Since Death in Paradise first aired on BBC One in 2011 it has become a smash hit and has provided a much-needed tropical escape from the British winter weather.

Set on the fictional island of Saint Marie, this murder mystery series follows the adventures – and often misadventures – of a series of British-based detectives who are transferred from their gritty London jobs to the sunny Caribbean island of Saint-Marie.

Where is Death in Paradise set? Is Saint Marie a real island?

Ralf Little in Death In Paradise BBC/Red Planet

Death in Paradise is set on the fictional island of Saint Marie, said to be in the Lesser Antilles. The BBC One drama series is actually filmed in Guadeloupe, a tropical insular region located in the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean. Located between Dominica and Antigua, it is a French overseas territory - and thus effectively part of France - consisting of two main islands and having a population of just over 400,000.

Because of its French roots, much of the island's population speaks French, which is why so many of the cast of Death in Paradise speak with a French accent.

What are the challenges of filming in the Caribbean?

You might think the idea of there being downsides to filming in a tropical paradise is ridiculous, but the cast and crew know that it isn’t all sunbathing and sundowners.

Ralf Little, who plays DS Neville Parker, explained: “You have to know all the tricks pretty quickly. The crew work really hard to try and help you out as much as possible.

“It is difficult. It doesn’t sound it - they’re nice complaints to have – but it is a very real on-set challenge, staying cool all the time. Not just for our own comfort but for very practical filming reasons.

“I feel incredibly lucky to be here, but it’s a physically demanding show – there’s no two ways about it.”

Death in Paradise tourist hot spots

Unsurprisingly, given the popularity of Death in Paradise in both the UK and France, many Guadeloupe tourists request to see the show’s famous filming locations. These include:

The Botanical Gardens

Botanical gardens in Guadeloupe used in Death in Paradise

Guadeloupe’s botanical gardens are where the original DI Richard Poole (played by Ben Miller) met his untimely fate at the beginning of series three.

Open to the public and located in the stunning village of Deshaies, these botanical gardens are one of the region’s most popular tourist spots. In addition to the stunning horticulture, you can also see flamingos and lorikeets.

Langley Resort Fort Royal

To get the true Death in Paradise experience, why not stay at the hotel the crew almost always crash at? After a hard day's work filming on the stunning sandy beaches, the crew head back to Langley Resort Fort Royal, a posh ocean-side hotel that consists of both a traditional hotel building and luxury beach bungalows. And if you go during filming, you may be lucky to bump into a cast member (or two) down at their Kawann Beach Bar.

Anse La Perle

This stunning beach is where DI Humphrey Goodman’s (played by Kris Marshall) beach house was filmed. While of course the house is just a set, the public beach is very much the real deal and all are welcome to visit.

How can I get to Guadeloupe?

There are no direct flights to Guadeloupe from the UK but you can take direct flights from Paris's Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports to the island's main airport near its largest city, Pointe-à-Pitre.

You can also fly to various other Caribbean Islands and take an additional flight (in some cases two) to the region, or take a one-stop flight via Florida or New York airports.

What do the cast think of filming in Guadeloupe?

It’s a dream job for many an actor to be sent out to the Caribbean for a full series of Death in Paradise.

Tobi Bakare, who plays Officer JP Hooper, said that he found it a refreshing change to life in the UK.

He explained: “Guadeloupe is solace in a sense. I’m London born and bred and the city’s very busy, so to be on an island away from everything and not to have the extra responsibilities is nice.”

Josephine Jobert, who returns in season 10 as DS Florence Cassell, also loves filming on the island.

She said: “It’s fantastic. You’re away from friends and family for quite a long time, but you make friends here.

“On the weekends, you can go and see waterfalls, see dolphins, see turtles or just chill around the pool all day long. What else do we need?

“I feel so blessed.”