission a la 007 — asking, “What
would James Bond do?”
Naturally, he’d start his day at Great Scotland Yard, where plenty of on-screen Bond action has taken place.
According to Murphy, along with visiting film locations, clients will
also learn about the “murky world of espionage” and see where the first
professional spy network was started — including the offices of the
real C, Q and M. They’ll also visit Floris London fragrance shop for a
whiff of Bond creator Ian Fleming’s favorite scent: Floris No. 89.
(Rumor has it Daniel Craig prepared for his first Bond movie by
purchasing a bottle.)
But that’s not all. Fans can then choose to try their hand at target
practice at a London gun club or take a Bond-style speedboat ride on the
The tour ends — like all proper James Bond missions should — with a Vesper Martini, shaken, not stirred (of course).
Source: TravelAge West