In what would otherwise be a Home Alone 2 and Love Actually dominated holiday movie marathon, The Holiday earns a special spot on my must-watch list every year. Why? Is it because I’m a hopeless romantic or have an affinity for romcoms starring Kate Winslet? Not exactly.
One of my favorite travel pastimes is hunting down filming locations.
The Holiday has a special place in my heart because I stumbled onto the set on a trip to Shere, a village outside of London, while studying abroad in 2006. You see, one of my college roommates came to visit England and had family in Woking, a town in Surrey. She suggested I meet her there, so I hauled ass from London to the countryside. After a lovely English dinner at her relatives’ home, the next day they drove us over to the quaint, English countryside village of Shere. It was positively what I pictured an English countryside to look like.
Post-shandys, we made our way over to St. James Church from where we could see Kate Winslet’s character’s house a short distance away. However, the “house” we could see was actually not a real house, but a set prop built specifically for the movie’s exterior shots. A tour guide at the church told us that if we got close enough to the house we’d see that it was no bigger than a glorified dollhouse, you know, the ones lucky kids have in their backyards.
Funnily enough, at the time I didn’t even consider that I might like the movie once it came out. Let alone find it so heartwarmingly charming that it’s been added into my Christmas movie rotation. So unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of “Iris’ House” or the set decorations around the village. Still though, it’s always fun to get to visit the filming locations of my favorite TV shows and movies when I’m traveling abroad or even in my own backyard here in Los Angeles.
To those of you who celebrate Christmas…Merry Christmas! To those who don’t…Happy Holidays! And to all…Happy New Year!