TV Fans, Visit These Smash-Hit Destinations in 2022
Beautiful Cornwall in the United Kingdom made an epic set location for Brit drama 'Poldark' | © Tom Meaker / Getty Images
Stuck indoors with travel envy after watching your favourite show? Make your first adventure in 2022 to one of these star destinations. The top choices include the South Korean capital, which played a central role in Netflix hit ‘Squid Game’, and the tropical paradise behind comedy-drama ‘The White Lotus’. It’s time to put down that remote and make a story of your own.
The Gangnam district is one of the most stylish in the South Korean capital | © kisuk do / Alamy Stock Photo
If you saw South Korean sleeper hit Squid Game, you only caught a snapshot of Seoul – most of the action takes place on a fictional island. But there’s far more to this metropolis than what you saw on screen.
It was neglected by travellers for decades, but recently saw a tourism boom. If you did watch Squid Game, you may recognise the bustling Baekwoon Market in northern Seoul and the fashionable Gangnam district south of the Han River that also lent its name to PSY’s 2013 chart-topper, Gangnam Style.
If you want to explore beyond the Netflix show, visit the Changdeokgung palace and the recent urban development behind the Cheonggyecheon stream.
Courtesy of L'Escape / Expedia.com
L’Escape is an opulent five-star hotel with an 18th-century, European style. The interior has an old-world feel, but the hotel was opened in 2018 and so all the fixtures and fittings (spa, bar, fitness suite) are new. The rooms are styled with Belle Époque furniture and upholstery, while soft lighting throughout gives the hotel a romantic atmosphere. If you want to bash out a love song, there’s a Parisian salon-style library with a Pleyel piano.
The Charlestown harbour is a picturesque spot to recreate scenes from ‘Poldark’ | © Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
Trips to Cornwall have become increasingly popular in the last few years, and Poldark fans can tell you why. The southwestern tip of England provides crystal-clear water, sweeping sea views and rugged cliffs. Several local landmarks feature in the hit show, including the port of Charlestown in St Austell and the windswept Bodmin Moor where the protagonist Ross must have lost his shirt in that famed scene.
Despite the popularity of the area, there are plenty of crowd-free spots to explore. If you’re an adventure lover, travail the South West Coast Path to see the best of Cornwall before quenching your thirst at one of the idyllic pubs in Mousehole.
Artist Residence Penzance
Courtesy of Artist Residence / Expedia
In Chapel Street, opposite the Admiral Benbow pub, is the Artist Residence, a colourful hideaway in a historic Penzance townhouse. Grandiose armchairs and thick Persian rugs fill the cosy bar and lounge, while each room is decorated uniquely. Gather your friends to stay in The Cottage; or treat yourself to a long weekend in The Lookout, where you can sip wine in a copper roll-top bath, or watch the horizon turn pink over the town of Marazion from your terrace. Downstairs is the Cornish Barn, a rustic smokehouse and kitchen with a leafy outdoor area, where you can fill up on gourmet burgers, local meat and sweet cocktails.
The streets of Madrid played host to the ‘Money Heist’ cameras and crew | © robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
Madrid makes an excellent backdrop for the bank-robbing and bedlam that takes place in the Spanish-language show Money Heist. Landmarks such as the Spanish National Research Council (which, for security reasons, filled in for the Royal Mint of Spain), Plaza de Callao and the Cuatro Torres Business Area are all ideal photo opportunities. Also visit Museo del Prado for the art and La Latina for the tapas. There are also plenty of great places to stay in Madrid that you can book through Culture Trip.
Courtesy of Gran Hotel Inglés / Expedia.com
First opened in 1886, Gran Hotel Inglés is the oldest hotel in the capital. Offering a unique blend of urban sophistication and 1920s charm, this luxurious hotel is tucked away in the literary neighbourhood of Las Letras. It exudes a warm cocooning atmosphere, outfitted with a stylish library and a welcoming fireplace in its lounge. It has an elegant spa, while the rooms are adorned with old-school claw-foot bathtubs. Book the suite and soak in a private jacuzzi on its balcony. The distinguished bar, LobByto, offers an authentic tapas and vermouth experience, which rivals that of any bar in the city. For an even more engaging visit, a bar-tending masterclass allows you to experiment and perfect your cocktail-making skills.
Head to leafy Richmond if you’re a fan of soccer-centric show ‘Ted Lasso’ | © mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
One of the most famous cities in the world, it’s no surprise many of our favourite shows call London home. Fans of Ted Lasso can head southwest to the trendy town of Richmond, where you’ll find Ted’s apartment off Richmond Green and his favoured drinking hole the Crown & Anchor, the fictional name for the Prince’s Head pub. For a different vibe, hop on the Underground to the centre of London, where Leicester Square, St Pancras train station and the Tate Modern all feature in series two of action-thriller Jack Ryan. For more set locations, check out Greenwich, just south of the Thames. The Queen’s House here featured in Bridgerton, plus other screen hits including The Crown and Enola Holmes.
The Resident Covent Garden
Courtesy of The Resident Covent Garden / Expedia.com
Ideally placed overlooking the Strand, this 57-room hotel is an easy stroll from the West End theatres and boutique shops of Covent Garden. The simple yet modern guest rooms come with Nespresso coffee machines – call ahead and arrange to have your fridge pre-stocked with your selection of groceries. If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of things to do nearby, speak to the 24-hour Resident Advisors on the front desk who will point you in the right direction.
Your Maui vacation will hopefully be less dramatic than those featured in ‘The White Lotus’ | © M Sweet / Getty Images
So far, we’ve seen a lot of city-based set locations, but if you’re hankering for a different pace of life you could do worse than a visit to the Hawaiian island of Maui, the inspiration behind social-satire The White Lotus.
There are several amenity-heavy resorts and places to stay here, plus beautiful beaches and dormant volcanoes. Pass the time by hiking Haleakala or checking out Ho’okipa beach, going to a Maui wine tasting and ending the day with authentic poi – a starchy paste – at one of the best restaurants on the island. The beauty of Maui as a travel destination has endured for decades, but it’s still possible to head off the tourist trail and discover it for yourself.
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea / Booking.com
Where better to stay than the resort at which The White Lotus was filmed? Incredible sea and mountain views are on offer from one of the luxurious suites here. Choose between an enormous Roman-style swimming pool or an adults-only infinity pool overlooking the ocean. A spa, fitness centre and golf course are just some of the many amenities on offer, and there are plenty of dining choices including steak and seafood. There’s even a babysitting service for families and parking should you need it.
Mystical Northern Ireland was the perfect setting for ‘Game of Thrones’ | © Steve Allen Travel Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
There probably isn’t much in common between the fantasy-epic Game of Thrones and the anti-corruption police drama Line of Duty, but one thing that does unite them is scenic Northern Ireland. This region of the UK has seen a surge in popularity thanks to both of these hit shows choosing it as a filming location, and there are a number of tours across the area catering for fans of the series.
If you want to explore, divide your time between the rugged countryside seen in Game of Thrones and the city sights in Line of Duty. Check out the cliffs of Sallagh Braes (about 40km/25mi north of Belfast) that feature in GoT, and two commemorative wooden doors carved for the show – one in the Dark Horse restaurant in Belfast, the other in Ballygally Castle around 40 minutes’ drive north.
If you’re a Line of Duty fan, you’ll recognise several landmarks in the centre of Belfast, including the police headquarters in Royal Avenue and the setting of the series-three shootout in Tates Avenue.
Courtesy of The Fitzwilliam Hotel / Expedia.com
In the middle of Belfast, this 146-room boutique hotel offers a great base to explore the city, while also being a short distance from the waterfront. There’s an award-winning restaurant and bar – shake up an evening by booking yourself onto a cocktail-making masterclass. You’ll find king-sized beds, bathrobes and slippers in all the rooms, plus Fitzwilliam Hotel toiletries.
Tayrona National Natural Park is one of the tourist highlights in Colombia
The winding streets of Medellín, rugged mountains, and slow strings of Rodrigo Amarante’s bolero folk song Tuyo make for an incredible atmosphere when watching Narcos, a biopic of Pablo Escobar set in 1980s Colombia. Tourism here has picked up considerably since that dark period, with visitors discovering incredible natural beauty in spots such as Tayrona National Natural Park and the Caribbean beaches on the north coast.
If you’re inspired to discover Colombia but you don’t know where to start, join our epic eight-day Andean tour from Bogota to Medellín, where you’ll try authentic Colombian coffee, go river rafting down the Río Negro and explore the best of Bogota.
Courtesy of Terra Biohotel / Expedia.com
This stylish, environmentally friendly hotel sits in the middle of Medellín, a short distance from the Museum of Antioquia. Carbon-cutting features here include vertical gardens, solar panels to heat water and low-impact construction materials. Book a junior suite for a bubble tub and a hydromassage shower. There’s also the Kaia restaurant, serving a selection of Colombian health foods.
See where ‘Peaky Blinders’ was filmed at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley | © Gregory Davies / Alamy Stock Photo
Towns and villages across northern England have travelled back to the post-WW1 period for Peaky Blinders, the long-running series depicting a Birmingham-based gang known for their razor-tipped flat caps. Audiences have been captivated by the gritty, industrial buildings present throughout the series, a nice contrast to the twee shows set in a similar time period.
Both the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley and Arley Hall in Cheshire feature heavily in the programme, as do the Victoria Baths in Manchester. You can even get in on some of the Peaky Blinders magic yourself, as St George’s Hall in Liverpool (the scene of an opulent party) is available for private hire.
The Grand Hotel Birmingham
Courtesy of The Grand Hotel Birmingham / Expedia.com
Dating to 1879, this historic hotel is only a couple of minutes’ walk from Birmingham Snow Hill train station. You’ll find 185 guest rooms, with espresso machines and flatscreen TVs. Bathrooms have complimentary toiletries. Elsewhere, there’s a stylish cocktail bar and an American-themed restaurant, plus a fitness centre and a ballroom for private events.
New York City is the busy backdrop to hit show ‘Succession‘ | © Oleg Albinsky / Getty Images
The internal power plays in the Roy family in Succession can make for ugly viewing, but thankfully the New York setting is anything but. With a plethora of local landmarks featuring in the show, fans of the series, which stars Brian Cox as the ageing patriarch of a media empire, will have lots of sight-seeing opportunities. That includes the Financial District in Manhattan, Cunard Building in Broadway, Fifth Avenue and the East New York Freight Tunnel.
Suite Hotel, Hotel
Courtesy of The Mercer / Booking.com
A stylish boutique hotel in a Romanesque revival building, the Mercer is in the SoHo neighbourhood of NYC. There are 74 rooms across six floors, designed by interior designer Christian Liaigre, most with marble bathtubs that can fit two. The two-level, casual restaurant is led by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and there’s comp access to a nearby gym.