Time Lord travel: 25 Doctor Who locations across the planet
Seville, Andalucia, Spain
Pernickety continuity experts look away as the fantastically grating worlds of sixth Doctor Colin Baker and second Doctor Patrick Troughton collide when they accidentally bump into each other’s time streams in The Two Doctors. The Andalucían capital, famous for its bitter oranges, adds a touch of exotic heat to this multi-Doctor storyline. Experience some feisty flamenco dancing and fill up at one of the city’s tasty tapas bars.
Central Park, New York, USA
Featured in myriad films including The Avengers, Home Alone 2 and The Devil Wears Prada, and boasting everything from a boating lake to a zoo, Central Park also acts as backdrop to 2012 episode The Angels Take Manhattan. The terrifying Weeping Angels make their mark, sending newlyweds Amy and Rory Pond permanently back in time.
Britain’s oldest recorded Roman town, Colchester is mentioned as setting for a number of latter day Doctor Who episodes. Actor and comedian James Corden has his series debut in The Lodger and amusingly showcases Matt Smith’s impressive football skills. Once the capital of Roman Britain, Colchester is home to a number of places of archeological interest as well as a beautiful castle.
Royal Albert Hall, London, England
Exterminate! Exterminate! Yes the 1964 monochrome story The Dalek Invasion of Earth playfully used locations all over the British capital, surely frightening Londoners by the masses. As well as catching a show at the Albert Hall, you can take a tour around the auditorium, including a sneaky peek at the Queen’s private suites, the Royal Retiring Room.
Southerndown Beach, Wales
Fabled Badwolf Bay features in the climactic 2006 episode Doomsday, filmed at Southerndown Beach. Pulling at the heartstrings of Doctor Who fans across the world, the episode has one of the last appearances of Billie Piper as star-crossed lead companion Rose Tyler, who she plays with Shakespearian magnitude alongside David Tennant’s tenth Doctor.
Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona, USA
The final shot to be filmed on location during American-centric 2011 episode Day of the Moon was at this dramatically extensive concrete dam in Arizona. For a small fee, the guided tour will take you down in to the depths of the dam to explore inner workings of this engineering marvel.
Leeds Castle, England
Let your inner child run wild while exploring the enchanting Grade I listed Leeds Castle and its grounds. Seen in the 1978 episode The Androids of Tara, this aristocratic abode is home to fictional Count Grendel of Castle Gracht. In reality the castle used to house Henry VIII’s first wife Catherine of Aragon and today plays host to the world’s only dog collar museum.
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, England
Get back to nature and make sure you spot the striking red-and-black hut featured in The Ultimate Foe during your visit to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, which is free to all visitors and open all hours. Don’t get too close, as appearances can be deceiving; the hut was a TARDIS used by infamous Doctor Who villain The Master in this 1986 episode.
Dan-yr-Ogof Showcaves, Wales
These caves star in 1978 Doctor Who story The Pirate Planet, written by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams. “Ooh” and “ahh” your way through this maze of mighty stalactites, stand agog at the “frozen waterfall” and witness history being (very slowly) made as a new “shower” cave is born. Plus there’s even a dinosaur park to sink your teeth into.
The Majestic Theater, New York, USA
Delicately balancing the glamour of 1930s New York theatre days with the Great Depression, 2007’s Daleks in Manhattan is a stage for yet another Dalek invasion attempt. The beautiful sets were fashioned on the Majestic Theater in the heart of Broadway, which today welcomes visitors to watch their long-running production of The Phantom of the Opera.
Valley of the Gods, Utah, USA
This vivid and arid sandstone skyline is a postcard-perfect stretch for a road trip. The panorama helped give the 2011 story The Impossible Astronaut a truly cinematic feel. In addition to the extra special budget evident in the series opener, a replica of Buzz Aldrin’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission space suit was created exclusively for the episode.
Caerphilly Castle, Wales
This medieval castle surrounded by vast artificial lakes has been used in a number of episodes since the 2005 revival of Doctor Who. Notably in spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures, Caerphilly plays the perfectly spooky setting for a haunted castle investigation in The Eternity Trap. Visit with an open mind: you never know who or what you might bump in to…
Harrison’s Rocks, England
This sandstone crag is a popular beauty spot among both climbers and Whovians with a sense of adventure. The outcrop features as a tricky entrance to the Dwellings of Simplicity in the 1982 story Castrovalva; you’ll find it in the countryside near Groombridge, East Sussex.
For a heightened chance of spotting the cast and crew filming on location, head to Cardiff to spend some time (albeit behind barrier tape) in the presence of the Doctor and the TARDIS; the production team make use of just about every landmark from the Millennium Stadium to Queen’s Arcade Shopping Centre. Be sure to join one of the many Doctor Who bus and walking tours around the city.
In a bid to resuscitate the series, the 1996 TV movie was a particularly hammy (and ill-fated) attempt at widening Doctor Who’s international audience. Filmed around Vancouver, parading as San Francisco, the film features the only extended appearance by dandy eighth Doctor Paul McGann, and Sylvester McCoy’s last appearance as the seventh Doctor. This was McCoy’s first and only time using the show’s eponymous hero gadget, the Sonic Screwdriver, which he ended up operating the wrong way round.
The 1979 story City of Death introduces Bond villain Julian Glover as alien Scaroth. In an elaborate plot to fund his time travel experiments by stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre with the use of snazzy shoestring special effects, a poetic Tom Baker saves the human race once again. Comedy fans keep your eyes out for Monty Python actor John Cleese’s cameo, as he discusses the finer artistic points of the TARDIS.
Congresso Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil
This otherworldly Brazilian landmark, built by architect Oscar Niemeyer, is like something straight out of a futuristic Syd Mead illustration. Home to Brazil’s federal government, the National Congress of Brazil is cited as the Earth Presidential Headquarters in the 1973 Doctor Who, Frontier in Space. Free guided tours of the structure can be booked, just be on your best behaviour.
A Cyberman, a Dalek and a Silurian walk into Stonehenge… no, it’s not the start of a dodgy joke, but a movie-like scene in the penultimate fifth series episode, The Pandorica Opens. You can still visit the world’s most famous prehistoric stone circle, though clambering over the boulders is strictly forbidden.
UNESCO-listed Trogir acts as a sunflower-drenched facade to this artistic Doctor Who episode Vincent and the Doctor, where viewers get to experience a snapshot into the life of post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. Many of the sets produced here were sympathetically modelled on Van Gogh’s famous paintings, and Pirates of the Caribbean actor Bill Nighy cameos as an uncredited gallery guide.
Bringing a touch of romance to the franchise, this sanctuary for sweethearts just so happens to play a second home to a blood-sucking alien species in the 2010 episode, Vampires of Venice. You can experience the gothic romance for yourself by gliding through the city on a gondola, but you might want to think twice before dipping your digits in the waters of the Grand Canal.
Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, Italy
This poignant location provided the setting for the 2008 story, The Fires of Pompeii, which reflected the inevitable ethical dilemmas thrust upon a time traveller. The bittersweet tale was also a conduit for the later casting of Karen Gillan as companion Amy Pond and new Doctor Peter Capaldi; both played roles in this episode.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Lanzarote’s Montañas del Fuego in the Martian-like landscape of Timanfaya National Park provided the perfect setting for the 1984 Doctor Who story, Planet Of Fire. Also featuring the island’s stunning beach-laden coastline, the tale introduced the bikini-clad companion of Peri Brown, a character created especially to boost the American appeal of the series. Oo-er, Master.
LEIDESPLAIN, AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands
This Dutch city plays host to a spirited space race against time as fifth Doctor Peter Davison romps around the streets of Amsterdam attempting to catch ex-Time Lord Omega before he turns into anti-matter, taking the Earth’s tulip and clog supplies with him. Why Amsterdam? It just happens to be Omega’s Earth base for operations – not a sketchy excuse for a production team holiday at all!
Spitbank Fortress, England
Filmed around the UK’s Solent, The Sea Devils episodes saw monsters causing menace around No Man’s Land Fort. Alas not currently accessible to the public while it’s being regenerated, you can still enjoy a nautical drive-by on your way to stay at neighbouring Spitbank Fort, which is now a quirky luxury hotel. Just keep your eyes peeled for holidaying turtle-humanoids.
Wookey Hole Caves, England
In 1975 while filming Revenge of the Cybermen in this allegedly haunted grotto, actress Lis Sladen had to be rescued from the caves’ waters after a speedboat stunt went awry. But this wasn’t the only doomed moment during filming; the stuntman meant to rescue her ended up in hospital and the production team’s electrician broke his leg slipping off a rock – some spooks just aren’t Doctor Who fans!