Food, Travel, Arts & Culture

17 Movie And TV Filming Locations That Are Now Essentially Tourist Traps

Harry Potter is one major cash cow for tourism in the UK.

We all know that films and shows are full of iconic moments. Sometimes, these moments are so impactful that fans flock to the locations they were filmed in to experience the magic for themselves.

NBC

Here are 17 real-life TV and movie locations that have inspired fans and led to a ~drastic~ spike in tourism.

1. Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland — Harry Potter

Warner Bros. Pictures / Via Getty Images

Is there a more iconic viaduct in the world? This stretch of railroad has been made famous by its use mainly in The Chamber of Secrets, and nowadays, it’s a pilgrimage for Potter fans. In fact, you can even ride the steam train that goes over the viaduct, and many fans make the journey every year!

The sheer number of visitors have caused fear for the National Trust for Scotland, who have expressed worry over the possibility of accidents due to people travelling excessively between Fort William and Mallaig.

2. King’s Cross Station, London — Harry Potter

Warner Bros. Pictures/Jeff Spicer / Via Getty Images for Warner Bros

There are many reasons why London is one of the most visited cities, but thanks to Harry Potter and platform nine-and-three-quarters, King’s Cross specifically is always being overtaken by Potter fans. Every year, people queue up to get a picture with the wall that has an honorary trolley affixed to it. 

3. Matamata (and all over), New Zealand — The Lord of the Rings

New Line Cinema / Getty Images

New Zealand actually tops the list of most oft visited film locations, mainly because of its epic landscapes which helped make The Lord of the Rings what is is! From Mount Doom to Hobbiton, New Zealand takes in thousands of The Lord of the Rings fans every year. Their journey takes them across the entire country, which, whilst boosting the economy, is also a cause for concern for some citizens who worry about the protection of the land.

4. Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand — The Beach

20th Century Fox / Getty Images

The idyllic shore on which they shot The Beach starring Leo DiCaprio became a massive draw for anyone travelling to Thailand in the ’00s. The bay was actually getting up to 5,000 visitors a day until it was closed off in 2018 so that the land could recuperate from the excessive tourism. It reopened earlier this year!

5. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia — Rocky II

United Artists / Getty Images

43 years on from the iconic scene where Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa runs up those 72 stairs, and fans of the film are STILL making that same jog! In fact, a few years ago, some lucky tourists ran up the stairs to find none other than Sylvester Stallone himself up there, and they even got a lucky photo with him on those famous steps.

6. West 167 Street, the Bronx, New York — Joker

Warner Bros. Pictures/ Don Emmert/AFP / Getty Images

Keeping it to stairs, the now famous Joker scene in which Joaquin Phoenix dances down a bunch of steps in the Bronx has recently inspired fans, with many flooding to see the stairs and take pictures there. The increase in interest has actually become a major hindrance for locals, as they now have to constantly navigate around groups of tourists.

7. Nærøyfjord, Norway — Frozen

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Getty Images

The fictional land of Arendelle is loosely based on Norway’s landscape, and the hit movie’s success has led to a 37% increase in tourism from the US. This was great news for hotels and tour operators — some of which began operating Disney tours specifically — as bookings and visitors have risen drastically since the film’s release in 2013. 

8. Dubrovnik, Croatia — Game of Thrones

HBO / Getty Images

Game of Thrones had one of the biggest audiences in TV history, and this naturally led to fans seeking out the amazing locations the series used to shoot in. One of the most popular spots is Dubrovnik in Croatia, where fans of the show flock to glimpse the setting for most of King’s Landing.

9. Castle Ward, Northern Ireland — Game of Thrones

HBO

Croatia isn’t the only place GOT has had an effect on though. Up to 350,000 fans visit Northern Ireland every year solely to see the inspiration and shooting location of Winterfell. In 2019, it was estimated that since 2010, tourism had contributed £251m to the local economy! However, local residents have also complained that tourists do clog up roads and make it hard to drive around.

10. Skellig Michael, Ireland — Star Wars

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Getty Images

Tourism in the southwest of Ireland was also given a boost in 2015 when Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released. Considering The Last Jedi was also shot there, Star Wars-inspired tourism has remained large in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Skellig Michael, the most prominent movie tourist attraction. 

11. Albuquerque — Breaking Bad

AMC

This house in Albuquerque has risen to fame due to it belonging to the meth-making Walter White in Breaking Bad. Fans of the show came in droves to see the house that was featured in the series. In fact, tourism became so regular that the local residents grew increasingly frustrated and were actually forced to build a six-foot fence around the house to deter visitors!

12. Cornwall, England — Poldark

Mike Hogan / BBC/Mammoth Screen/Mike Hogan / Getty Images

This region of southern England has always been a popular holiday destination; however, the hit BBC show has helped increase the number of visitors to Cornwall considerably. In 2019, it was reported that 13% of visitors considered the programme to be one of the main factors in their choice to visit.

13. Broderick Street, San Francisco — Full House

ABC

The house that was featured in both the sitcom and the sequel is a common destination for fans of the show. Apparently, on a normal day up to 50 people show up, but more than 100 turn up on a good weekend. The local residents have found it quite the inconvenience, with fans blocking traffic, crowding walkways, and blocking driveways in pursuit of selfies.

14. Chelsea, London — Love Actually

Universal Pictures

A Chelsea-based house is used in one of the most iconic scenes from the famous rom-com. The owner of the house has since claimed that she didn’t even know it was famous when she bought it, but now has to deal with a constant stream of Instagrammers, tourists, and couples taking photos at her door. In an attempt to retrieve some privacy, the owner actually asked the council to help dissuade tourists from visiting. No word on whether that has worked or not.

15. Birmingham, England — Peaky Blinders

BBC / Getty Images

I guess this sort of doesn’t count because the actual filming is technically done in Manchester and Liverpool. However, the hit series is *set* in Britain’s second-largest city, and this has helped draw in the thousands of fans keen to soak up all things Peaky Blinders. The number of visitors has increased by 26% from 2013 to 2018, and there are now Peaky Blinders themed festivals, escape rooms, pubs, and beers to enjoy in and around Birmingham!

16. Forks, Washington — Twilight

Summit Entertainment / Getty Images

The saga, with its die-hard fanbase, has had quite the impact on this small town in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Prior to the release of the Twilight saga in 2005, Forks saw about 5,000 people pass through its visitor centre annually, but by 2009, this had risen to almost 70,000! Despite a bit of a dip in recent years, fans still regularly travel to Forks particularly for the Forever Twilight in Forks Festival, and other Twilight-themed attractions that the town has installed.

17. The Ohio State Reformatory, Mansfield, Ohio — The Shawshank Redemption

Columbia Pictures

While prisons don’t tend to be hotspots for vacationing per se, this iconic film is enough to draw people to this penitentiary. Visitors can follow the Shawshank trail to see 15 different filming locations, and can even visit the prison itself. Back in 2019, as many as 30,000 fans flooded in to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the movie!

What are the filming locations you’d LOVE to visit? Let us know in the comments below!

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