11 places in South West England gracing a screen near you
11 places in South West England gracing a screen near you
England’s show-stopping landscapes continue to be a firm favourite with the film industry.
From the latest Star Wars film and the Harry Potter series to Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Tim Burton’s weird and wonderful creations, which famous film or TV show scenes will you re-enact first?
J.J.Abrams’ Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was filmed on location in the Forest of Dean, amongst the twisted branches and moss coated rocks of Puzzlewood. The ancient woodland is the setting for an eerie forest world where the leading characters meet the latest villain in black, Kylo Ren. This intriguing location has also been featured in Merlin and episodes of Doctor Who and inspired JRR Tolkien for the forests of Middle Earth. Download the TV and movie trail map and reconnect with the stories that have captured your imagination.
2. Follow Sherlock Holmes around the streets of Bristol
Bristol Cathedral. Copyright VisitEngland
The cast and crew of Sherlock are no stranger to Bristol’s streets. The hugely popular BBC production featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman used various locations around the city including Bristol Cathedral, Colston Hall, Arnos Vale cemetery, King Street and Queen Square. All can be spotted in previous episodes and Bristol’s backdrops are sure to feature in the forthcoming highly-anticipated Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, which was also filmed across the city. Visit the filming locations using online maps created by Bristol Film Office. Search by theme or title, take a virtual tour and then set out on foot to visit the locations.
3. Discover the dramatic coastline of Broadchurch in Dorset
West bay, Dorset. Copyright jurassicphotography.com
It’s easy to see why the show’s producers chose the coastal spot of West Bay near Bridport; the scenery here provides as much drama as the storylines, with towering, honeycomb-coloured cliffs dating back 185 million years stretching across a vast sandy beach. Along with David Tennant and Olivia Colman, this show-stopping slice of England’s first natural World Heritage Site also plays a lead role. Follow in the footsteps of the detective duo as you meander along golden sands and climb to the top of West Cliff, to admire lofty views of glistening waters that roll out to the horizon.
4. Be enchanted by the world of Harry Potter in Gloucester
Gloucester Cathedral at night. Copyright VisitEngland
Immerse yourself into the real-life Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Gloucester. Walk in the footsteps of Harry, Hermione and Ron along the corridors of Gloucester Cathedral, founded by King Osric in the 7th century and rebuilt by William the Conqueror in 1089. The cathedral's Gothic architecture has also played host to the BBC's The Hollow Crown, a 2012 adaptation of Shakespeare's History Plays, and the 2016 follow-up starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Damien Lewis also holds court here as Henry VIII in the TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall.
5. Follow Poldark along Cornwall’s blissful coastline
Poldark filming at Porthgwarra. Copyright St Aubyn Estates Holidays
Join the Poldark Trail across Bodmin Moor, the beautiful TV location where many of the riding scenes were filmed. During the trek, encounter the moor's rugged wilds, passing in the shadow of granite tors and through leafy woodland. You'll also see Brown Willy, Cornwall's highest point, along with numerous other ancient settlements. Head to Cornwall's western tip where, nestled in the cliffs overlooking the sea, you'll find Levant Mine. Part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, it stars in the series as Tressiders Mill. If that's not enough, further west is the beautiful Porthgwarra. A charming fishing cove teeming with wildflowers and birdlife, filming took place here over a week, including one all night filming session.
6. Discover Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall in Wiltshire
Lacock Abbey. Copyright VisitEngland
Lacock Abbey’s half-timbered exterior stars as Wolf Hall itself, the Seymour family’s historic seat. The abbey’s link to the Tudors extends further, however. Following the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII had the building sold to one of his courtiers, who converted it from a 13th century nunnery to an eclectic country home. Elsewhere near Melksham, Great Chalfield Manor appears as Austin Friars, Thomas Cromwell’s family home. Built between 1465 and 1480 and run by the National Trust, the manor is enveloped by romantic gardens and surrounded by a moat. Take a guided tour and you’ll have a chance to admire the oriel windows and oak-panelled rooms while imagining your favourite Wolf Hall scenes.
7. Enjoy the picturesque setting of Doc Martin in Cornwall
Port Issac. Copyright Adam Gibbard
Port Isaac is a traditional fishing village with a vibrant local community in North Cornwall and home to the TV series Doc Martin starring Martin Clunes. This picturesque village has narrow winding streets lined with whitewashed cottages that wind down to the harbour where you can watch local fishermen landing their daily catch of fish, crab and lobsters. Enjoy a stroll through the village and stop off for a traditional cream tea in this utterly charming TV setting.
8. Join Shaun the Sheep and Wallace & Gromit in Bristol
At Bristol. Copyright VisitBritain images
A thriving centre for the film and creative industries, Bristol-based Aardman is one of the most innovative and successful animation studios in the world. Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run, Creature Comforts, Morph and many others has been nominated for 10 Oscars and won four of them as well as numerous industry awards. Nearby, both the M Shed and At-Bristol have interactive Aardman exhibits – the latter allows you to style your own characters, create a storyboard and make a show reel.
9. See where Steven Spielberg’s War Horse was filmed in Devon
Bellever Tor, Dartmoor. Copyright VisitEngland
The original War Horse novel was written by Devon-based author Michael Morpurgo, who was inspired to write the story after meeting WW1 veterans at his local pub in the village of Iddesleigh which features in the movie. Filming took place on Dartmoor, predominantly around Meavy and Sheepstor, and director Steven Spielberg was quoted as saying of the area: “I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor. And, with two-and-a-half weeks of extensive coverage of landscapes and skies, I hardly scratched the surface of the visual opportunities that were offered to me.”
10. Step into wonderland at Anthony House in Cornwall
Anthony House’s magical setting was captured by Tim Burton for his quirky reimagining of Alice in Wonderland starring Johnny Depp. Scenes for both the beginning and end of the film were shot in the gardens. Enjoy stunning views as you explore a topiary garden, modern sculptures and the National Collection of Daylilies in the landscape garden. Spend some time too soaking up the heady scents of The Woodland Garden which blooms with rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and camellias in summer. Film buffs can also visit the Victorian warehouses of Gloucester Docks which recently enjoyed a starring role in Disney's upcoming Alice in Wonderland: Through The Looking Glass starring Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska.
11. Step onto the set of Sense and Sensibility in Plymouth
Hollywood director Ang Lee brought Saltram House in Plymouth to life as the setting for a film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Saltram House stood in for Norland Park, lost home of the Dashwood Girls played by Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. The star cast, including Hugh Grant, filmed at a number of locations across Devon with Saltram as a key location.