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8 places in Northern England gracing a screen near you

Alnwick Castle

From the world’s first UNESCO City of Film to scenery that helped Harry Potter leap effortlessly from print to screen, the North of England has an unrivalled movie legacy. 2016 is set to be another bumper year with the release of The BFG, Dad’s Army and Swallows and Amazons. They were filmed in Northern England, where the stage was already set by classics including Downton Abbey, Last of the Summer Wine, The King’s Speech and Pride & Prejudice, to name a few.

If you don’t already recognise these places from the silver screen, you soon will, and they’re well worth a visit in real life too. In the words of Roald Dahl’s inimitable Big Friendly Giant: “This is where all dreams is beginning!”

1. Walk in the giant footsteps of The BFG in Northumberland

Bamburgh Castle

One of England’s largest inhabited castles, iconic Bamburgh Castle dominates a wild stretch of Northumberland’s coastline, towering above grass-covered sand dunes. The remote setting has persuaded a number of Hollywood A-listers to film here, including director Steven Spielberg, who was spotted in June 2015 filming scenes on the beach for a new film version of Roald Dahl’s childhood classic The BFG. The film, starring Mark Rylance as the fabled giant, is set for release in 2016 – the same year that England celebrates the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth.

Find out more about Bamburgh Castle

2. March with Dad’s Army to Bempton Cliff’s magnificent views

Bempton’s towering chalk cliffs were a filming location for the feature film remake of the iconic Dad’s Army television series, due for release in 2016 and starring Catherine Zeta-Zones and Bill Nighy. Skyrocketing to over 100 metres along a dizzying stretch of coastline, the cliffs are covered by over 250,000 sea birds, including gannets, guillemots, kittiwakes and fulmarks. Soak up the views from five cliff-top viewing points, or picnic with a beautiful wildflower meadow and a shining stretch of blue sea as your backdrop.

Find out more about Bempton

3. Go on a Swallows and Amazons-style adventure in the Lake District

Arthur Ransome’s classic novel about four children who camp on an island in the middle of the lake is pure adventure. True to Ransome’s original setting, award-winning director Philippa Lowthorpe filmed parts of the movie version in the unreservedly scenic Lake District. Set out on your own Swallows and Amazons-style adventure with a Mountain Goat tour and take a cruise of the area’s most famous lakes – just ask for the Ten Lake Spectacular. Look out for Peel Island in Coniston; it was the inspiration for ‘Wild Cat Island’ in the book.

Find out more about the Lake District

4. Taste The Last of the Summer Wine in Yorkshire

The pretty village of Holmfirth is instantly recognisable as the setting for the iconic British television series Last of the Summer Wine, the world’s longest running comedy. Browse the independent shops, galleries and cafes and take a tour of the famous filming locations. During July, Holmfirth buzzes as a range of fantastic events are held in quirky locations all over town for Holmfirth Art Week, the UK’s largest open art exhibition.

Find out more about Holmfirth

5. Sit in Harry Potter’s classroom at Durham’s UNESCO World Heritage Site

As well as being one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites, Durham Castle and Cathedral hit our screens in the early Harry Potter films. Take a seat in Chapter House and imagine you’re in McGonagall’s classroom, where Harry, Ron and Hermione learned to turn animals into water goblets. Stroll through the cloisters that became the snow-covered quadrangle where Harry releases Hedwig the owl, and see where Ron becomes the victim of his own slug-vomiting charm. “Eat slugs!”

Find out more about Durham

6. Visit Harry Potter and Downton Abbey sets in Alnwick, Northumberland

Alnwick Castle

Harry Potter’s first Quidditch lesson was filmed in the grounds of Alnwick Castle. And it’s not hard to imagine that the impressive building houses the same magic and mystery as Hogwarts – especially as you can now have a broomstick training session here too! Fans of TV series Downton Abbey will remember Alnwick as ‘Brancaster Castle’, where the Crawley family stayed during season five’s Christmas special. There’s even a Downton Abbey exhibition, which features photography, costumes and props used during filming.

Find out more about Alnwick Castle

7. Have an Elizabeth Bennett moment in the Peak District National Park

You might recognise Stanage Edge from the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley. This is where the famous scene showing Lizzie standing on the edge of the world was shot. Nearby is the palatial Chatsworth House, one of England’s most celebrated destinations. Writer Jane Austen was so taken with it that Chatsworth is believed to have inspired Mr Darcy’s residence Pemberley in her novel Pride & Prejudice, and the estate took a starring role alongside Keira Knightley.

Find out more about Chatsworth House

8. Follow the stars on Bradford's movie trail

A film camera in Bradford

Thanks to its rich film heritage and inspirational movie locations the eclectic city of Bradford was the world’s first UNESCO City of Film. The city has supported many major movies, from The Railway Children to The King’s Speech. Follow the movie trail and stand where the stars such as British actors like Colin Firth and Julie Walters stood then visit the National Media Museum and uncover the inside secrets of film and television.

Find out more about Bradford

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