We saw colour-changing walruses; the blue whale with its car-sized heart; the horror-movie style anglerfish, and we were, if you’ll forgive the pun, hooked.
Cut to present day. Attenborough is no longer just highly esteemed, but a much-loved British icon; some say the country’s grandfather. In the last 16 years, a further four series have aired under the Planet franchise.
Here at eShores, we were inspired. We’ve heard that the Attenborough’s shows have positively impacted travel and tourism around the world, and we wanted to know more.
So, we decided to find out every location that Attenborough has taken us to over the years and try to build it into the ultimate multi-centre holiday. Some places proved to be unreachable, but we managed to come up with an adventure as close as possible to walking in the footsteps of the film crew.
Along with the first series of Blue Planet, we looked at the 2006 series of Planet Earth, followed by Frozen Planet in 2011, Planet Earth 2 in 2016 and 2017’s Blue Planet II.
Here are the routes we put together for each series, along with a map showing every location of the complete Attenborough trip:
Blue Planet (2001)
Planet Earth (2006)
Frozen Planet (2011)
Planet Earth 2 (2016)
Blue Planet 2 (2017)
The Attenborough Trip: In Numbers
Patience was a significant characteristic required by the crew, and if you wanted to emulate them as part of the ultimate wildlife-seekers holiday, you’ll probably need some too.
On a route that would take in every location across the six series, you’d have to embark on 175 plane journeys (there are trains and car hires along the way too). The most of which comes from the locations for Blue Planet II, where you’d need to board 37 planes to emulate Attenborough’s feat in that series alone.
Best take a good book or two with you too. You’ll clock up a mammoth 373,744 miles on your Attenborough-mimicking journey, including 103,976 just to visit the locations of Blue Planet I. Think of the air miles.
As you might have guessed, this trip of a lifetime can’t be done on the cheap. Taking in flights, travel and hotel stays, we estimate the cost at £402,220!
That price also includes a selection of Attenborough-inspired excursions, just to make sure you’re actually seeing these incredible locations along the way. Included in our final costings is a 9-day safari in South Africa, a 3-day scuba diving trip of the Great Barrier Reef, and even an 18-day trek to Mount Everest base camp (along with many others).
As for other locations that the five series’ have shot at, the list is far from brief! Did you spot those methane volcanoes erupting in Blue Planet II? They are located 650 metres deep in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearby Costa Rica and the Bahamas also featured in that series.
Meanwhile, of course, its predecessor Frozen Planet was filmed in 15 much icier spots, including many in the Arctic and Antarctic.
However, the series that covered the most locations was the original Planet Earth. It covered a staggering 66 different filming spots, from New Zealand to Norway, the West coast of Scotland to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.
The shows have undoubtedly given every viewer a renewed desire to travel and see the world. After all, it looks incredible! But overcrowding is increasingly damaging cities like Venice and Santorini, something that Attenborough explains and demonstrates in the shows.
Thankfully, the Planet series seem to be having a different effect. Experts say that people are heeding Attenborough’s warnings, and predict travellers will increasingly venture to new destinations instead. ABTA research found that one in four travellers has plans to visit a country they’ve never been to before, with around one in three travellers hoping to tick a brand new city or resort from their bucket-list this year.
The welfare of the earth and sea is not the only impact the Planet series is having, however. A brighter light than ever is now shining on the wellbeing of animals, and travel agencies are taking important steps to do their part.
As Attenborough himself said at the close of Blue Planet II, “surely we have a responsibility to care for our blue planet.” He was not wrong.
So, here’s to you, David Attenborough. Thank you for showing us not just the world, but our entire, beautiful planet.