Travelling

TV Travels: How To Visit The Locations Of Top TV shows

Netflix has arrived in Australia. (*Sings: Haaaaaaallelujah, Hallelujah.*) My binge watching of TV shows and developing bizarre celebrity crushes can now resume as normal.

TV affects where I want to travel too. I can’t tell you how much I want to visit Albuquerque, New Mexico since Netflix bought us Breaking Bad and its spin-off Better Call Saul. Just a few years ago I had never heard of Albuquerque, let alone being able to spell it. And it seems I’m not the only one, TV tourism is actually a thing now.

So for all my fellow telly addicts, here is a guide to visiting the locations of some top TV shows.

‘Ramsey Street’, Melbourne (Neighbours)

It wasn’t purely the fact that Neighbours and Home & Away are among my favourite TV shows that made me first visit Australia but they were definitely a factor. Subsequent travels have taught me there is a lot more to Melbourne than its affinity with a so-bad-its-good TV soap but I’ve got to admit I loved visiting the real life location of Ramsey Street on my first trip to Australia in 2008.

On the set of Neighbours in 2008

On the set of Neighbours in 2008

For those that don’t know, Ramsey Street is not the real name of the quiet cul-de-sac in suburban Melbourne where the show is filmed, but if you visit with the Official Neighbours Tour they bring a fake Ramsey Street sign and you can hold it! The Neighbours Tour will take you from Melbourne CBD to various locations where the show is filmed, including the school that stands in for Erinsborough High and the studio sets for the garage and Grease Monkeys (as it was known back in 2008!) They’ll fill you in on show gossip and if, like me, you book the tour with ‘star meeting‘ they’ll introduce to a cast member (could be past or present.)

The tour takes about 3 hours and costs $55 per adult.

‘Summer Bay’, Sydney (Home & Away)

Yep, I went there too. You may remember that it was not long after I moved to Sydney that I booked myself on a Home & Away Tour. (This post just gets more and more embarrassing.) Summer Bay is set in North Sydney’s Palm Beach, which is a beautiful spot whether you’re a fan of the show or not. The Home & Away Tour meets passengers at Circular Quay and escorts you to Palm Beach whilst sharing insider show gossip and trivia along the way. The tour tries to correspond with filming so you get a chance to meet the cast, but alas there was no one around on the day I visited.

Summer Bay Surf Club

Summer Bay Surf Club

If you want to grab a snack at ‘The Diner’ head to the Boathouse on Palm Beach. The exterior of The Boathouse plays the diner in the show but inside has totally different decor (that part is shot in a studio.) The Boathouse is a great place to dine though, especially on the deck out the back which looks over the bay and pier.

The Home & Away Tour costs $105 AUD per person and includes transport, coffee and lunch.

Albuquerque, New Mexico (Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul)

Netflix really put Albuquerque on the map for me. The obsession started with Breaking Bad – all those unblemished skies and dry desert lands they used to escape to and cook methamphetamine (ahem.) Better Call Saul takes the New Mexico love even higher because it is shot so beautifully – every scene is like some kind of lonely, cinematic, retro postcard and I just want to BE in it.

Better Call Saul causes an unexpected love affair with New Mexico

Better Call Saul causes an unexpected love affair with Albuquerque

So I’ve been dreaming up an epic American road trip that will no doubt involve taking part in this – The Breaking Bad RV Tour! Fanatics like me are driven to multiple film locations in an RV, just like they use on the show. The tour (priced at $75) lasts 3 hours, takes you to 20 different places and, get this, even includes lunch at Los Pollos Hermanos’s! (Although it’s technically called Twisters)!

The RV tour is not the only option, there’s also an open air ABQ Trolley ride that lasts 3 hours. It seems the town has gone a little overboard with the Breaking Bad tourism though. Apparently the Candy Lady in Albuquerque’s Old Town sells Meth Candy – rock candy dyed blue to resemble the blue meth made on the show. Don’t think we need to go to that extent..

Washington (House Of Cards/previously West Wing)

I’ve never been to Washington or seen the White House and now that Frank Underwood is causing havoc in it for Netflix’s House Of Cards its creeping up my wishlist. I’ve read that most of House of Cards is filmed in Baltimore. (Alas Freddy’s BBQ Joint is fictional, a gutted Baltimore storefront serves as its exterior). If you want to get really technical you’d have to head there, but for me its more about seeing the sights of Washington as shown in the opening credits.

House Of Cards make we want to visit Washington although Frank Underwood really scares me! (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

House Of Cards make we want to visit Washington although Frank Underwood really scares me! (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

DC By Foot offer free walking tours of the city, including an interesting looking one on government secrets and scandals. One of the tour guides was a House Of Cards extra so maybe she will have some gossip for me?

Northern Ireland, Croatia, Morocco, Malta and Iceland (Game Of Thrones)

You’re going to think I’m weird now but I totally missed the whole Game Of Thrones bandwagon. I’ve watched one or two when they’ve turned up on inflight entertainment but couldn’t tell what season it was or what on earth was happening. Strangely though, I have been to almost all the places they use for filming – like The Dark Hedges of Armoy otherwise known as County Antrim, and the Beyond the Wall area actually found in Iceland. If I were a fan of the show I’d be tempted by the Viator Walking Tour Of Dubrovnik or Filming Location Tour in Reykjavik, which seem to combine the right level of GOT facts with local history and knowledge.

Game of Thrones filming location at the viking era settlement in Þjórsardalur Iceland

Game of Thrones filming location at the viking era settlement in Þjórsardalur Iceland

New York (Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Sex & The City, etc etc)

A telly addict could spend a lot of time visiting the back drops for TV shows in New York. I’ve been to New York a couple of times and have mainly wandered around and sussed out certain locations as I went along. If you really want to tick off a list of TV show locations this tour covers a wide range of TV and movie sites, including the apartment building in Friends and pub that inspired MacLaren’s in How I Met Your Mother.

Pose on the steps of Carrie Bradshaw's apartment. (Photo: REX)

I’d like to take a peek at Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment. (Photo: REX)

Because I’m having withdrawal symptoms from the show (am I the only girl in the world who wants a third movie?) I’d like to take a Sex & The City Tour, which covers Midtown, Greenwich Village, Soho and Meat Packing District, whilst giving you time for shopping and cupcakes (those magic ingredients!).

Are there any TV shows that have inspired your travels?

15 Comments

  • Reply
    Hannah
    April 14, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Totally with you on the Breaking Bad/better call saul front – Really want to head to Albuquerque! Oh and New York – but only if someone will give me the money to live like I’m on Gossip Girl! x

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      April 14, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      O yes, and a house on the Upper East Side. That would be nice 🙂

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    April 14, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Ahhh, I love seeing tv and movie sets! I would love to go to New York for gossip girl and friends. I recently went to New Zealand’s Hobbiton from LOTR/Hobbit and it was AMAZING!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      April 14, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      I’m not a LOTR or Hobbit fan but can imagine how exciting it would be to see the NZ backdrop in real life

  • Reply
    Hayley Simpson
    April 14, 2015 at 10:13 am

    I totally visited Wilmington in North Carolina because it is where One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek were filmed. Yes, it was amazing.

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      April 14, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Haha that is on my ‘long list’. Also Seattle because of Grey’s Anatomy (which Nicole also mentions below).

  • Reply
    Natasha
    April 14, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I love this post – its so true that Netflix is affecting me too – I just seen Heartland – and now dying to visit Canada again and the Alberta’s Rockies – husband not so convinced

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      April 14, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Sounds like I shall have to save Heartland until a time when I can afford flights to Canada 🙂

  • Reply
    Rosie
    April 14, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    I would love to visit all of the GoT locations, I am such a huge fan!
    Rosie
    x
    http://www.anenglishrosie.blogspot.co.uk

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      April 14, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      You could do quite the European/African tour – they film in awesome locations!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    April 14, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Haha, damn you! *shakes fist* I was just in the process of writing a similar post!!!

    Did I see that Justin got Stan!? How are you finding it compared to Netflix AUS?
    I’m really keen to watch ‘Better Call Saul’!!!

    TV locations I want to go include;
    * DC – House of Cards
    * Morocco/Tel Aviv – (small parts of) Homeland
    * The Cloisters, Central Park, NYC – Gossip Girl (can’t believe I haven’t gone there yet!)
    * Croatia/ (back to) Iceland/Northern Ireland – Game of Thrones
    * Seattle – Grey’s Anatomy (gotta find myself a McDreamy 😉 )

    …can’t even think what other TV shows I’ve been binging on Netflix right now!

    Most of my travel TV inspiration comes from binge watching Nat Geo Traveller when I’m in Adelaide! Ahh… parents with Foxtel is nice! haha.

  • Reply
    Jayne Gorman
    April 14, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Our lists are so similar. I have this extra long wish list for the States which includes randoms like Roswell! I’ve also been inspired by The Amazing Race before, what can I say, TV gives me massive FOMO!

    We signed up to Stan for 2 months just to watch Better Call Saul – which is fantastic – but have ditched it now that Netflix has arrived so we can watch HOC and Orange Is The New Black etc. Stan also had a habit of freezing during shows, although this could just have been the Aussie internet.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      April 15, 2015 at 4:20 am

      Perhaps a US road trip in 2016 is in order? 😉

      Yes! The Amazing Race is another source of inspiration. Wow, how did I forget about that?! (The current season airing in Oz is a cracker though. Couples vs blind dates chosen by friends/family)

      Thanks for the info about Stan! 🙂

  • Reply
    Emily
    April 15, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    TV shows always make me want to visit places! When I went to Australia last year, I was determined to visit Melbourne purely to do the Neighbours tour! I also really want to go do the Gossip Girl tour and want to visit Seattle because of Grey’s Anatomy!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      April 16, 2015 at 1:57 am

      So I’m not the only one 🙂

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