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Popular Culture Travel

Hello, my name is Audrey, and I’m a fan-girl. It’s true. Audrey does her best “swooping Snape” impression.I even dabble in fan-fiction from time to time. I love books, movies, television shows, and history. Finding a combination of two or more of those equates to a fantastic trip in my book, and if it also gives me the chance to stand where Alan Rickman stood, it’s all the more squee-worthy. I’m not alone, either. If you’re looking for a niche for your travel business, you may want to think about Popular Culture Travel. This is a growing market that tailors trips to clients’ cultural interests.

Sometimes, matching clients to a popular culture trip is easy. Do they like the Lord of the Rings trilogy? There’s a tour for that. How about Harry Potter? There are multiple tours for that, as well as a section in Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando. Guests can even travel on the Hogwarts’ Express.

Old Wardour Castle, Locksley castle in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

And let’s not forget one of the most recent pop culture sensations: The Hunger Games. Clients can visit North Carolina, where many of the scenes were filmed.  Geeks like travel, too! I’m a recent inductee to the Doctor Who series, and guess what? Next time I’m in England, I’m looking up Doctor Who themed sights. Maybe a trip to Cardiff? Or how about a trip up to Vancouver, where a number of popular shows, such as Supernatural, and my newly found interest, Stargate: Universe are filmed?

Mighty tasty, says my dad.

It’s possible to do popular culture piecemeal, as well. When my parents, my sister, and I took a two week trip to England and Scotland, we scheduled a visit to Doune Castle in Scotland (filming location for Monty Python and the Holy Grail) for Monty Python day 2007. They gave us coconut halves, had costume contests, acted out some of the most famous skits, set up a viewing of The Life of Brian in the castle courtyard, and had a guest appearance by Carol Cleveland.

Salisbury Cathedral

We enjoyed it immensely. My dad and I even have a picture of us in the same alcove where the Pythons sang “Camelot”.  Even without Monty Python day in full swing, the castle gift shop boasts such whimsical gifts as ‘Holy Grail Ale’.

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Among our other highlights included Lacock Abbey, filming site of Harry Potter (where my sister and I both did our best swooping Snape impressions), numerous manor houses where British favorites such as Sense and Sensibility were filmed, and – ten minutes from our cottage base in East Knoyle, Wiltshire – Old Wardour Castle, which served as Locksley Hall in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

The last window on the left, second story, was Jane Austen's bedroom

A trip down to Hampshire for a tour of a house where Jane Austen lived, followed by a jaunt through a New Forest meadow was also well received. We also did the usual tourist things – Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, the Tower of London – but as fan-girls, my sister and I enjoyed connecting with the worlds which we love to read about or see on the screen.

When your clients get home, if they’re anything like me, they’re constantly reminded of the great time they had when they’re immersed in their favorite world, and they can say with glee, “I stood right there!” – and they’ll remember you for making it all possible.

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Audrey Rawlings, Web Developer, Travel Planners International.