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Following the footsteps of famous films

As travel becomes easier, the world feels smaller, yet there is always a growing number of cities on everyone’s holiday lists.  Deciding between them can be a difficult task, so why not visit the locations of your favourite films and relive your favourite scenes? Here are some recent films that have embedded themselves in the culture of the places they visit and by taking a holiday to some of the iconic locations; you can draw yourself back into the plot, characters and scenes…

In Bruges – Bruges, Belgium

In Bruges is a dark comedy crime film set in the Belgian city of Bruges. It stars Colin Farrell (Ray) and Brendan Gleeson (Ken) as two hit men hiding, from Ralph Fiennes, their gangster boss. As the duo hideout, they tackle issues of guilt, morality, and redemption. The film and those staring in it won several awards for the movie. Colin Farrell won a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a musical or comedy, while Martin McDonagh won a BAFTA award for best original screenplay.

As the name suggests, the city was prominent throughout the film and Producer Graham Broadbent even went as far as describing Bruges as one of the main characters. There are many locations now iconic from being highlighted in the film, here’s a selection to check out.

  •  Groeninge museum

This is where the guilt-stricken Ray is fascinated by the Hieronymus Bosch painting of The Last Judgment.  Also called ‘The city museum of Fine Arts’, the museum houses Flemish and Belgian paintings, from the likes of Marcel Broodthaers to Jan van Eyck. Highlights of the museum include a collection of “Flemish Primitive” art, works by a wide range of Renaissance and Baroque masters, as well as a selection of paintings from the 18th and 19th century.

  •  Meestraat Bridge

Located between Vismarkt (Fishmarket) and the Groenerel) this is where Ray and his romantic interest, Chloe, enjoy a small reconciliation. This is a great photo opportunity to capture the old stone bridge and surroundings against the river.  If you are there with a loved one, visit in the evening to re-create the romantic atmosphere.

  •  Belfry

You cannot miss the Belfry, located in the centre of Bruges. It dominates the south side of Grote Markt and is one of the city’s most prominent figures. The tower was originally built in 1240, rebuilt after 1280, and generally added to over the years. Climb the 366 narrow steps and relive one of the most memorable scenes in the film where Ken is keen to experience the must -see view. “The view of down here?” observes Ray, “I can see that from down here.”

As there are so many places in Bruge to follow the film trail, the Bruges Tourist Board created an In Bruges map, which you can download here and follow more scenes in the film.

Brighton Rock – Brighton and Eastbourne, UK

Brighton Rock was originally a novel, released in 1938 by Graham Green.  It was first made into a film in 1974, directed by John Boulting and in 2010 then remade staring Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough, Andy Serkis, John Hurt, and Helen Mirren.  Both films and the original novel tell the story of gang boss Pinkie who marries Rose to keep her from speaking out against him after she happened to stumble upon the scene of one of his murders. Although the novel and original film are both set in the 1930s, the 21st century adaptation takes place in Brighton and is set during the Mods and Rockers era.

Despite the name, a large amount of the filming was in Eastbourne, rather than Brighton as it better resembles 1960s Brighton.  To follow the film, your best bet is to visit Eastbourne to see the where the filming took place, then head over to Brighton and visit the landmarks.

  •  Eastbourne Pier and beaches,

It is no wonder the filming took place in Eastbourne, as it is still very much the traditional British seaside resort. The charming pier, which although modernised many times still retains much of its Edwardian splendour, overlooks the award winning beaches. There are also five miles of promenade which run along the beaches leading you past the stunning Carpet Gardens, the famous 1930s bandstand and the historic Napoleonic Towers.

  • Beachy Head

Much of the footage was filmed at Beachy Head, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty and tranquillity with dramatic white cliffs and gently undulating downs. It’s not the first time the area has been used for famous films either, the cliff was also used in the opening sequence to the James Bond film The Living Daylights, in which Bond parachuted from a jeep which overshot the top of the cliff in a scene, although it was scripted as being in Gibraltar.

  • Brighton

A holiday about Brighton Rock would not be complete without a trip to Brighton where you can see many of the landmarks in the movie.  The Pavilion, Brighton Station (film opening), Church Street and the Clock Tower, North Laine and The Lanes and The Star and Garter Pub (serving as Dr Brighton’s) in Little East Street, are all within walking distance and can be visited in a day trip from Eastbourne. Crusader provides coach holidays to Eastbourne which includes an excursion to Brighton.

Eat Pray Love: Ear – Rome, Italy

Eat Pray Love, the film based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert, sees a married woman realising how unhappy her marriage really is, before going through a painful divorce, then taking off on a round-the-world journey to “find herself.” The book was a best seller and made into a film into 2010 where Julia Roberts plays Liz Gilbert. Set in three countries (Italy, India and Bali) the first section, entitled ‘eat’ is set in Italy with scenes in Rome and Naples.

  • Piazza Navona

Some of the most recognisable scenes in the film were at the Piazza Navona, one of the most beautiful squares of Rome, decorated with the famous Four Rivers Fountain. It is a great place to watch the world go by as you enjoy a glass of wine and some of the food mentioned, in one of the restaurants at the edge of the piazza.

  • Campo de’ Fiori square

If you want to learn about local food and products like Liz Gilbert, this square is a favourite spot for the aperitivo of the Romans, and the square with an open air market – a great place to pick up fresh local food for a picnic or flowers.

  • San Crispino Gelateria and Trevi Fountain

Liz falls in love with the Gelato in Italy and San Crispino is believed by many to offer the best ice cream in Rome and it is now popular after being mentioned in Eat Pray Love.  It is located just round the corner from the Trevi Fountain which is arguably one of Rome’s most famous and romantic monuments.

Crusader holidays provide city breaks to Bruges, Eastbourne and Rome, organising the transport and accommodation for you, giving you more time to relax and track down your favourite film scenes.


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