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6 British TV Shows to Inspire Your Next Trip

Those dreamy, far-off places you see on your favorite shows aren’t actually out of your reach. Do some brainstorming for your next trip while you watch these six British TV shows.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey sweeps viewers into the dreamy and dramatic world of early 20th-century English aristocracy. The Crawley family navigates life and politics in a gorgeous castle, while their servants downstairs have drama of their own.

The show is set in historic Yorkshire, and viewers are treated to views of quaint cobblestone streets when characters dare to mingle with commoners in the town. The Crawleys’ residence is the real-life Highclere Castle, a Victorian palace in Berkshire with 1,000 sprawling acres of green space. The castle is only a 90-minute train ride from London.


This gripping murder drama follows the small town of Broadchurch as its residents come under suspicion for killing an 11-year-old boy. The fictional town is like a character itself, with each episode featuring stunning views of the Dorset coastline, beaches, and rugged cliffs.

The town that plays Broadchurch is Clevedon, a small and elegant seaside town in Somerset. Recreate the drama as you go for a swim at the famous West Bay, or see the iconic cliffs where the victim’s body was found. The cliffs are on the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site along the English Channel.

The Crown

The Crown traces Queen Elizabeth II’s journey from young princess to the longest-reigning British monarch. Learn about the Windsors’ private drama and how the royal family ended up where they are now.

Most of The Crown’s drama occurs in London or the queen’s countryside homes. See the place Queen Elizabeth was reluctant to move into: Buckingham Palace. Hop on a train to Norfolk to visit Sandringham House, where the queen spends the holidays and broadcasts her annual Christmas Message.

Game of Thrones


Based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling books, this international hit follows noble families competing to sit atop the iron throne. Episodes offer inspiring looks at Northern Irish landscapes as the families fight to control the mythical lands of Westeros.

Some of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful locations are on full display for this show. Check out Castle Ward, a dramatic 18th-century country home overlooking the lake of Strangford Lough. The residence doubled as Winterfell in the first two seasons. Remember the Haunted Forest in the pilot where Ned and his children stumbled across direwolf pups? That was actually Tollymore Forest Park, and it’s open for visitors.


This lavish costume drama tells the story of Queen Victoria, the 19th-century sovereign who ruled for 63 years. Follow this young leader as she balances the influential forces around her and establishes herself as one of Britain’s most beloved monarchs. The series showcases many of the country’s most regal and iconic locations.

Since Victoria is a show about British royals, of course it features London’s Kensington Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. After you see these famous royal locations, pay a visit to Harewood House in Yorkshire. Queen Victoria visited this breathtaking residence in 1835, and it’s one of the show’s key filming locations.

Harry Potter

Sure, Harry Potter isn’t a TV show, but is any list of inspiring British film and television complete without the Boy Who Lived? This eight-part movie series filmed all over Britain, so there’s no shortage of destinations to satisfy your Harry Potter-induced wanderlust.

Recreate Harry’s magical journey to Hogwarts aboard the Scottish Highlands’ Jacobite steam train. You’ll wind your way through mountains, lochs, and the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct. You can even buy butterbeer and chocolate frogs from the snack trolley onboard. Once you’ve disembarked from the train, head south to Edinburgh and visit Elephant House, the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter books.

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SmarterTravel co-op Alyssa Lukpat loves exploring new places. Follow her on Twitter.

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