Top five ‘TV-tourism’ destinations

Travel website Travelbite has come up with the top five “telly-tourism” destinations this season – but only some of them are real, the others are just imaginary…

Benidorm, Benidorm

The cult series which follows a group of holidaymakers and their ongoing sun, sand and sangria sagas, takes place in Benidorm, one of Spain’s first ever package holiday and timeshare destinations. The humorous look at ‘Brits-abroad’ is so popular that it has boosted holiday sales in Benidorm since the series began. Holiday website Travelsupermarket.com has revealed that searches for travel to Benidorm increased by 159 per cent while the series is broadcast Friday nights, compared to the usual level of searches on other days.

Isle of Fernando’s, Take Me Out (imaginary)

In TV’s most popular dating game, the lucky couples get to spend time on The Isle of Fernando to get to know each better over drinks at the edge of the sea at sunset. But where is the Isle of Fernando’s? The name is fake but of course the places are real. Series three is filmed in Cyprus and series two was shot in Tenerife, Europe’s timeshare capital for winter sun.
Barry Island, Gavin and Stacey

It’s back to Britain for Gavin and Stacey and the hit TV show starring James Corden (Smithy), Ruth Jones (Nessa) and Stacey Shipman (Joanna Page) has really put Barry Island in Wales on the armchair tourist map. The famous attractions and breezy sea setting make it a favourite summer holiday spot.

‘The Island’, Lost (imaginary)

The most imaginary TV destination of them all, perhaps, is “Lost” island, now an international favourite and captured on DVD. The action takes place around a group of plane crash survivors who are forced to try and survive on a remote island somewhere between Sydney and LA and the island looks idyllic but it constantly tests their ability to survive. Filming took place in Hawaii (on the island of Oahu) and the beach scene was filmed on Mokule’ia Beach on Oahu’s North Shore. The inland forest scenes were shot on Oahu’s Windward Coast in Ka’a’awa Valley, which apparently also featured in Pearl Harbour, Godzilla and Tears of the Sun.

Downton Abbey, Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle in real life)

Although there is no such place as Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes’ intriguing, ever-unfolding drama starring Dame Maggie Smith which follows the story of an aristocratic family and the servants who work at the magnificent estate is so popular that it was the most-viewed programmes on Christmas Day when a special episode aired. Downton Abbey addicts will be pleased to know a new series will return this autumn.

The “real” Downton Abbey is actually Highclere Castle in Berkshire, which is open for public visits and has become one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations since it first appeared in Downton Abbey in autumn 2010.

In real life, Highclere is owned by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. It’s one of England’s most beautiful Victorian castles set in 1,000 acres of spectacular parkland and has belonged to the Carnarvon family since 1679. The magnificent property stands on the site of an earlier home, which was originally built on the foundations of a medieval palace, so Highclere, transformed into Downton Abbey on our TV screens, has a fascinating history itself.

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