I have recently been doing a series on finding travel inspiration from TV programmes. The majority of the most popular programmes tend to be set in the US. Part 1 and part 2 covered programmes that are mostly set in various locations around America. In part 3, I want to look further afield and find some television series set outside of the USA.
Outside the USA
You can really get to know a destination by watching endless episodes that feature some of its most iconic, but also lesser known locations. For many programmes, where they are set is a key part to their appeal and memorability. Here are four TV programmes set in fascinating destinations.
Outlander is a drama series about a woman named Claire Randall, a married woman who is transported back from 1945 to 1743. It is based on the series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. As this programme features time travel and is set in the mid 1940's, the locations needed to be carefully chosen. The series was filmed entirely in Scotland and features some truly stunning locations and places of historical significance. It showcases some amazing scenery, beautiful castles and picturesque Scottish towns.
A lot of scenes are filmed in the pretty town of Falkland, which is in Fife. Falkland represents Inverness in the 1940's. This is definitely a town that fans of Outlander should visit because it is home to lots of memorable locations, from Mrs Baird's guesthouses (known as The Covenanter Hotel in real life) to Farrell's Hardware and Furniture Store (Fayre Earth Gift Shop) and Campbell's Coffee Shop.
Another Scottish town that features in the series is Culross, which is turned into the fictional village of Cranesmuir. As soon as you set foot in this magical town you will feel as though you have been taken back in time. Stroll through the cobbled streets and brightly coloured cottages and make sure you visit Culross Palace which is the main attraction in the village. In Outlander Culross is home to Geillis Duncan and her husband.
Doune Castle, in Doune, Stirling is absolutely breathtaking. It represents the fictional Castle Leoch in the series. It's a 14th century medieval castle with impressive architecture, it was once home to Robert Stewart, the 1st Duke of Albany. Other locations that were used for the TV series that are worth visiting include Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, Blackness Castle in Falkirk and Pollok Country Park in Glasgow.
Orphan Black follows the life of Sarah, an orphan with a troubled past. Sarah takes on the identity of someone who looks like her, only to discover she is her clone. The series is set in Toronto, which is becoming an increasingly popular filming location for major productions. Orphan Black uses a wide range of local sites to give the series a strong sense of place.
The very first scene is shot at Union Station with the CN Tower in the backdrop. There's also a lovely skyline shot of the city. The exterior shots of the home of Sarah's close friend Felix are filmed on McDougall Lane, near Spadina Avenue and Queen Street.
Small hints are given throughout the first series to give away where it is set. For example, the licence plates are all local Toronto plates, there is a clue on Alison's birth certificate and of course there are the familiar landmarks such as the CN Tower, which is seen several times.
The Angus Glen Community Centre also features in a couple of scenes, both inside and outside of the building. The Police Station, which is used throughout the series is actually a building located on King East Street. Numerous hotels are also showcased in Orphan Black, including the Thompson Hotel and the Waverley Hotel.
The series also gives you an insight into Toronto's bar and restaurant scene, featuring both upscale joints and edgy bars. Educational institutions also make an appearance, including Kelly Library, the stunning Knox College and St Michael's College.
The show didn't exactly intend for people to associate it with being obviously set in Toronto, but they certainly don't attempt to hide it. Toronto is a bustling, cosmopolitan city with a fun, relaxed vibe which makes it an ideal location for Orphan Black.
Vikings is a thrilling historical drama series that follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok. Lothbrok is a hero who aspired to become King of the Viking tribes. Vikings, produced by the History Channel is a potential rival to the hugely popular Game of Thrones. The TV series really does do Ireland justice, with some pretty epic scenes being filmed throughout the country. All seasons to date have been mainly filmed in Ireland.
A lot of the show is shot in and around the Wicklow Mountains, where there is some rather impressive scenery. The vast majority of scenes for the show are filmed near Lough Tay which is often called Guinness Lake. This area has a Scandinavian feel about it which really suits the show. They built an extensive set on Lough Tay to add authenticity to the series. Another beautiful lake that features in the show is Lough Dan, here the scenery is slightly different and there is a wider selection of different terrains to film on.
Fans of the show may want to visit the breathtaking Powerscourt Waterfall which can be found in Wicklow Mountains National Park. It is used to film a scene where the crew are getting ready for their first voyage on the longboat.
Many of the locations featured in Vikings are ideal for active travellers who enjoy hiking through dramatic scenery. You can go on a self-guided walking trail by Wicklow Way.
Iceland is a mesmerising country that can really give a TV series the edge. It has so many unique places to visit and natural wonders to take in and I feel very lucky to have been able to see this magical country for myself. Iceland is like no where else on earth, which makes it a spectacular location for a TV series. The latest major TV series to choose Iceland as it's home is Fortitude.
Fortitude is supposed to be a town in the Arctic which is completely unique. The series follows the close knit community of Fortitude, a town that has never been the site of a violent crime, until now. A research scientist is killed and as the police fail to trust each other, secrets are unearthed from beneath the town's core.
Fortitude's producer but has nothing but praise for Iceland, he said:
‘Iceland is an amazing place. I wouldn't film Fortitude anywhere else.'
The series is set in the Arctic, which would obviously be too cold for filming. Iceland's eastern Fjardabyggd region has some similarities with the landscape of the Arctic, which is partly why it was chosen.
Some of the top sites to visit that have been featured in the series include Jökulsarlon, a lagoon of the glacial river, where the polar bear scene was shot. Mjoafjarðarheiði was used as a double for a glacier in the series, the natural scenery here is spectacular and there is a tiny village you can visit. A lot of scenes are filmed in Reyðarfjörður, Eskiordur, which doubles as the town of Fortitude. Seydisfjörður, a scenic village is also worth a visit, there are lots of hiking trails to take advantage of.
So there you, this marks the end of my finding travel inspiration from TV programmes series of articles. I may do more in future if I feel inspired by the locations of new television shows. Watch this space. I hope you enjoyed these articles and feel ready to go on an adventure.