Many of the worlds’ major cities have such amazing character and architecture that they are a gift to the filmmaker. There are great tours available showcasing the films and locations in many cities. Here are some of our favourites.
One of the most successful movie franchises ever, Ian Flemmings agent 007 has spawned 25 blockbuster films from the Bond stage in Pinewood Studios in the UK and locations across the globe. But where better for a James Bond tour than his home base of London? Brit Movie Tours takes you on a walk from the Planet Hollywood restaurant where you can see props from the movies through the heart of Londons’ government headquarters and shows you settings from films such as For Your Eyes Only, Die Another Day and the latest release Skyfall. While you tour your guide will not only tell you snippets about the films but about the connections between the movies, the novels and the real life of Britains’ secret service. The James Bond tour of London lasts approximately 2 hours. Tickets available on the website and must be purchased in advance.
Check out this video of what you can expect on a guided movie tour.
As soon as you arrive on Manhattan Island it feels very familiar. Crowded with some of the most iconic buildings in the world and used in so many films and TV series you feel instantly at home. The On Location Tours company run a number of tours based on TV and film locations and the most general is the NY TV and Movie Sites Tour. This three and a half hour bus tour takes you to over 40 locations across Manhattan used in films such as I am Legend, Spiderman, Devil Wears Prada, Vanilla Sky, Taxi Driver, North by Northwest, King Kong, Wall Street, Friends with Benefits and Christmas favourite Miracle on 34th Street. You will also recognise TV icons such as the apartment building home to Monica and Rachel in Friends, and the diner used in Seinfeld. As the bus tours the city you will catch glimpses of many of its famous landmarks which have appeared in so many fins such as The Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building, The Time Life Building and the Flatiron building. Tickets are available on the website and booking in advance is essential.
Hollywood is the eponymous home of the movies and is chock full of tours and theme parks celebrating the association. Dearly Departed Tours takes you on a bus tour around Tinsel Town and other areas of LA to show locations of your favourite movies, from horror films through iconic classics to todays blockbusters. The bus used is known as the Movie Theatre on Wheels and you are treated to clips from the films as you visit the areas that are on screen. The guides are very knowledgeable and will not only tell you a huge amount about the films and locations but about the history of Los Angeles. This is a tour for the die hard movie fan, as more casual observers of the silver screen may not know all of the names and films mentioned. The tour lasts two and a half hours and a timetable of available dates and times is shown on the website. Children under 1 year old are not permitted on the bus and parents are advised that some content may not be suitable for children under 13.
When Peter Jackson was doing an ariel tour of North Island New Zealand looking at possible filming locations for Lord of the Rings he spotted the sheep farm near Matamata, 2 hours south of Aukland and knew it would be right for Hobbiton. Of course, being a sheep farm and not the home of Hobbits, considerable construction and design was used to transform the farmland into the Shire. Not a city movie tour then but a must for fans, the whole fantastical set used in the films can now be toured. You start your visit at the Shires Rest, a cafe and function centre with great views over the nearby Kalmai mountains. The car park is sizeable so if your are touring the area in a camper van there is plenty of room. You will then be taken round the 10 acre site and visit Hobbit Holes, the Mill and the Green Dragon Inn, where you can stop for a drink in a perfect recreation of the interiors used in the film. The tour guide will share secrets of filming and of the construction of the set. The tour takes a little under 2 hours and you can book a number of add ons such as transfers from near by towns such as Matamata and Rotorua or a stay at a local farm for a few days around your visit.