One of the great things about Britain is that the country is a popular place to make films, with studios like Pinewood being some of the most famous and prestigious in the world. Of course, static soundstages can be quite dull- so it’s always more interesting when real locations are used. Loads of major films have been partially shot all over the UK over the years, and we’ve put together a list of some of the most interesting ones that you can visit.
Puzzlewood, with it’s bright green leaves and mythical quality has been a popular filming location over the years, featuring in recent decades in TV shows like Merlin and Doctor Who, as well as being the backdrop for one of the fight scenes between Rey and Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). The Forbidden Forest in Harry Potter wasn’t filmed here (though some of Deathly Hallows Part 1 was), but was allegedly in part inspired by it. The forest is popular with film fans, but it’s also just a very nice green space to go and get some fresh air and surround yourself with nature. Obviously there’s also the rest of the Forest of Dean to explore, but Puzzlewood is particularly enthralling.
Scotland was often used in the filming of the Harry Potter films, thanks to the time JK Rowling spent living there and the fact that Hogwarts is supposedly located up in its mountains. The majestic Glenfinnan viaduct featured several times throughout the film series, and you could call it a bridge to the magical world. The popularity of the series means that there’s plenty to do and see for Potter fans, and you can ride a Jacobite steam train like the one in the films across it, though be sure to keep on the lookout for any flying cars or stray Dementors.
Mentmore Towers, Buckinhamshire
The coolest superhero abode of them all, Wayne Manor (and the Batcave beneath) is somewhere any comic book fan will have some point wanted to live in- and you can visit the real one in Buckinghamshire. The grand Mentmore Towers was used for both exterior and interior filming for Bruce Wayne’s home in Batman Begins (2005). That’s not the only Wayne Manor in Britain though- you can also visit Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, which was used for the rebuilt Manor in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and Knebworth House, Hertfordshire which was the Wayne Manor that Michael Keaton’s Batman resided in in Batman (1989).
Notting Hill, London
Notting Hill became world famous outside of London as the setting to the classic romcom of the same name, though it wasn’t exactly obscure before either. Not only is a great place to visit as the backdrop to Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant’s love story, it’s also a very picturesque area of London with an almost fairy tale nature. The film hasn’t just appeared in the 1999 film, it’s also popped up in Paddington (2014), The Italian Job (1969), Match Point (2005) and many others. And yes, you can find the bookshop the film was inspired by- simply called The Notting Hill Book Shop, it’s located on Blenheim Crescent.
The small village of Hambleden has been used many a time as a filming location. It’s small size and feeling-like-you’re-back-in-time quality make it ideal for period settings, with films like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) and 101 Dalmatians (1996) being filmed here, as well as hits like Into The Woods (2014), Sleepy Hollow (1999) and Nanny McPhee and The Big Bang (2010). It was also used as one of the the locations for the training period for Easy Company in the early episodes of HBO’s Band of Brothers (2001), and the home of the Anti-Christ and his friends in Good Omens (2019).
Dover Castle, Kent
Britain is a country of many great castles, and the intact ones are excellent as filming locations for medieval battles and villainous fortresses. One such castle is Dover Castle in Kent, which has been a filming site for some big productions. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) used the castle as a Hydra base in the fictional country of Sokovia that the superhero team storm in the opening, and it’s also been depicted in acclaimed TV series like Wolf Hall (2015) and The Hollow Crown (2012), as well as films like Hamlet (1990) and Into The Woods (2014).
Brompton Cemetery, Earl’s Court, London
Brompton Cemetery, located near Earl’s Court, London has been used in numerous films for funeral scenes or as an atmospheric, creepy backdrop. One of its most high profile appearances was in the Pierce Brosnan Bond film Goldeneye (1995), in a scene in which Bond girl Natalaya goes to meet computer technician Boris Grinshenko . The same cemetery was also funnily enough used a few years later in the Bond parody film Johnny English (2003), in which Rowan Atkinson’s English accidentally disrupts a funeral. Other films it appears in include Sherlock Holmes (2009), The Gentlemen (2019) and Stormbreaker (2005).
While the station is a pretty obvious film location to include, following his Jubilee appearance with the Queen we couldn’t resist putting the bear from darkest Peru’s namesake on the list. One of the biggest stations in Britain, the Central London station became entwined with Michael Bond’s creation when the bear was found there by the Brown family in the very first Paddington story. The 2014 film was filmed on location here for the scenes when Paddington arrives, and you can find a statue of him there (alongside a very large amount of Paddington merchandise in surrounding shops.) Of course, the Elizabeth Line has also just opened at this station, so you can arrive (or depart) in style.
Castle Ward is found in County Down in Northern Ireland and has been most notably used the filming location for Winterfell in Game of Thrones (2010), which appeared mostly in Season 1. Unsurprisingly, the hit series has been a boon for the tourism here, and the National Trust has taken full advantage, with a map of where various scenes were shot avaliable. Though of course the set has been dismantled (the castle is a protected heritage site), you can still get a sense of the setting, and though there’s no guarantee of anyone from the show appearing while you’re there, George R. R. Martin and Mark Addy (Robert Baratheon in the show) have occasionally returned to the site for fan events.
Wales Millennium Centre
It’s an iconic building already, but the Wales Millennium Centre has made a fair few appearances as a filming location over the years, with its strongest association being with Doctor Who. Welsh native Russell T Davies filmed several times here during his reign as show runner during the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant years, notably the episodes New Earth (2006) and The Sound of Drums (2007). The recent 13th series also filmed here, and considering Davies is returning as show runner for the next series, it seems pretty likely it’ll be used again in the show’s future.
Glen Coe and Glen Etive
Glen Coe and Glen Etive in Scotland have some of the most majestic scenery in Britain, and have understandably caught the eye of many a location scout over the years. Both Glens were used as the location for Bond’s childhood home Skyfall in Skyfall (2012), though the actual mansion scenes were shot in the south of England. Glen Coe was used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) for scenes like The Bridge of Death, and was also used in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Braveheart (1995), Highlander (1986) and Under The Skin (2013).