"Suddenly, you're in McGonagall's classroom!"
Some years back I visited Cumbria with a friend, seeking locations from my favourite film, Withnail & I. We dined upstairs at Crow Crag (actually Sleddale Hall), found the gate the bull charged through, made calls to our agents from the red phone box and found Ma Parkin's farmhouse. For such a dedicated Withnail fan, it was nothing less than thrilling. And there are plenty of other cult classics to be found across the UK.
Any Harry Potter fans out there? Thought so. From outside Durham station, catch the number 40 Cathedral bus, then head straight to the Chapter Office at Durham Cathedral - suddenly, you're in Professor McGonagall's classroom! Outside, the Cloisters were used as Hogwarts' corridors, while the central courtyard was the scene of many a moment, from Harry trudging through the snow with faithful owl Hedwig to the Slytherin Quidditch team attempting to scare Oliver Wood, the Gryffindor captain. Alternatively, stop off at York - the pedestrian bridge at the station is where Hagrid passes Harry his ticket for the magical Platform 93/4.
Small screen favourites
Travel to the end of the line and you're in Newcastle, or Auf Wiedersehen, Pet territory. The classic drama about Geordie builders, pictured below, was written by comedy kings Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, and was filmed all around Tyneside. The rail station itself is where Barry (Timothy Spall) arrived in the city, ending up confused at a bus stop out front. An eight-minute walk away is the celebrated bar area, Bigg Market. It's there that Dennis (Tim Healy) picked up wife, Vicki, in series one. There are many more locations listed on this website: aufpet.com/tyneside.htm
Travelling south-west again, Manchester is home to the cult time-travel cop drama Life on Mars, starring John Simm as Sam Tyler and Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt. The iconic locations - the Railway Arms, police station and Sam's flat - were all sets, sadly, but there are dozens of sites still standing. Google 'Life on Mars filming locations Google Earth', hit the top link - and there they all are, plotted by an avid fan. Just minutes from the station are a cluster of filming sites that include Gene Hunt's Cortina drive, on Baring Street, in the first episode, and the van robbery from series two, episode two, on Heyrod Street.
And so to Scotland, for two cult film classics. One, you may never have heard of - Restless Natives. If not, track it down instantly! Pictured above, it's a tale of a wolfman and a clown, two modern-day outlaws who become local heroes, in the mould of Gregory's Girl (only better). The brilliant cop chase at the end was filmed in Edinburgh's Victoria Street, while the iconic city scenes shown during the end credits include one of Holyrood Park, a bus ride away on the number 30. You'll find more locations here: scotlandthemovie.com/movies/fnatives.html
Somewhat darker than Restless Natives is the film that launched Ewan McGregor's career. Trainspotting opened with the lads looting the John Menzies shop on Princes Street, then scarpering towards the Calton Road bridge. Most other scenes were filmed in Glasgow, including the football match: to relive the moment, take the underground to St George's Cross, then walk to the Firhill Health Complex on Hopehill Road. You'll find these locations and more at movie-locations.com/movies/t/trainspotting
More of a music fan? Nowhere Boy, the 2009 biopic of John Lennon's formative years, was unsurprisingly shot largely around his home city of Liverpool. Visiting filming spots can therefore double up as a mini-pilgrimage in memory of the tragic Beatle, taking in legendary landmarks such as Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane - just jump on the number 76 bus towards Halewood from Great Charlotte Street, disembarking at Penny Lane to walk a short distance to these immortalised spots. You can even see John's childhood home on Menlove Avenue, Mendips, although the house you see in the film is a studio mock-up. The shots of the city's landmarks, though, are all genuine - so you can walk the streets trod by Aaron Johnson, pretending to be John Lennon, in the very places the man himself has walked.
Tempted to go location hunting for yourself? List your favourite films, do a little internet research and jump on a train. You may find yourself hooked.
Nick Griffiths is the author of the Doctor Who locations travel book, Who Goes There.
Born on the network
Loads of film stars have been born and bred in cities and towns on the First TransPennine Express network. Here are a few of the biggest names...
Thomas Sean Connery, 80, was born in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, his great-grandparents having emigrated to Scotland from Ireland in the mid 19th-century. His first job was as a milkman in the city.
The Sex and the City actress was born in Mossley Hill, Liverpool, in 1956. The reason you may not detect a Scouse twang was because her parents emigrated to Canada three months later.
The late, great Sweeney and Inspector Morse actor was born in Gorton, Manchester, and raised in the Burnage area of the city. Caroline Aherne (The Royle Family) also hails from Manchester.
Shaun Mark Bean was born in the Handsworth district of Sheffield, in 1959. He hoped to play professional football, until ruled out by injury, and has a tattoo reading '100% Blade' on his shoulder, citing his love for Sheffield United, who are also known as The Blades.
The star of Lawrence of Arabia is believed to have been born in Leeds in 1932, although he also has an Irish birth certificate and is himself uncertain where exactly he was born! He trained as a journalist on the Yorkshire Post before switching to acting.