Do you want to spend a weekend in Hogwarts or would you prefer to have a stroll through The Shire?
Many famous fictional locations seem so fantastical and outlandish that it seems impossible such a place could exist on Earth. While some creative licence has been used, the inspiration for these locations are open for the public to see. Here is a list of five fictional locations you can visit.
1) Middle earth
While writing Lord of the Rings Tolkin lived near Bimingham and was aware of a nearby area called the Black Country. The land was covered in ash and soot from nearby factories built during the Industrial Revolution. Tolkin hated what had become of this countryside and expressed this in his work. When Sam looks into the Mirror of Galadriel he sees the Shire turned into a factory. Trees are chopped down to burn in the fire and black smoke covers the landscape.
“There’s some devilry at work in the Shire.”
This idea became the foundation of Mordor. The Mordor scenes were actually filmed in Tongariro National Park in New Zealand which matches the book’s description of the country.
Tolkien also lived in Sarehole which was the inspiration for The Shire. In Sarehole there were rumours of underground homes and tunnels and his aunt’s house was called Bag End, the name of Bilbo’s and later Frodo’s home.
The scenes in and around The Shire were filmed in Matamata, New Zealand. You can visit the set on a special tour or visit many of the replica Shires found around the globe.
2) Gotham, Metropolis, Arkham Alyslum and the Fortress of Solitude.
Assuming that Superheroes were real why would you want to live in a city they work in? You only need to watch one superhero film to understand that when heroes and villains fight, skyscrapers fall. This idea has been brought up in The Dark Knight films and more recently in Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. While the heroes and villains themselves may not be real, their homes are.
Both Gotham and Metropolis are based on New York City. To be exact Gotham is based on New York by night and Metropolis New York by day. This decision was made to show that even the best cities in the world have a dark side.
The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.
Arkham Asylum is based off the Danvers State Hospital, also known as the Danvers Lunatic Asylum pictured below.
The Asylum was abandoned in 1992. Of course, vandals broke in and sprayed graffiti everywhere making the placer even creepier than before. It was knocked down in 2013 and turned into flats but I bet they’re haunted.
Superman’s Fortress of Solitude can be found in Chihuahua, Mexico. Like the Fortress, The Cave of Crystals has gigantic crystals dwarfing anyone who steps inside. The cave remains largely unexplored due to the temperature sometimes reaching up to, 136 degrees Fahrenheit/57 Celsius.
3) Hogwarts and The Hogwarts Express
Magic isn’t real. Hogwarts however is. Many locations have been used to film Hogwarts. For the first two films Alnwick Castle was used. The Great Hall scenes were filmed in Christ Church College in Oxford. Gloucester Cathedral, Lacock Abbey and Durham Cathedral were also used along with the Warner Brohers studio.
The Hogwarts Express travels over the Glenfinnan Viaduct also known as the Hogwarts Viaduct on the West Highland line. The train is a 0-6-0 Hall Class steam locomotive and is often used to pull special trains. In 2003 and 2007 the train was vandalised by muggles who sprayed graffiti and smashed windows. Once filming had finished the engine and several carriages were put on display at the Harry Potter Studio Tour experience.
“What a desolate place this is.”
C3PO said of Tatooine and yet the planet was the home of “The Chosen One” Anakin Skywalker and later his son Luke Skywalker as well as retired Jedi Master Obi Wan “Ben” Kenobi. It’s a sparse desert planet that also hosts Jabba the Hut, Tuskin Raiders and the Sarclac Pit.
The Tatooine scenes were shot in Tunisia and many of the buildings and locations still exsist. The cave Ben Kenobi sits in, the spot where the Storm Troopers attack and the city of Mos Eisley are all visitable. Luke’s home is now a hotel any Star Wars fan can stay in and it even has a Star Wars inspired menu. The locals use these buildings daily and many of them were damaged in a severe sandstorm several years ago but they remain more or less intact.
5) The Floating Mountains from Avatar
The film Avatar is set on the planet of Pandora home of the Na’vi, blue humanoid creatures. The plot revolves around Jake, a human, who uses an avatar (a remote control Na’vi body) to become a member of the Na’vi tribe and gain their trust so the humans can steal a rare metal from under their home. Jake ends up joining the Na’vi and fighting against the humans. Avatar won Best Achievement in Visual Effects and Best Achievement in Art Direction which isn’t surprising if you’ve seen the film. The planet of Pandora and its wildlife is stunning. One location in particular stands out from the rest; the Floating Mountains also called the Hallelujah Mountains where the final battle between the Humans and the Na’vi takes place. The Floating Mountains float due to the rare ore in them being trapped in the magnetic currents of the planet.
While we don’t having Floating Mountains we do have Zhangjiajie National Forest Park located in China. James Cameron used these mountains as the basis for his own when he was there in two thousand and eight. After the film’s release they spiked in popularity and one column was renamed the ‘Avatar Hallelujah Mountain’. You can also take the ‘Magical tour to Avatar-Pandora’ if you want a closer inspection.
Have you visited any of these locations? Have you perhaps visited another location that was the basis for a fictional setting? Let me know in the comments and be sure to read part two of this post when it is in two weeks time.