Bad news: it’s too late to book a table for two at the Valentine’s banquet in Hogwarts’ Great Hall (aka the Warner Bros. Studio in Leavesden). No love potion for you this year. The champagne and canapé reception at Downton Abbey (aka Highclere Castle) is also sold out.
Clichéd flowers, chocolates and candelit dinner it is. (Again.) But you can still surprise that special someone with a gift out of the ordinary: an Agatha Christie murder mystery party perhaps, or to a ticket to the inaugural Poldark ball…
Dance the night away like Poldark
The Atlantic Hotel in Newquay is holding a Poldark-themed ball on Saturday 5th March – otherwise known as the feast day of St Piran, the patron saint of tin-miners and Cornwall. Guests are encouraged to don tricorn hats and drop-curl wigs, with prizes awarded for the best costumes. There’ll also be a four-course dinner, live music from the BBC drama’s composer, period dancing and a charity auction for the Cornwall Air Ambulance. Some of the show’s stars are making a cameo although it’s yet to be revealed whether leading man Aidan Turner will be among them.
Tickets cost £98.44 per person or you can book a whole table for 10 people. Click here for more information and to buy tickets. Book in for the weekend and explore the tranquil coves, rugged cliffs and historic mines of Poldark’s Cornwall with the help of our guide.
Radio Times Travel offer: 3 nights in Poldark country with a tour of the Cornish coast, countryside and filming locations from £339
Strut around like Lady Mary
Downton Abbey has closed its doors but, on high days and holidays, devotees can still flounce up that staircase like Lady Mary, or try out the Dowager Countess’s put-downs in the real thing – Highclere Castle.
Britain’s most famous country house is not in Yorkshire; the estate straddles Berkshire and Hampshire, and belongs to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, who can often be seen walking the dogs or watering the flowers. Originally home to a medieval palace owned by the Bishops of Winchester, Highclere was the vision of Victorian architect Charles Barry, best known for the Houses of Parliament. The glorious 1,000-acre grounds are the work of renowned 18th-century landscape architect Capability Brown.
If you really want to push the boat out, book a weekend in London Lodge, a luxuriously restored two-person abode that adjoins Highclere’s formal entrance, an imposing Coade stone archway to the north of the estate. Prices start from £350 per night.
You can read our review of Highclere Castle here. To book tickets or a weekend in London Lodge, click here.
Glamp at Winterfell Castle
Winterfell Castle is actually Castle Ward, a National Trust property with a historic farmyard that doubles as Winterfell in Game of Thrones. It’s also the location of the Whispering Wood and Robb Stark’s camp, and was the backdrop for the brutal Baelor battle.
For £195 per couple, you can check into one of the “glamping pods” – wood cabins in “Winterfell” forest. The price includes an archery session on a replica of the Winterfell range, which has been recreated in the courtyard in the same spot where Jon Snow and Robb Stark taught Bran how to handle his arrows. You’ll also be issued with a “Stark sack” – a medieval scroll map, Cloak of the North costume, sword and “Westeros Cruise” so you can explore the 20 filming locations in the grounds.
To book a pod or a place on any of the activities, see Winterfell Tours.
Radio Times Travel offer: Belfast hotel package and coach tour of Westeros or Winterfell from £115pp
Take cover in Walmington-on-Sea
As Dad’s Army cavorts on the big screen, devotees should head to the coastal town of Bridlington, the filming location for the fictional town of Walmington-on-Sea. Wander the historic old town, which received a “make under” during filming. Better still, book in for 12th June when a 1940s festival is being held.
Purists might prefer a trip to Thetford – the location used as the fictional town of Walmington-on-Sea in the original series. You can visit a handful of landmarks seen in classic episodes, including Thetford’s Nether Row, the Palace Cinema and the Guildhall, which is now the home of the Dad’s Army Museum.
The Bunker, Sennen
Or if you want to really indulge the WWII buff in your life, book a bunker. In West Cornwall, an operations bunker used in World War II has been converted into a holiday home. The sandy beach of Sennen is within easy reach, as is the famous open-air Minack Theatre and Lands End. Prices start from £750 for seven nights. It sleeps six and you can even take a pet. For more information and to book The Bunker, click here.
Radio Times Travel offer: Choose from dozens of cottages in Bridlington and Thetford
Take in the sea air like Agatha Christie
Kick back like Agatha Christie at Burgh Island Hotel, an art-deco hotel on a tidal island in south Devon. Christie was a regular and used it as the inspiration for And Then There Were None, which was recently adapted for BBC1, and the Hercules Poirot mystery Evil Under the Sun. ITV’s 2001 adaptation of the latter was also filmed here.
Take a dip in the sea water bathing pool, borrow a rowing boat, go for a spin on the Sea Tractor, play billiards and dress up to the nines for the live music on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Armchair detectives should sign up for one of the murder mystery parties, which are held several times a year.
Rooms are from £400 per night. Visit Burgh Island Hotel’s website for more information and to book.
Follow in the footsteps of Winston Churchill (and Inspector Morse)
Stay in the grounds of 18th century country pile Blenheim Palace. Like Highclere Castle, this handsome Oxfordshire estate is set in rolling parkland landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown but it’s most famous as the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Fans of Inspector Morse will enjoy an extra frisson because it played a central role in the 1995 episode The Way Through the Woods.
Blenheim Palace has also enjoyed a cameo in many a film including Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, Mission Impossible 5, Spectre and the recent Cinderella starring Lily James. (You can retrace their footsteps using this map).
Plushly renovated Lince Lodge – the only place available for rent in the park – sleeps up to six and costs from £700 per night. Visit holiday home website HomeAway for more information and to book.
Radio Times Travel offers
3 nights in Poldark’s Cornwall from £339pp
Discover the rugged beauty of Cornwall on this Poldark-inspired break. Visit some of the filming locations from the TV adaptation of Winston Graham’s hugely popular novels, and enjoy the spectacular Cornish coast and countryside. Click here for more details.
Game of Thrones short break: Belfast hotel and Westeros coach tour from £115pp
This tour of Northern Ireland’s filming locations for the fictional region of Westeros couldn’t be better. Simply select your travel dates, pick a hotel in Northern Ireland and book your Game of Thrones tour ticket and hotel package for one handy price… it’s easy! Click here for more details about the Westeros Tour.
Game of Thrones short break: Belfast hotel and Winterfell coach tour from £147
On this tour of the filming locations for the fictional region of Winterfell, you’ll be treated to seeing a number of places where pivotal scenes in the hit series have taken place. Click here for more details about the Winterfell Tour.