What places are on your dream road trip?
"Alexa, we've got a European road trip in mind. A grand tour, if you will. Where should we go?
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We don't know about you, but for one reason or another, we've not done any epic road trips lately. Spending far too long at home means we have a renewed longing to get out on the road and see what we can find. There's something about travelling across country (or countries) that cleanses the soul, and who doesn't want a clean soul?
We mentioned this to our chums at Amazon, and they liked the idea too. After all, they have a whole show about idiots driving around places, called The Grand Tour. Maybe you've heard of it?
SInce we're not Clarkson, Hammond or May, we decided to take a slightly different tack with our dream epic roadtrip, and we took inspiration from other shows on Amazon to decide what we wanted to see. Here's what we came up with.
Fleabag – London, UK
This is somewhere in London. Difficult to say where, exactly. (Photo: Danny Lines on Unsplash)
Fleabag is one of the funniest comedies of recent years, and it all takes place in a pretty small area of north London. OK, this isn't going to give you the most epic roads you've ever driven, but London is a cracking city to visit, and if you're a fan of the show you can park up and have a wander around Kentish Town and Tufnell Park. Pop in to visit the guinea pig-themed cafe, which sadly isn't actually guinea pig themed in real life. Sorry.
Good Omens – Hambleden, near Henley-on-Thames, UK
Just the Antichrist and his friends walking through an English village.
The adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's excellent book saw the dream team of Michael Sheen and David Tennant play an angel and a demon respectively, teaming up to prevent the end of the world.
The Antichrist, wouldn't you know it, is a young boy from a very quaint English village called Tadfield, which in real life is the very quaint English village of Hambleden, just outside Henley-on-Thames. Go for an afternoon, buy an ice cream, enjoy the A4115 between Marlow and Henley, which is a cracking stretch of road to drive.
Jack Ryan – Paris, France
Paris. Could you tell? (Photo: Chris Karidis on Unsplash)
Jim from The Office got badass. John Krasinski plays Tom Clancy's CIA analyst Jack Ryan in this action thriller series, and gets to buzz around the world solving crimes and stopping baddies. He spends a bit of time just outside London, so swing by Royal Holloway university in Egham while you're heading to the Eurotunnel. It doubles for the fictional King Edward University, where Jack meets Anabelle, the daughter of the main bad guy in season two.
But from there, head under the English Channel and to the French capital Paris, where plenty of season one was filmed. Places to watch out for are the church of Saint-Merri and the streets of the 20th Arrondissement, where much action tomfoolery was filmed.
The Man in the High Castle – Berlin, Germany
Berlin in our reality (Photo: Adam Vradenburg on Unsplash)
Berlin is a proper party town, so take your dancing shoes. But if you're a fan of the tremendous series The Man in the High Castle, there's much to see. The series imagines a USA post-World War II where Germany had won, and so several scenes are shot in the Fatherland.
The attention to detail is impressive – there were plenty of plans for the development of Berlin after the war (had Germany won in real life) and that's been faithfully recreated. While much of it was never built, plenty of it already existed, including the Victory Column with its famous viewing platform at the top, and the Olympic Bell Tower. Check out the sights, but stay for a few days to enjoy an amazing city.
Vikings – Kattegat, Sweden
Gothenburg. Vikings not pictured. (Photo: Edvin Johansson on Unsplash)
Bit of a funny one this, as while the merry band of Norsemen depicted in the swashbuckling series Vikings live in the Kattegat area of Sweden, the show itself is actually filmed in Ireland. But what the hell, it's a dream road trip, and Sweden is a tremendous place to drive.
From Berlin you could cut up through Denmark and cross over into Sweden – the bit of sea to between the two countries is Kattegat. In Vikings, it's a town where Ragnar Lothbrok and his mates do all sorts of Vikingly things, whereas in real life it's all water, so you'll have to take a bit of artistic licence. But it's an excuse to visit nearby Gothenburg, and maybe pop in to say hi to Volvo.
The Night Manager – Zermatt, Switzerland
Photo: Tucker Monticelli on Unsplash
Even if you have no interest in TV at all, you should drive to this stunning part of the Swiss Alps, because A) it's beautiful and B) some of the roads are insane. Mountain passes galore, and plenty of incredible cars visit every day. But if you do like TV, then you should really watch The Night Manager, shot by the BBC and available to watch on Amazon Prime.
It's an adaptation of John le Carré's novel about a luxury hotel manager (Tom Hiddleston), who's recruited by the UK government to infiltrate the inner circle of an arms dealer (Hugh Laurie). The Meister's Hotel in Zermatt was where Hiddleston was working when he was recruited by Angela Burr (Olivia Coleman). In real life, it's the Riffelalp resort, and the interior shots were filmed at the Chalet Hotel Schönegg. It's very swanky, so bring cash.
The Grand Tour - Portimao, Portugal
Look, there are so many locations used in the Grand Tour that you could go to, from the season one tent locations in Europe (Whitby, Rotterdam, Saariselka, Stuttgart, Loch Ness) to a squillion different segment locations. But we've chosen the site of the hypercard triple test in the very first episode, when Clarkson, Hammond and May headed to Portugal to test the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari The Ferrari. The venue? The Algarve International Circuit in Portimao, which is one of our favourite race tracks ever. If you can go when there's a track day then you'll have an absolute blast, but even if not there's a kart track there, and you're in one of Europe's top holiday locations with some excellent roads pretty much everywhere. If it were us, we'd rocket through France and Spain, stay by the beach for a week and then drive back.