If you’ve been watching The Durrells on Sunday nights and have been as entranced by the amazing scenery as the acting, you might want to know where you can find this idyll.
Well, we can reveal that it’s filmed in a north-eastern corner of Corfu, where you can eat in the Durrells’ old house or spot sea creatures and animals like the young Gerald. Staying here, even today, can feel like you’re holidaying with the family themselves.
A Wildlife Paradise
Filmed around the rugged northeast of the island and parts of Corfu Town, The Durrells is set in 1935 and based on the hilarious 1956 book, My Family and Other Animals, written by Gerald Durrell.
In the TV version you follow the family’s escape to Corfu – a wonderful natural playground for the young Gerald, which he describes as ‘paradise’. The wildlife and landscapes of the island inevitably shaped his future as a naturalist and founder of Jersey Zoo – now Durrell Wildlife Park – in the Channel Islands.
And what Corfu’s like now is not so different, with many corners retaining the old-world charm of yesteryear and the natural beauty that influenced Gerald’s literary works, he wrote a trilogy of books based around the island. This makes it easy to walk in the footsteps of the Durrells.
Do as the Durrells Did
You can visit The Pink House in Perama and snorkel among nearby rocks where Gerald would have searched for starfish and sponges.
If you fancy staying on dry land, head to The White House in the small waterfront village of Kalami. This is where Gerald later lived with older brother, and fellow author, Lawrence along with Lawrence’s wife Nancy. Still owned by the same family that let the house to the Durrells, it’s now a restaurant serving delicious seafood. Here the village maintains its charm with olive trees that roll down as far as the white pebbly beaches.
Live Like the Stars
If you’re more interested in the stars of the TV show, you can holiday in the same luxury hotel the cast stayed in while filming – and maybe even ask the staff what they were like.
The Corfu Imperial Grecotel Exclusive Resort is a five-star hotel set on its own private peninsula with a massive pool, four restaurants and four Blue Flag beaches nearby. Located in Kommeno Bay, it’s between Corfu Town and all the main sites of northeast Corfu featured in the series.
While on your stay you can visit Lake Antiniotissa, which Gerald dubbed ‘the lake of lilies’. The Durrells often picnicked at this beautiful spot where the water is as flat as glass, in contrast to the waves of the cobalt blue sea beyond.
Walk with Bellamy
For those particularly interested in the wildlife of Corfu, you can get involved in Gerald Durrell Week during 7th to 14th May 2016. Experts Dr Lee Durrell – widow of Gerald Durrell – and Dr David Bellamy will take you on guided walks to explore the island’s creatures. These include amazing spectacles like swarms of fireflies at night.
Travelling to this part of Corfu gives you a chance to see the natural beauty and Greek charm of the island, rich in wildlife and flora. You can give your kids a little bit of the idyllic childhood Gerald Durrell experienced – even if it’s only for a week. And if you take a romantic stroll along the island’s ancient walking trails, you could believe that you’re back in the 1930s.
To grab yourself a little bit of that Corfu magic, check out all the beautiful places to visit in the northeast of the island and beyond.