Five Alien planets you can visit right here in the UK (sort of)
It's the final frontier, and rocketing into space to explore strange new worlds is a fantasy for many people who remember fondly sitting cross-legged in front of the TV watching Star Trek, or queuing at the local cinema to see Luke Skywalker fight the forces of the '˜Dark Side'.
But what if visiting an alien planet was as easy as jumping in the car and driving? Well, it turns out it can be - although you might also need a sturdy pair of walking books and a ferry ticket.
It turns out that the UK’s varied landscapes have been used in films for years to represent alien environments, as Hollywood location scouts scour the planet for sites that can be realistically transformed.
So if you thought the planet Takodana, in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or Jupiter, in 2001: A Space Odyssey looked familiar - maybe it’s because you’ve been there!
Here are five Alien planets you can actually visit:
Jupiter (Isle of Harris ) 2001: A Space Odyssey
The Isle of Harris stood in for Jupiter in Stanley Kubrick’s classic science fiction epic. The barren, rocky landscape near Loch Airigh was transformed using the relatively old-fashion cinematic technique of... a coloured lens filter.
Get there - From the ferry terminal at Tarbert take the A859 Leverburgh road, turning left after about 4.5 miles onto an unclassified road signposted to Geocrab, Stockinish and Roghadal. Park at an electricity substation just a few metres down this road.
Takodana (Cumbrian National Park) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Cumbrian National Park in the Lake District provides the backdrop for the spectacular aerial battle between the First Order and the New Republic. Thirlmere is clearly identifiable to anyone familiar with the region, as are Maiden Moor and the Catbells as stormtroopers battle with Han Solo, Chewbacca and Finn.
Get there - Walk from the lay by on the western side of the A591 between Grasmere and Keswick. The nearest postcode is CA12 4TN. Parking charges apply.
Fiorina 161 (Dawdon Beach) Alien 3
An area of the beach at Dawdon, known locally as ‘The Blast’ was used to film the opening scenes of the third movie in the Alien series . The former coal-dumping site looked positively otherworldly doubling for prison planet Fiorina 161, where Ellen Ripley crash lands.
Get there - Head to Seaham on the A182 and park near Noses Point, where you can follow a walkway down to the beach. SR7 7TT.
Naboo (Whippendell Woods) Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace
Whippendell Woods, in Hertfordshire, doubled as the forests of Naboo, home planet of Queen Amidala and an area of great religious significance to the Gungans - perhaps the most controversial aliens in the Star Wars universe.
Get there - Head for the car park at post code WD17 3TX.
Vogsphere (Ystrad Quarry) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Vogsphere, the homeworld of the Vogons, features in the 2005 adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, starring Martin Freeman. Like many a location scout before, the team behind the film picked the Welsh quarry to depict the barren, alien landscape.
Get there - Well, this is actually a working quarry, so we wouldn’t advise you go traipsing around like Arthur Dent. But if you’re in the area, the closest village is Trefil, Blaenau Gwent. The postcode NP22 4ET should take you along the main road. You’ll see the quarry on your right if you’re heading from East to West.
Check out our locations map in full here