Felicity Long
Felicity Long

I remember a time when people scoffed at the notion that a film or TV show could stimulate tourism to a destination in any meaningful way.

Of course, that was before the "Lord of the Rings" franchise brought visitors to New Zealand in droves, before "Mama Mia" sent fans packing for Greece, before "Downton Abbey" promoted bookings to various locations and before, most notably, Northern Ireland and Croatia began to cash in on the "Game of Thrones" juggernaut.

An especially interesting example is Disney's "Frozen," which has drawn an estimated 1 million visitors to Norway despite the fact that the film is animated. Incredibly, people are being motivated to visit a country based on scenery that isn't even real.

Let's just say that no one is scoffing anymore.

This year's contender is Golden Globe nominee "Mary Poppins Returns," which debuted in the U.S. on Dec. 19 and which has already inspired more attractions and packages than we have room for here.

For example, the new, two-hour Brit Movies Mary Poppins walking tour, which is easy enough for  young children to manage, visits famous locations seen in the film, including St. Paul's Cathedral and the Bank of England.

Theater lovers can take in the new production of "Mary Poppins," based on the original show that ran from 2004 to 2008, at the Prince Edward Theatre in the West End. The play will debut in the fall.

Want an umbrella with a parrot head like Emily Blunt carries in the film sequel? James Smith and Sons located off Regent Street, will make you one, although -- heads up to younger travelers -- the parrot doesn't speak.

Because banks play such a key role in both films, VisitBritain is highlighting hotels, restaurants and museums all over the U.K. that are located in former banks, including the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford, the Harbour Hotel and Spa in Bristol, the Hotel Gotham in Manchester, the Bank of England Museum in London, the Old Bank of England pub in London and the Wolseley bar and tea room in London, just to name a few.

Families looking for a hotel experience based on the movie in the city where the movie is set can take advantage of the Practically Perfect package at London's Milestone, complete with a Spoonful of Sugar Afternoon Tea that includes such Mary Poppins inspired treats as black "chimney sweep" macarons and pastry in the shape of the nanny's flowered hat.

On Feb. 16, Belmond British Pullman is hosting a roundtrip "Mary Poppins Returns"-inspired afternoon tea journey through the English countryside, complete with a musical send-off at Victoria Station, face painting, magicians, balloon artists and kid-friendly cakes and pastries.

Meanwhile, Eurostar is offering a Mary Poppins itinerary that visitors can download and follow on their own or combine with hotel stays.

Given that the movie has been out in the U.S. for less than a month, we expect that this is just the beginning; can pop-up kite stands on Hampstead Heath be far behind?

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