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5 Famous Film and TV Show Locations

Exploring the real-world locations of some of the most iconic films and TV shows can be an adventure in itself. These places, where fiction meets reality, have become pilgrimage sites for fans. They offer a unique opportunity to walk in the footsteps of beloved characters and relive memorable moments. If you’re planning your next travel adventure or just enjoy discovering behind-the-scenes secrets, we made a list of famous spots that you can visit! And for anyone looking to manage their finances while indulging in their cinematic wanderlust, Payday Depot might be a helpful resource to ensure your travels are as stress-free as possible. Take a look at this list of famous film and TV show locations, in no particular order!

Hobbiton: “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies

Hobbiton Movie Set
The entrance to Bilbo Baggins’ House (Hobbiton Movie Set)

Nestled in the heart of New Zealand, the lush pastures of the Shire come to life at the Hobbiton Movie Set. This enchanting location was transformed into a permanent tourist attraction after serving as the backdrop for both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film series. Visitors can wander through the meticulously crafted hobbit holes, including Bilbo Baggins’ home, Bag End, and experience the Green Dragon Inn, where characters like Frodo and Samwise shared many a pint.

  • Iconic scene: Frodo’s farewell at the end of The Return of the King.
  • Must-see: The Party Tree and Bag End.
  • Tip for visitors: Don’t miss the evening tours for a magical experience!

During the filming of The Lord of the Rings, the New Zealand army helped build the 1.5 km road into the Hobbiton set. Interestingly, the set was initially built as a temporary structure, but was reconstructed with permanent materials for “The Hobbit” films, allowing fans to visit the Shire as it was imagined by Tolkien.

Highclere Castle: “Downton Abbey”

Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in front of the Downton Abbey castle
Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in front of the Downton Abbey castle (Universal)

Situated in Hampshire, England, Highclere Castle is best known as the grand home of the Crawley family in the beloved series Downton Abbey and the two films that were released after the show ended, in 2019 and 2022. This Victorian-era castle offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of British aristocracy and the servants who worked for them. The estate’s history, architecture, and expansive gardens provide a real-life context to the drama that unfolded in both the TV series and the film adaptations. If you’re a fan of the series and would like to recreate the opening titles, or simply spend a relaxed afternoon in that world, you can’t miss it!

  • Iconic scene: The garden party in the series finale.
  • Must-see: The library and the state dining room.
  • Tip for visitors: Check the castle’s schedule in advance, as it’s not open year-round.

A fascinating episode of Downton Abbey deals with the true story of Highclere Castle during the First World War, which coincided with the show’s storyline. The Fifth Countess of Carnarvon turned the castle into a home for convalescing soldiers, much like the series’ heroine Lady Cora Crawley. The history of Highclere Castle is fascinating and another reason to visit this stunning location.

Katz’s Delicatessen: “When Harry Met Sally”

When Harry Met Sally Clip: I’ll Have What She’s Having (Shout! Studios)

Who can forget the iconic scene where Sally (Meg Ryan), fakes an orgasm at a New York deli to prove a point to Harry (Billy Crystal) in all-time classic When Harry Met Sally? That deli is Katz’s Delicatessen, a real-life institution in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Known for its pastrami sandwiches to its atmosphere, Katz’s continues to draw both movie fans and foodies alike. Visiting this spot offers a taste of cinematic history along with a bite of New York’s deli culture.

  • Iconic scene: Sally’s hilarious demonstration in the clip above, and the chaos that ensued.
  • Must-see: The table where Harry and Sally sat, marked by a sign.
  • Tip for visitors: Prepare for long lines, especially during lunch hours.

After the famous scene was shot, Katz’s Delicatessen embraced its cinematic fame with a sign that reads, “Where Harry met Sally… hope you have what she had!” This playful nod has drawn curious visitors eager to sit at the same table and perhaps recreate the memorable moment.

Doune Castle: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

the castle scene in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (National Film Trustee Co.)

Doune Castle, located in central Scotland, played a pivotal role in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as it stood in for multiple fictional castles in the film. This medieval stronghold provides a tangible connection to the irreverent humor and inventive storytelling of the Monty Python troupe. Fans of the film will recognize it as the location of memorable scenes, including the taunting French guard and the infamous coconuts scene.

  • Iconic scene: The Knights of the Round Table’s encounter with the French soldiers.
  • Must-see: The Great Hall and the castle’s exterior walls.
  • Tip for visitors: Audio tours featuring Monty Python’s Terry Jones are available.

Doune Castle’s audio guide brings the Monty Python and the Holy Grail connection to life, narrated by Terry Jones himself. Jones shares behind-the-scenes stories, including how the castle’s limited number of rooms was creatively used to represent various fictional castles by shooting from different angles.

Monument Valley: So Many Films!

The scene in Monument Valley the film Forrest Gump
The scene in Monument Valley the film Forrest Gump (Paramount Pictures)

Monument Valley, with its dramatic landscape, has served as a backdrop for numerous films, from classic Westerns like Stagecoach (1939) and The Searchers (1956) to all-time classics like Easy Rider (1969) and Forrest Gump (1994). But it is also the backdrop of more contemporary hits, like The Lone Ranger (2013), The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), and even Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016). Its iconic sandstone buttes create a timeless and quintessentially US view. This location’s vast, open spaces evoke a sense of adventure and freedom, making it a must-visit for cinephiles and nature lovers alike.

  • Iconic scene: Forrest Gump‘s long run across America ends here – more precisely, on the US 163 Scenic Drive.
  • Must-see: The Mittens and Merrick Butte.
  • Tip for visitors: Sunrise and sunset tours offer spectacular views.

John Ford famously used Monument Valley as a backdrop for many of his Westerns, establishing the area as a symbol of the West. The valley’s striking landscape has made it a sought-after location for filmmakers looking to capture the essence of adventure and the frontier spirit. Forrest Gump‘s scene, where Forrest ends his cross-country run, has since become a pilgrimage spot for fans, wanting to stand in the exact spot Tom Hanks did. If you’re one of those fans, what you need to type on Google to find the exact spot is: “US-163 Scenic, Mexican Hat, UT 84531”.

These famous film and TV locations listed above bridge the gap between the imaginary worlds we see on screen and our reality, offering fans a unique way to connect with their favorite movies and series. Whether you’re exploring the rolling hills of New Zealand, the aristocratic halls of an English castle, a bustling New York deli, a Scottish castle full of history and humor, or the majestic landscapes of Utah, each site has its own story to tell. Happy traveling!

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