Tourist Destinations Made Famous Through Pop Culture

Tourist Destinations Made Famous Through Pop Culture

Someone who is enjoying a book, a song, a
movie, or a television show is enriching his or her inner world by imagining new physical,
intellectual, and emotional possibilities. Sometimes, however, the world a person creates
in his or her art isn’t imaginary at all. All of the places on this list are actual
places that a tourist could visit. All of them have been popularized because of their
associations with certain books, music, movies, and television shows. 10. Graceland (Home Of Elvis Presley) When the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis
Presley, bought his Memphis estate, Graceland, in 1957 it was one of the most costly properties
in the area. Unable to afford the expense of caring for the estate after Elvis’ death,
Elvis’ former wife, Priscilla Presley, opened it to the public in 1982. Now, roughly 600,000
people visit Graceland each year to pay homage to their favorite rock and roll royalty. Graceland is a tourist destination because
of its sociocultural significance. Elvis spent 20 years of his life there. However, Graceland
also has artistic significance, as it has served as a muse for successful songwriters.
In “Walking In Memphis,” singer/songwriter Marc Cohn sings about seeing the ghost of
Elvis Presley while touring Graceland. In “Graceland,” a song from an album of the
same name, singer/songwriter Paul Simon sings about the creative and personal redemption
he finds while visiting his idol’s home. 9. Lyme Park And Sudbury Hall (Pride And Prejudice) Mr. Darcy, the hero of Jane Austen’s 1813
novel Pride and Prejudice, was mentioned more in 1995 than at any time since 1900. This
is partially because when screen and teleplay writer Andrew Davies adapted the novel into
a six hour miniseries for the BBC, he put a handsome face to the famous name. When the novel’s heroine, Elizabeth Bennet
(played by Jennifer Ehle in the miniseries) tours the estate of Mr. Darcy (played by Colin
Firth), whose marriage proposal she has rejected because she thinks him haughty, she realizes
that the man she has turned down is very well endowed… with property. His estate, Pemberley,
consists of lush woodlands and a stately manor. When they unexpectedly meet at Pemberley,
Elizabeth and Darcy better understand both each other and the nature of their own romantic
feelings. The Pemberley of the 1995 miniseries is actually
two places. The exterior shots of Pemberley were filmed at Lyme Park in the Peak District
in Cheshire. When the cast and crew were ready to film the interior shots for Pemberley,
Lyme Park — which is open to the public — was no longer available. The interior
shots for Pemberley, including the elegant, long gallery, were shot in Sudbury Hall, an
estate in Derbyshire. Tour guide Maddy Hall says that when she takes tourists who are
using P and P Tours to Lyme Hall, she doesn’t go inside herself. She wants to keep her vision
of Pemberley (literally) intact. Says Hall, “In our minds we think we have seen Jennifer
Ehle [as Elizabeth Bennet] looking out of the windows and seeing the lake [on the grounds
of Pemberley] – but in fact it’s all down to skillful editing.” 8. Middle-earth (The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy) While he was writing the The Lord of the Rings,
British fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien meticulously created the vivid details of Middle-earth,
the setting for his trilogy. Tolkien produced a colorful, annotated map of Middle-earth,
now housed in the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University. Tolkien also made sketches of
his fantasy realm. When movie director Peter Jackson acquired
the rights for his movies based on Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he knew exactly
which location would best represent Middle-earth: Jackson’s homeland, New Zealand. Jackson
used 150 locations in New Zealand during the making of his movies. Each movie in the trilogy
grossed an average of $970 million, and the third film was the highest grossing film for
2003. New Zealand embraces its identity as Middle-earth in its tourism marketing. On
its tourism website, it’s called “the perfect Middle-earth.” Many people must
see New Zealand’s sloping hills, majestic mountains, and limpid bodies of water as the
perfect features for Middle-earth. Roughly 47,000 Tolkien fans per year visit film locations
in New Zealand. 7. The Empire State Building (King Kong) Since it opened in 1931, the Empire State
Building has been featured in over 250 movies. One of the building’s earliest scene-stealing
cameos was in the 1933 movie King Kong. In the film, the behemoth ape King Kong escapes
from an exhibit and kidnaps the character portrayed by Fay Wray, with whom he is smitten.
He carries her to the top of the Empire State Building, where she’s rescued when the gorilla
is shot repeatedly by airplane gunners. In 1933, the scene served as an homage to
the sociocultural relevance of the (relatively new) Empire State Building. In 2019, the Empire
State Building paid an homage to the film. As part of $165 million worth of renovations,
designers built a gallery with interactive exhibits on the second floor of the world-famous
tower. As visitors walk through a 1930s newsroom, King Kong’s fingers pierce the walls as
he dangles from the rooftop, dodging airplanes. In another exhibit, visitors can step into
King Kong’s arms. 6. The Iron Throne (Game Of Thrones) A Song of Ice and Fire, the fantasy series
author George R.R. Martin began writing in 1991, hasn’t been completed yet. The HBO
series based on Martin’s books, however, premiered in 2011 and ended in 2019. The series
earned 12 Emmy awards for its final season, the most wins for any individual show. The
finale was watched by over 13 million viewers, the most viewers for any HBO show, according
to The Wall Street Journal. Since the show was filmed in 10 countries,
fans of both the books and the miniseries have many tourist destinations from which
to choose. Arguably, the most contested site in the series is King’s Landing, home of
the Iron Throne that inspires the brutal succession “game” that gives the series its title.
In 2019, HBO hid six Iron Thrones throughout the world and awarded prizes to fans who found
them using clues posted on the Game of Thrones Twitter account. The scenes in King’s Landing
featuring the “real” Iron Throne — the one built by the show’s set designers — were
filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia. In 2015, the mayor of Dubrovnik claimed HBO was gifting
the Iron Throne to his city. HBO denied the mayor’s claim. Dubrovnik does not have the
Iron Throne yet, but it does have a museum honoring Game of Thrones. 5. Llanddewi Brefi (Little Britain) One of the recurring characters on Matt Lucas
and David Walliams‘ 2003 BBC sketch comedy television series, Little Britain, is Daffyd
(a misspelling of the Welsh “Dafydd”) Thomas, a flamboyant, inexperienced youth
who doggedly insists he’s the only gay man in his village of Llanddewi Brefi, Wales. The sketches are actually shot in Buckinghamshire,
England. Still, the popularity of Lucas’ character has strengthened the tourism industry
in Llanddewi Brefi. Shop owner Neil Driver, who owns Siop Brefi in partnership with his
wife, Glesni, says tourists come to have their photos taken while they’re standing in front
of the sign at the town’s entrance, and sometimes they steal the signs. In 2005, Driver
told Wales News he had sold roughly 40 shirts with a line from one of Daffyd’s sketches
on them to visiting tourists. 4. Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) Sam Wallaston, a television critic for the
British newspaper The Guardian, called Julian Fellowes’ series Downton Abbey “a posh
soap opera [but] a pretty bloody splendid posh soap opera.” The series dramatizes
the interpersonal relationships of the Crawley family, the owners of the estate Downton Abbey,
and the servants who attend the Crawleys. The Crawleys’ story also intersects with
important sociocultural and sociopolitical events in England at the turn of the 20th
century. Highclere Castle is where the interior shots
(most notably the dining hall, the entrance room, and the staircase) and the exterior
shots for the series were filmed. In a way, Highclere Castle is the titular character,
since the show is named for the Crawleys’ estate. The popularity of the show has increased
the popularity of Highclere Castle, Downton Abbey’s real world counterpart. George “Geordie”
Herbert, the eighth earl of Carnarvon and Lady Fiona Carnarvon, who own Highclere Castle,
say the tourism created by the show has assisted them in paying for the castle’s necessary
repairs. As of 2015, 1,250 tourists per day visited Highclere Castle. In 2019, Airbnb
offered two sweepstakes winners an overnight stay in order to promote the newly released
Downton Abbey movie. 3. King’s Cross Station (Harry Potter) In 2018, author J.K. Rowling’s seven book
Harry Potter series became the bestselling book series in history. Rowling’s series
has sold over five hundred million copies worldwide. Rowling’s work is appealing — especially
for her most devoted fans — partially because of how deftly she depicts Hogwarts, the wizard
training school where Harry seeks to master his craft. In the book, Harry travels to Hogwarts by
taking the train at platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross Station. Boarders must reach the platform
by running through a brick wall between platforms nine and ten. At the actual King’s Cross
Station, platforms nine and ten are separated by tracks. Luckily for Harry Potter fans,
there is still a platform 9 ¾… sort of. A luggage trolley is embedded in a wall in
the station concourse. Above the trolley is a sign that says Platform 9 ¾. Tourists may
have professional photos taken grasping the trolley. A nearby gift shop offers tourists
the option to further personalize the photo by wearing a scarf in the Hogwarts house colors
of their choice. The photo and the scarf are available for purchase. King’s Cross Station’s
platform 9 ¾ welcomes over one million visitors each year. Rowling, for her part, said she
immediately knew she would locate platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station, because it
has emotional significance for her. Her parents met on a trolley there. 2. The Hollywood Sign In 1923, Los Angeles Times publisher Harry
Chandler invested in an upscale housing development. The housing development was called Hollywoodland.
In order to advertise, Chandler bought 45-foot high white letters that spelled out the name
of his development, located on the south side of Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills. He anchored
the letters to telephone poles, and attached a total of 4,000 illuminated lights to his
lettering. The word “land” was removed from the sign
in 1949, long after Hollywoodland had gone out of business. The sign has received regular
maintenance checks since the 1970s, and its sociocultural significance continues to be
confirmed. The Hollywood sign, or at least a studio set replica of it, has appeared in
over a dozen movies. 1. Abbey Road (The Beatles) When rock and roll’s most famous quartet,
The Beatles, crossed Abbey Road in the cover photo for their 1969 album of the same name,
they elevated the significance of their recording studio, Abbey Road Studios. Now linked inextricably
with the success of a band ranked Number One in the 2010 Rolling Stone list “100 Greatest
Artists,” Abbey Road is a symbolic home for any musical artist who desires creative
freedom. Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, and Adele, for example,
have recently recorded at Abbey Road Studios. While Abbey Road Studios isn’t open for
tours, Abbey Road Crossing — the crossing on The Beatles’ album cover — is usually
crowded with tourists taking photographs.

65 thoughts on “Tourist Destinations Made Famous Through Pop Culture

  1. Didn’t Bar Harbor (near Maine, USA) get some tourist attention after some DLC was released for Fallout 4 that took place there?

  2. You forgot the part where a lot of those 30 million followers now have declared the series dead to them and some have even gone so far as to write death threats to the idiot writers who to add insult to injury released a statement on how they were completely incompetent the entire time and did I forget to mention the Daenerys fans and the people who name their daughters Daenerys

  3. No place for the Glenfinnan Viaduct from Harry Potter? Or Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh because of Harry Potter and the film Greyfriars Bobby

  4. Number Six listen to the songs he reference that made Graceland famous (specifically Paul Simon's song Graceland). In the song it is pronounced as in this video.

  5. What about Scotland with Outlander location?. It hasn't hit the popularity of GOT yet, but it also hasn't p$$ed off all it's fans the way GOT did with the finale. Check out the "Outlander" effect on Scottish tourism.

  6. Great idea for an April Fools joke:
    Put up bogus official looking signs on both sides of the iconic Abbey Road crossing declaring the area to be a "Selfie-Free Zone Off Limits to Photography".

  7. Well endowed…. with land. Nicely done.

    Also, JK Rowlings is an untalented hack. There are wonderful fantastical writers to whose vivid worlds kids can relate. Tolkien or Lewis, Asimov, EB White, are a few. TH White, Steinbeck's or Mary Stewart's interpretations of the Morte D'Artur- never mind the lovely and stately original- etc etc etc all are gifted writers worth reading with wondrous stories to tell. Rowlings had 2 ideas relentlessly recyled over 203 books, even the first of which was barely readable.

  8. I was obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio after titanic. I was like 7. I jumped atthe chance to go to the Queen Mary. I thought it had something to do with the titanic. 🤷🏻‍♀️ that’s the only place I wanted to visit because of a movie. That’s my two cents.

  9. Dorset has been used for lots of filming such as corfe castle was used for bedknobs and broomsticks, durdle door was used nanny mcfee and the music video shout and also cliff Richards savours day and the film's sleuths 1972 and from time to time which was directed by julian fellows was filmed at Athelhampton as well as an old doctor who episode and the first viewed episode of the tv series most haunted and lots of other things have been filmed in Dorset

  10. What about Luke Skywalkers' house? Or did the desert finally bury it? Also, what about the droid attack on the Wookies?

  11. Surprised Forks, Washington wasn't mentioned. My friend, who is from Seattle, has described it as "two cows and a gas station".

  12. In my day you could go to King's Cross Station at 2 in the morning and have a quick wank in public between platforms 9 and 10 with hardly anyone noticing. Then some woman writes a book about some kid and an owl doing magic or whatever and all of a sudden it's full of students and Chinese people taking photographs 24 hours a day and you can't get a wank in edgeways. I ask you, what's the world coming to?

  13. Tarrytown, NY – Sleepy Hollow, NY complete with Old Dutch Church and many of the character names are real people buried in the cemetery, along with Washington Irving's burial plot.

  14. Once you have seen it, you can never unsee it: behind George's head on the Abbey Road album cover is the real "Fifth Beatle" (aka a white VW beetle)

  15. I wish I could say "Harry Potter" just like Simon. "Hahry Pottah." Oh well, my midwestern accent will just have to do.

  16. Unless you want to get robbed, see drug dealers and smell piss, then don’t come to the Bronx because of The Joker movie. That’s all you’re going to see and a lot of angry New Yorkers.

  17. You forgot pretty much all of Manhattan. The first time I went there decades ago I kept having deja vu in a place I'd never been. But I'd been watching it on screen for years.

  18. Are you serious, Simon? How could the Cliffs of Moher not make this list? The only place in this list that is actually more famous is Middle Earth. I am disappointed.

    By comparison, the average number of visitors to King's Cross station over the past 4 years was 1.2 million. The number of visitors to the Cliffs of Moher in 2016 was 1.4 million. And the Princess Brise is over 30 years old, bot the recent pop culture phenomenon that Harry Potter was. That tells you something about the staying power of a REAL landmark location.

  19. The only reason that I would visit Highclere, is that it was the home of the Earl Of Caernavon who financed Howard Carter in his search for the tomb of Tutankhamun. The Earl later died of blood poisoning after nicking a mosquito bite whilst shaving. (No 'Curse of The Pharaoahs' – that was an invention of The Daily Mail newspaper). He is buried in a vault built into the fabric of a hillfort in the grounds of the castle. Never seen the programme made there – it has no interest for me whatsoever.

  20. Funny how the only American landmark is Graceland at Number 10. If this was criticism of landmarks there'd be more. Biased much, Top 10?

  21. You might want to do a second last. The church at Rosalynn from the da Vinci code has become a tourist location ever since the movie came out and it was discovered that the church was actually real. It’s one of my places I’m going to go to one day.

  22. Northern Exposure (set in "Cecily, Alaska" or rather Roslyn, Washington) and Twin Peaks (set in North Bend, Washington) are probably just too 90s for the list… 🙂

  23. No Alnwick castle( numerous credits, Harry Potter included) and as for famous village sign surely Gotham should’ve received this credit…. I mean it’s in same county as Bruce Wayne’s mansion

  24. I saw an American tourist complaining about station 9 3/4 as a tourist attraction. It obviously doesn't exist yet for years tourist came looking for it anyway. So to be nice the station owners created that photo opportunity on some random wall. It's completely free and they did it just to be nice to fans of a book they have no interest in whatsoever, yet people still moan about it.

  25. The Mansfield Reformatory in Mansfield , Ohio, stood in for Shawshank (Shawshank Redemption) They have tours, Halloween is a big deal there.

  26. I'm surprised that the Welsh town that The Prisoner was filmed in didn't make the list but maybe that show is a little too old at this point.

  27. Simon, your beautiful accent, amazing vocabulary, and perfect grammar, give me a massive brain boner. Thank you for being awesome.

  28. Some episodes s of a very popular Korean TV series where shot in Québec city. Shortly after the airing, Korean tourists began to visit the city.

    Lucy-Maud Montgomery's novel "Anne of Green Gables" is required reading forr all Japanese hithh school students in their foreign literature course. As a result, many Japanese tourists come to visit the exterior sets in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island.

  29. There's also Mount Airey, North Carolina, the town where the Andy Griffith Show was (to an extent) filmed. My mom was a big fan of that show and my family took a road trip to see it back in the mid-90's. Not sure if it draws the same kind of crowd as it used to, though.

  30. None of the historic sites mentioned in any of Dan Browns books or the movies? I was expecting Roslyn Chaple from Davinci Code.

  31. Like several X-Men movies, X-Men : Days of Future Past was shot in Montréal. Montréal City hall was used as the Paris hotel and the fountain where Magneto and Beast fight is right next to it. The railway tracks where Magneto takes control of the Sentinels is actually a tourist railroad North-East of Québec City.

  32. So I grew up in Matamata aka Hobbiton. It has completley changed my hometown, which is great. When I was a child I thought Asian people slept all the time because they'd be asleep on the tour buses as they went through my town. Well they're not sleeping now.

  33. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: birthplace of Dungeons & Dragons. The town has a convention dedicated to the co-creator, Gary Gygax, every March, along with a display at the museum, a memorial marker, and the home where he developed the game at 330 Center St. open to the public to play a game at. In addition, the original headquarters of the TSR company he created is still standing downtown (as a Kilwin's fudge shop), and the old Dungeon Hobby Shop building is being integrated into the experience soon as well. While Lake Geneva is your typical Midwest tourist town in the summer, in recent years it has become a must-visit mecca for players of Dungeons and Dragons, with thousands of guests every March for the convention, and many others during various times of the year.

  34. I was hoping that Portmerion in Wales would have made the list. Portmerion was used in the original Prisoner TV show for The Village.

  35. Because of the movie "Rocky" there are still hundreds of tourists every day that will go up the art museum steps in Philadelphia, take pictures, then leave but never go into the museum.

  36. well, for all the people India and China have, no location mentioned here touts either of those two countries….. i guess we are all just anglophiles culturally-speaking. or don't the Chinese go to movies? i mean, i know India has Bollywood but no one has created a gotta-see location there or in China? (the Great Wall hasn't been a mega attraction b/c of a song, book or movie, etc, has it?) kinda blows ya away, doesn't it? thanks for posting

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