It’s no coincidence that the Emmy Awards nominees for outstanding drama series include six dramas set in incredible locations. In no particular order, we discover each show’s location and explain how to relive some excellent on-screen moments in their original settings…
Breaking Bad – New Mexico
In the little town of Albuquerque local lives have been turned upside down. The world has watched Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s crystal meth dealing antics, and now fans of the series can do ‘cooking’ classes and shooting location tours, and buy bags of little blue rocks from the local sweet shop. It all sounds so wrong, but oh so fun too. Look out for Twisters, the red and yellow Mexican fast food joint, which doubled as meth kingpin Gustavo Fring’s fried chicken shop in the show, plus stop by the Octopus Car Wash, which doubles for the A-1 Carwash, which Skyler and Walter White acquire to help them launder money in the series.
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Downton Abbey – Berkshire
Although Downton doesn’t actually exist, the Jacobethan castle and the 5,000-acre estate in which the series is shot very much does. Since the show, Highclere Castle – owned by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon – has been doing a roaring trade, seeing up to 1200 visitors per day. You too can act out the typically English upstairs downstairs experience by perusing 11 extravagant bedrooms, plus the saloon, library and old staff dining rooms, cellars, and kitchens.
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Game of Thrones – Belfast
HBO’s adaptation of George RR Martin’s fantasy epic is shot in many exotic locations including Croatia, Malta, Morocco, Iceland and Scotland, but the series is predominately shot around the mystical landscape of Northern Ireland. The dramatic cliffs of Murlough Bay and the medieval-style Ballintoy Harbour double for Pyke, and the seat of House Greyjoy. Meanwhile, Castle Ward in Strangford doubles for the Stark Castle in series one, and the ten-mile-long Pollnagollum cave is used as the outlaw hideout in series three. Fans can dress up and geek out on a full tour of Game of Thrones site in the area. See here for more info.
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House of Cards – Baltimore
After an obligatory stop off in Washington to see the White House, where the series is set, head over to neighbouring Baltimore, where much of the series is filmed. On East Preston Street, fans will find Zoe Barnes’ apartment above the strip of shops. On Greenmount Avenue, you’ll spot Freddy’s BBQ Joint, where Frank Underwood gets his favourite ribs – the doorway is next to a sign that says June Liquors & Package Goods. Meanwhile, on Bolton hill at the cross roads of Park Avenue and McMechen Street is Frank and Claire’s house, where the brick flew through the window, and the street where the pair go for a run.
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Mad Men – New York
Much of this iconic 1960s-style drama was filmed in LA, but some was also filmed in the Big Apple and there are plenty of opportunities to experience the boom, bust and beatnik settings in the flesh. Any Mad Men pilgrimage should, of course, start at the advertising Mecca that is Madison Avenue. Drink like an ad exec at P.J Clarke’s (205 East 55th Street) where the Sterling Cooper team celebrates a successful pitch by dancing the Twist by Chubby Checker. Meanwhile, Benihana (47 West 56th Street) features in season four we see Don Draper and Bethany Bethany Van Nuys go on a teppanyaki date.
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True Detective – Louisiana
Scenic southern landscapes, parish churches, open fields, oil refineries and shacks form the backdrop of this HBO crime drama. The best way to see all the filming spots is to hire a car and make like you’re hunting for a serial killer. Grizzly scenes take place in pretty spots: but hopefully you’ll see them without the blood and dead bodies. In order to get to specific locations, you’ll have to follow some coordinates (there are some helpfully mapped out here). It’s actually possible to visit most of the places Marty stops to eat. Dot’s Diner, where Marty meets Papania, is easy to find (Jefferson Hwy River Ridge), they serve traditional waffles and pancakes and are open 24 hours. Meanwhile, the place where Marty and Rust stop for a bahn mi sandwich is actually an ice cream shop. Find Todd’s Cream Shack on301 Apple St in Louisiana.
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