Chances are many of us will be settling down to some serious box-set binging over the coming weeks – in which your favourite TV saga might even be set against a UK backdrop.
Maybe it’s a spot of stately movie magic at the real Downton Abbey; following in the footsteps of a forgotten ‘warrior queen’ from Netflix’s ‘The Last Kingdom’; or maybe seeing the ‘stand-in” for Westminster Abbey from ITV’s ‘Victoria’.
No-one will be travelling very far from the TV screens for the time being, but there’s nothing to stop us enjoying some lovely UK scenery…or planning a UK short break inspired by your favourite TV show once we can all get outside again.
The real “Downton Abbey”
Worked your way through the six seasons of this worldwide smash hit show? Enjoyed by around 270 million viewers globally, it is no surprise that the real Downton Abbey has become a ‘must visit’ location. Re-enact your favourite scenes from the much-loved period drama at Highclere Castle, Hampshire, where the series, as well as the 2019 Big Screen version, was filmed. The seat of the Earl of Carnarvon since 1679, the Castle is steeped in history, and set within 1000 acres of parkland landscaped by Capability Brown. www.highclerecastle.co.uk and www.visit-hampshire.co.uk
Or from season three, how about following in the footsteps of jailed valet John Bates… not to York Prison, but to one of Britain’s finest Norman Castles. Lincoln Castle, nestling amidst cobbled streets in the heart of the historic cathedral city, was a stand-in for York Prison, where Mr Bates, played by Brendan Coyle, serves time for the murder of his former wife. Built by William the Conqueror, Lincoln Castle is also home to a remarkable Victorian prison, as well as an underground vault attraction holding one of the four surviving copies of 1215 Magna Carta. www.lincolncastle.com and www.visitlincolnshire.com
Discover a forgotten ‘warrior queen’ from ‘The Last Kingdom’
While largely a hidden heroine of history, for anyone hooked on cult TV series The Last Kingdom – set to begin its fourth season on Netflix in April 2020 – the name of Aethelflaed, daughter of Alfred the Great, may be more familiar. Learn more about the real-life inspiration behind the character from the sweeping drama series at Tamworth Castle, from where Aethelflaed ruled the Kingdom of Mercia and where she died in June 918. This ‘warrior queen’ may not be a household name, but she was one of the most powerful figures of her time. She will be among the ‘stars’ of the new “Battle and Tribute” gallery due to open at Tamworth Castle later in 2020 with cutting-edge audio-visual technology. www.tamworthcastle.co.uk and www.enjoystaffordshire.com
Gothic splendour from ‘Victoria’
If you love ITV drama Victoria, head to the magnificent Beverley Minster, East Yorkshire, which doubled as Westminster Abbey and St James’s Palace for the coronation and wedding scenes from season one plus christening scenes from season two. Regarded as a gothic masterpiece by many, the magnificent Minster is one of the largest parish churches in the UK, famous for its 13th century stone carvings and stained glass, offering stunning architecture as well as history and heritage at every turn. On the edge of the Yorkshire Wolds, Beverley is popular for its picturesque narrow streets, antique shops and historic buildings. https://beverleyminster.org.uk and www.visitbeverley.org
Have your own ‘Great Pottery Throw Down’
Inspired by the contestants battling it out for the title of Britain’s best budding potter on Channel 4’s popular The Great Pottery Throw Down? How about planning a visit to its real life home, Stoke-on-Trent ‘s Middleport Pottery – one of the oldest, and most historic factories in the UK – which once again hosted the crew and contestants for the new series, which has just ended its third season. The award-winning visitor destination, home of the famous Burleigh brand – which has been produced using traditional methods on this site since 1889 – will again be hosting factory tours when it re-opens. http://bit.ly/31tnaEt and www.visitstoke.co.uk
Discover why Rob Lowe swapped LA for Lincolnshire…
It may have only survived for one series, but it caused quite a stir, so for a quirky set-jetting destination, how about finding out why Hollywood heartthrob Rob Lowe loved being a bobby in Boston! From a former frat boy in ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ to top presidential aide in ‘The West Wing’, the American actor and producer pounded the beat in the Lincolnshire market town for ITV crime drama, “Wild Bill” in 2019, in which he played a high-flying US cop appointed Chief Constable of the East Lincolnshire force. Visitors can follow in his footsteps and visit this lively historic port and market town set in the heart of Lincolnshire’s dramatic Fenland, on the edge of the Wash. https://wildbillbostonuk.com and www.visitbostonuk.com