Take an inspired trip to follow in the footsteps of this year’s most exciting television and film characters
Film and television-inspired tourism is a growing phenomenon worldwide, motivated by both the growth of the entertainment industry and the increase in international travel. Inspired by the flurry of major film and television releases this year, hotels and travel companies around the world are offering behind-the-scenes access and real-life experiences of much-loved characters. From following in the footsteps of the March sisters in Little Women’s Massachusetts, to a Lion King African safari with The Safari Collection, read on for our top picks of how discerning travellers can get close to the action and discover the locations and inspiration behind today’s blockbusters.
REAL LIFE ‘LION KING’ KENYAN SAFARI ITINERARY
In celebration of the highly anticipated recent The Lion King release, The Safari Collection has launched a privately guided safari to the Kenyan locations, which inspired the original film. The safari will be privately led by Robert Carr-Hartley, who was closely involved in the creation of the original Lion King film in 1994. The itinerary begins with a one-night stay in Nairobi at Giraffe Manor, which is renowned for its herd of resident Rothschild’s giraffes who travel from their nearby sanctuary to join guests for breakfast and tea, sometimes poking their heads through the windows in hopes of a treat. Guests will then take a short flight to Laikipia where they will spend two nights at Borana Lodge, where Robert guided the animators in their quest to find a location for the iconic Pride Rock. Travellers can enjoy sundowners at this very spot, which overlooks panoramas of the ‘Pride Lands’ below.
Another short domestic flight will deliver guests to Sasaab where guests will be at the forefront of lion conservation, with unique access to the Ewaso Lion Warriors. On the following morning, guests will fly over to the game-rich Masai Mara where they will spend two nights at Sala’s Camp. The ‘circle of life’ will be at their fingertips as the lodge resides next to the confluence of the Sand and Keerok Rivers. Staying in the heart of the lion territory, travellers will be able to hear the famous Sala’s Pride morning roar from their spacious tents.
HOW: Rates for The Safari Collection’s privately-guided ‘Lion King Safari’ start from US$30,570 / approx. £23,458 for a family of four. This includes all accommodation on a full board basis, game drives and activities, conservation fees, private guiding by Robert Carr-Hartley, domestic flights within Kenya and road transfers. www.thesafaricollection.com
THE ULTIMATE BIG FIVE & GORILLA ITINERARY TO CELEBRATE BBC’S MAJOR NEW WILDLIFE SERIES ON THE SERENGETI
From the minds behind some of the world’s greatest wildlife documentaries, BBC One’s major new six-part wildlife series Serengeti took to the screens last month, following the lives of the animals that inhabit the Serengeti region of East Africa. For viewers who have been inspired to visit the Serengeti and see some of the wildlife shown in this epic new series, an itinerary from Scott Dunn with leading conservation brand Singita offers the ultimate wildlife adventure. Singita is a safari brand renowned for its conservation efforts and has built an incredible partnership with the Grumeti Fund to lead the way in sustainability, with the introduction of innovative new technologies to support highly-trained anti-poaching ground forces to herald a new era of tactics geared toward reducing wildlife poaching. As a result, at Singita Grumeti species including elephant, buffalo and lion continue to increase as part of a greater effort to preserve the African wilderness for 100 years of future generations. Guests of Scott Dunn will spend four days at the recently renovated Singita Faru Faru Lodge, which is located in the 350,000 acre private reserve in Tanzania where guests are able to immerse themselves in the East African wilderness on twice daily game drives through the Serengeti.
Guests can then continue their East African journey through the region to experience Singita’s highly anticipated new opening in Rwanda for a final three nights. Here, Singita Kwitonda Lodge (opening August 2019) will offer gorilla trekking within easy reach and an incredible combination with a classic big five safari in the Serengeti. Singita Kwitonda Lodge is on the Volcanoes National Park border and will help to create a natural space between agricultural plots and the habitat of the estimated 320 mountain gorillas that find sanctuary there.
HOW: Scott Dunn offers an 11-night Rwanda and Tanzania itinerary from £10,500 per person. This includes all accommodation based on two people sharing, international flights, car rental and select destination experiences. For more information, visit www.scottdunn.com or call 020 8682 503
‘OFF TO MASSACHUSETTS’… WITH LITTLE WOMEN
Based on the acclaimed 1868 novel by American author Louisa May Alcott, a new adaptation of Little Women will be back on the silver screen in December 2019. Directed by American actress and producer, Greta Gerwig, the story follows the journey of the four March sisters in Massachusetts in the 1860s. Inspired by the upcoming release of the newest incarnation of the film, culture vultures and history buffs will delight in following in the footsteps of the March girls, and be transported back in time on a journey through Boston, Lexington and Rhode Island. As a central set in the upcoming movie, the trip kicks off by flying into Boston, capital of Massachusetts. Discerning travellers should stay at Taj Boston, one of the most iconic hotels in the city, which has occupied Boston’s most prestigious address at the corner of Arlington and Newbury Streets for 92 years. Opened in 1927 by the industrious Wyner family as an original history-steeped landmark hotel, it is ideally located overlooking the picturesque Public Garden – a stone’s throw from some of the most important backdrops referenced throughout Little Women including the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, where the ‘Paris Carriage Ride’ scene was filmed.
Just 15 miles outside of Boston, the itinerary next calls for a stop in Lexington, staying at The Inn at Hastings Park. Historians, note: Lexington is considered by purists as the ‘birthplace of American Liberty’ as it was the first battle site in the American Revolutionary War. It also serves as an ideal base to explore Concord just 7 miles away. Concord played a big part in Little Women, as it is where the central plot is set and where author Louisa May Alcott lived. Finally, after days filled with retracing history and soaking in culture, it’s time to enjoy some down time in America’s smallest state, Rhode Island. The all-American Weekapaug Inn overlooks the scenic shores of Quonochontaug Pond and offers quintessentially New England accommodation in the most serene setting. The Inn’s spectacular location and carefree family-friendly offerings of boating, swimming, sporting and socialising has made it one of the most popular US summer destinations. The original building was damaged by the hurricane of 1938, however a recent $20 million renovation by new owners saw over 1,000 original wartime furnishings salvaged and the Inn restored to its discerning standards.
HOW: Scott Dunn offers a 10-night Massachusetts itinerary from £4,400 per person. This includes all accommodation based on two people sharing, international flights, car rental and select destination experiences. For more information, visit www.scottdunn.com or call 020 8682 5030
THE LIVES AND TIMES OF BEECHAM HOUSE HISTORICAL TAILORMADE TOURS OF DELHI AND NORTH INDIA WITH SCOTT DUNN’S EXPERT TEAM
Those intrigued by Gurinder Chadha’s new six-part Beecham House series on ITV and the depiction of an India on the cusp of the 19th century, will enjoy Scott Dunn’s bespoke itinerary of Delhi, Rajasthan and North India. Staying at the magnificent palaces acting as film locations in Jaipur, travellers will gain an insight into the fascinating real-life characters living at a time when the British and the French were fighting for control over India and the British in particular were seduced by the charms of the India and its people, before the Raj era came into full swing. The setting for Beecham House itself has been created using two of Jaipur’s most exquisite palace hotels. The façade of the house is Narain Niwas Palace – formerly the country retreat of General Amar Singh Ji, Thakur of Kanota, now a hotel and home to the chicest bar and restaurant in town, Bar Palladio – as well as a coterie of chic fashion, textiles and homeware boutiques. The rear of the house was filmed at Samode Bagh, a 250-year-old Mughal palace located just outside the city.
Delhi scenes were filmed at the spectacular Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur, which stood in for Delhi’s Red Fort, as well as the Kishangarh Fort, just outside of Jaipur, which provided the bustle of Delhi market life. The Emperor’s court scenes were filmed at Jaipur’s City Palace – the 18th century seat of the Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II, founder of the city. The Emperor’s quarters meanwhile were shot at the 475- year-old Samode Palace in the heart of the city; sister palace to Samode Bagh, which is loved for its jewel box interiors. Throughout the fascinating itinerary, Scott Dunn will also organise guided tours of Delhi following the life of the notorious Anglo-Indian mercenary, Colonel James Skinner, best known for raising the 1st and 3rd Skinner regiments created for the British and today, still part of the Indian Army.
There is also the opportunity to visit Sardana in Uttar Pradesh, home to the legendary Begum Samru – a ‘nautch’ (dancing) girl who married a European mercenary and became the only Catholic ruler in India in the 18th and 19th century, leading her own troops into battle and demonstrating exceptional leadership abilities in this time of intrigue and subterfuge.
HOW: An eight-day tailormade tour of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur starts from £3,919 per person, including international and internal flights, and accommodation based on two people sharing on a bed and breakfast basis. This package includes personal guided excursions to Sardhana, shopping excursions to Narain Niwas and sightseeing in Jaipur’s iconic monuments as well as a car and driver. For more information, visit www.scottdunn.com or call 020 8682 5030