Step into the world of your favourite book, movie or TV show with a visit to these fictional locations that represented the original.
Hogwarts, Harry Potter
You won’t see anyone playing Quidditch on the lawns, but Alnwick Castle in Northumberland in the UK played Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films (with a little digital trickery thrown in). The castle has been the home of the Dukes of Northumberland for more than 700 years and is in high demand with film and TV crews – it also stars in the Downton Abbey Christmas specials.
The lush jungle foliage and towering waterfalls of the island of Kauai in Hawaii served as the backdrop for Stephen Spielberg’s rampaging dinosaurs in all three Jurassic Park movies. You can rent a four-wheel drive and travel through the national park where the movie was filmed though, sadly, none of the dinosaurs remained behind after shooting wrapped.
West Egg, The Great Gatsby
F Scott Fitzgerald modelled West Egg on Great Neck in Long Island, New York. This area on the north coast of Long Island was known as the Gold Coast because of the huge mansions, polo fields, golf courses and country clubs built there by America’s super wealthy (think Vanderbilt, Astor or Guggenheim). The very grand Oheka Castle in nearby Huntington partly inspired Gatsby’s house.
Amity Island, Jaws
Don’t go in the water! The beach on Amity Island was the setting for the first scene in the classic 1970s horror movie, Jaws. As well as looking the part of the perfect American seaside resort, the shallow water of the bay made it easier for the crew to operate the mechanical sharks.
Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie the Pooh
Just over an hour from London you can walk in the footsteps of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin through Ashdown Forest. There’s only about 25 square kilometres of wooded area left from what was once a mighty forest, but it is still quintessentially English and one could almost expect Pooh, Tigger and Piglet to come bounding around a shady corner.
Greenbow, Forrest Gump
Life is like a box of chocolates in Varnville, South Carolina, which served as the fictional town of Greenbow in the Oscar winning movie Forrest Gump. The old Southern mansion that Forrest and his mamma lived in was a fake however, built just for production (and torn down right after), and even some of the Vietnam War scenes were shot around Varnville. Thank goodness for special effects.
King’s Landing, Game of Thrones
The historic Maltese capital of Mdina played the part of Kings Landing in the first series of Game of Thrones. The medieval walled city is in the centre of the island and has a population of just 300 – many of whom weren’t happy about the series. Maltese officials complained about the damage done and filming moved to Croatia for the following series.
Hobbiton, The Lord of the Rings
The three Lord of the Rings movies were such a smash hit that the village of Hobbiton was completely rebuilt in the original film location near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand. You can step inside the tiny hobbit holes, visit the Green Dragon Inn and (of course) buy a souvenir at the gift shop.
This article first appeared on Over60.