Location, location, location: after watching the film, now visit the set
Sunday 09 May 2010
Lights, camera...tourist attraction! We never tire of following in the footsteps of historical heroes and film stars and we take obsessive delight in traipsing around movie and telly locations.
But "set-jetting" is serious stuff. No sooner is a major film or TV deal signed than tourism organisations and businesses board the blockbuster bandwagon, beefing up their websites with tours, trails and authentic experiences.
This week Ridley Scott's epic Robin Hood is released, starring Russell Crowe, and VisitEngland already has its bow drawn. Its website (enjoyengland.com) has dedicated activities and DIY trails, and Nottingham and Sherwood Forest are destinations of the month.
"Film tourism is increasingly popular," says Amanda Smyth of VisitEngland. "Forty per cent of potential overseas visitors say they are likely to go to places from films and TV. We hope the release of this film encourages people to have their own Robin Hood experience." Highlights on enjoyengland.com include a new exhibition in medieval Nottingham Castle, "Robin Hood – the Movie", which is designed and built by the film's set designer, Sonja Klaus. Also, the Top 10 Robin Hood Experiences suggests where to tuck into a medieval banquet or learn archery under Sherwood's ancient oaks.
Elsewhere, Shropshire-based P and P Tours (pandptours.co.uk) has run Pride and Prejudice tours since 2007 that include locations such as "Longbourn" – the Bennet residence in the film of Jane Austen's novel. Now P and P has launched a two-day package taking in locations from the film Atonement and BBC TV series Victorian Farm. The tours are small and personal and include, where possible, accommodation in actual locations. Although guests on the new tour cannot stay at Stokesay Court, the stately home featured in Atonement, privileged access to the property will be a highlight for fans, who will see decor from the production and filming memorabilia. P and P has also teamed up with Brit Movie Tours (britmovietours.com) to offer a one-day trail of Atonement's wartime London locations.
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