The best TV set tours in the UK
We’ve talked in the past on the site, about TV tours over in LA, but the UK is equally famed for its iconic TV shows and as a place where many blockbuster films are made, thanks to the huge studios available and a highly skilled workforce on the technical side.
TV and film set tours are enormously popular, so here is a taste of some of them to get you in the mood for a visit.
Doctor Who Experience
Cardiff is the setting for the Doctor Who Experience – it’s been filmed in and around the city since returning to TV in 2005 – and it’s the ideal day out for fans (and there are many all over the world). Not only do you get an Exhibition Hall with a whole bunch of scary monsters – the chances are high that you’ll get to see a Dalek and a Cyberman together with a variety of Tardis consoles – but you also have an opportunity for an interactive experience with the most recent Doctor, Peter Capaldi. If you’re a Doctor Who buff, you’ll know he is not actually called Doctor Who but is, simply, The Doctor. And if you didn’t, well, you do now!
Fans of the boy wizard – there are eight blockbusting films from JK Rowling’s seven books – have plenty of choice when it comes to tours. The first place to visit is the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, where you can get right up close to the costumes, visual effects and props used in the films. You can walk around actual sets that were used in the films and get a real understanding of how they were made.
You could also take a London location tour, ending at the memorable Platform 9 ¾, and, if you’re a major Harry Potter series fan, you could opt for a tour of the UK, taking in the likes of Alnwick Castle in beautiful Northumberland – Hogwarts in the first two films – Durham Cathedral and Gloucester Cathedral, the settings for many famous scenes.
If you’ve ever wanted to get a sense of the British upstairs-downstairs life, then the Downton Abbey Tour is ideal. This tale of aristocrats and their servants has gripped the world, and you can get an insight into the locations in various parts of the country. First up probably has to be Downton Abbey itself, or rather Highclere Castle as it is actually called. It’s just south of Newbury in Hampshire, and you can see the opulent rooms and oak staircases for a sense of how the “other half” lived.
Arguably the most successful film franchise ever, you can get a taste of the super spy’s (fictional) life by taking a tour that will bring you past the MI6 Headquarters in Vauxhall, on the south bank of the River Thames, and, if you want, you can take a high-speed boat trip down the river as seen in one of the popular films.
Wherever you decide to go, you can be sure of an amazing experience, drawing you into the heart of your favourite TV and film series.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.