Top 3 film tourism experiences for 2019
Thanks to an increasing interest in ‘film tourism’, travellers are now exploring the locations and inspiration of blockbusters more than ever before.
Inspired by the flurry of major films set to be released in the coming months, hotels around the world are offering behind-the-scenes access and real life experiences of much-loved characters.
From your very own Mary Poppins nanny in London to a real-life Lion King safari in Africa, read on for our top picks of how to get closer to the action of your new favourite films…
FILM – ‘MARY POPPINS RETURNS’ launching December 2018
LOCATION – The Kensington Hotel, London
To celebrate the release of the new Mary Poppins Returns film starring Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep, The Kensington has launched a new family package: ‘Suite Nannies’, available to book from 21st December.
Guests can book a stay in one of the hotel’s top suites to guarantee a city break to remember for the whole family. The package includes their very own ‘Mary Poppins’ style nanny from the renowned Imperial Nannies agency for 12 hours per day, as well as local excursions, games and tasty treats.
In order to provide parents with some well-deserved respite, or for those visiting London on business with the family, the new ‘Suite Nannies’ package offers the ideal solution, whilst ensuring the little ones maximise their time in the city and are stimulated throughout.
As part of the package, Sara Jane Ambrose, Founder of the UK’s leading nanny agency, Kensington-based Imperial Nannies, will hand-pick the perfect companion for each family booking the package.
They will act as the children’s very own ‘Mary Poppins’ and even come equipped with their very own Mary Poppins carpet bag, full of toys, games and surprises for the children to enjoy. The package also includes trips to local attractions with the nanny in the nearby area, catering to children of all ages.
After a busy day exploring the city, the family can meet up at The Kensington once again and enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea together in the Drawing Room.
The day ends with hot chocolate and storytelling for the children back at the suite, whilst parents can kick back at the hotel’s stylish K Bar and enjoy a selection of small plates and a bottle of Perrier Jouet’s vintage Belle Epoque Blanc De Blancs, all of which is included in the package.
The Imperial Nannies package includes three nights in either The Kensington (from £7,500) or The Knightsbridge and The Brompton Suites (from £5,500), an Imperial Nanny for 12 hours per day, excursions for the children, one afternoon tea for four and one bottle of Perrier Jouet’s Belle Epoque Blanc De Blancs champagne with small plates at K Bar.
The package is available to book between December 21st – March 2019. Nannies can be further tailored to suit each family’s requirements at a further cost.
For more details, visit doylecollection.com/hotels/the-kensington-hotel
FILM – ‘MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS’ launching January 2019
LOCATION – Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland
Gleneagles Hotel will be celebrating the UK launch of the highly anticipated historical film ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ starring Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan in January 2019, with an exclusive new experience for guests.
Delve deep into the fascinating history behind the life of one of our most controversial Royals, as Gleneagles’ in-house Blue Badge guide offers privately-guided tours of Linlithgow Palace, where Mary was born and Stirling Castle, where she was crowned Queen of Scotland in 1543.
Gleneagles is within easy reach of some the country’s most historic destinations, making the hotel the perfect base from which to explore Mary’s life and this defining chapter in Scottish history. The tours will be hosted by the hotel’s Blue-badge guide, Iris Marhenke who is a specialist on Mary and her era.
Guests will be driven from Gleneagles to Stirling Castle and Linlithgow Palace, passing by key sites including Sheriffmuir, the site of a major Jacobite Rebellion in 1715, and The Church of The Holy Rude, where Queen Mary’s son King James VI of Scotland and England was crowned in 1567.
Once at Stirling Castle, skip the queue and the large tour group tours and instead be taken on a private tour with Iris, bringing Mary’s past to life with stories of her time in the historic palace. After the history tours, the experience continues back at Gleneagles with a specially created ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ cocktail in The Century Bar.
Guests will also receive a book on Mary Queen of Scots so they can stay immersed in Mary’s life-story and keep it as a souvenir. On request, trips to additional historic properties associated with Mary and located near Gleneagles – including Drummond Castle, where Queen Mary spent some of her honeymoon, Loch Leven Castle and The Palace of Holyroodhouse – can be organised with a Rolls Royce transfer.
The ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ package at Gleneagles costs £2,850 based on two adults sharing an Estate Room for three nights. Rates include dinner one evening in The Birnam Brasserie, guided tours of Stirling Castle and Linlithgow Palace, a Mary Queen of Scots cocktail and a book on Mary Queen of Scots. A Rolls Royce transfer is available – price on request.
The package is available for purchase by contacting Resort Sales on 0800 704 705 or click here for more information.
FILM – ‘LION KING’ launching July 2019
LOCATION – Kenya, Africa
Celebrating the launch of the hotly-anticipated Disney remake of the Lion King in July 2019, The Safari Collection is launching a privately guided safari to the Kenyan locations which inspired the original film.
The safari will be privately guided by Robert Carr-Hartley (cousin of Mikey Carr-Hartley – fourth-generation Kenyan and co-owner of The Safari Collection) who was closely involved in the creation of the Lion King film in 1994.
Robert was the animator’s guide during their research safari and provided inspiration prior to the film being made. He was also instrumental in changing the screen play to include Pumba, choosing a warthog as Simba’s side-kick, and helped with songs and Kenyan sayings which played a part in the creation of ‘Hakuna Matata’.
This once-in-a-lifetime experience begins with one night at Giraffe Manor, renowned for its herd of resident Rothschild’s giraffe who join guests for breakfast and tea, sometimes poking their necks into the windows in the hope of a treat, before retreating to their forest sanctuary. Joining the giraffe is Simba’s trusty sidekick, Pumba, along with a ‘sounder’ of friendly warthogs who gather in the Giraffe Manor grounds and on the lawn.
From Nairobi, guests will then fly onwards to Laikipia for a two-night stay at Borana Lodge. The Borana Ranch is where Robert guided the animators in their quest for Pride Rock, and while staying at the lodge, guests can enjoy sundowners on this very rock, which overlooks panoramas of the ‘Pride Lands’ below.
From the main horizon pool, children will love spotting cheeky ‘Ed’ and friends from the Hyena Valley Damn below, and interacting with high densities of hornbill – the inspiration for Simba’s royal adviser, Zazu.
From Borana, guests will fly onwards to Samburu for two nights at Sasaab, close to the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya’s Northern Frontier District. At Sasaab, guests will see the Ewaso Lion Warriors – a conservation initiative developed by The Safari Collection and Dr Shivani Bhalla – which helps Samburu warriors become ambassadors for lions within their communities, while raising awareness about conservation and advocating for peaceful co-existence with lions and wildlife.
Here, guests have the opportunity to meet Samburu Warrior Jeneria Lekilelei, who conceived the Warrior Watch programme in 2010 and has since been responsible for engaging dozens of Samburu warriors in lion conservation, winning the Conservation Hero Award from The Walt Disney Company for his work.
Guests will then spend an evening under the stars with Sasaab’s fly camping experience, ideally taking place between January to June to spot the ‘Leo’ lion astrological constellation.
The following morning, guests will fly on to the game-rich Masai Mara for two nights at Sala’s Camp. Guests will have the ‘circle of life’ at their fingertips staying at Sala’s Camp, which is situated close to the confluence of the Sand and Keekorok Rivers – a geographical feature that attracts an array of wildlife.
Staying in the heart of lion territory, guests of all ages will love hearing the famous Sala’s Pride morning roar from their tents, searching for paw prints in the riverbed and spending time with the pride on game drives, before flying back to Nairobi for departure.
This itinerary is just one example of the tailor-made, East-African itineraries The Safari Collection specialise in, in addition to the four lodges and camps the company operate throughout Kenya.
Rates for The Safari Collection’s Lion King privately guided 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.
For more details on East African itineraries, visit thesafaricollection.com
Kenya photography courtesy of The Safari Collection