TV Tourism: Why TV shows are inspiring us to travel
Lights, camera, travel!
Pól Ó Conghaile looks at the growing phenomenon of TV tourism - trips and tours inspired by our favourite TV shows.
When we think about travelling to see filming locations, movies generally spring to mind. Lord of the Rings? New Zealand. Star Wars? Tunisia. And so it goes.
As more and more TV series capture the public imagination, however, that's starting to change. Today, TV location tours are big business - both inspiring trips to visit the iconic locations of our favourite shows, and tours of their key sets, cities and landscapes.
Think of Danish/Swedish co-production The Bridge, the third season teaser for which has recently been released. In Copenhagen, visitors can not only tour locations from this Scandi-noir classic (including the Oresund Bridge itself), but The Killing and Borgen too. Together with restaurants like Noma, TV drama has put Denmark right back on the tourist map.
It's not alone. In the UK, tickets to Highclere Castle (AKA the real Downton Abbey) are like gold dust. In New York, Sex and the City tours remain big draws. And then, of course, there is Game of Thrones - the TV juggernaut to end them all. Westeros has created serious wanderlust, as Yvonne Gordon discovers in her comprehensive location guide.
Together with Titanic Belfast, Game of Thrones has given Northern Ireland a huge tourism boost. Filmed in several locations - including the famed 'Dark Hedges' and Giant's Causeway - it's the perfect excuse for a short break or staycation in the Seven Kingdoms.
The Bridge: Copenhagen & Malmo
Care to dip into some Danish Noir? SAS (flysas.com) has a sale running to April 21, with flights from Dublin to Scandinavia from around €55 each way (including one checked bag). The airline recently launched a new direct, seasonal route from Dublin to Gothenburg too. Meanwhile, Ryanair (ryanair.com) has added Copenhagen to its Dublin schedule with midweek fares from €24.99 each way, and Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) flies from €49 each way. The Bridge, Borgen and The Killing were all filmed in the Danish capital.
Sex and the City in New York
New York is one of the most iconic locations of the TV age, enrapturing fans of shows ranging from Seinfeld to The Sopranos, Mad Men to NYPD Blue and, of course, Sex and the City. Deals aren't bad at the moment (although the exchange rate is another story), with Tour America (touramerica.ie) offering flights plus four nights' from €713pp in June, and American Holidays (americanholidays.com) offering a Christmas shopping package - no, seriously - from €799pp in December. Both are based on four people sharing 3-star hotel accommodation.
NB: All prices subject to availability/change.