Have you ever wondered where your favourite TV series was filmed? People want to see where all the action takes or took place, to see it with their own eyes and not just on the screen. Its no wonder why film locations have been steadily rising in popularity as travel destinations!
Did you know that already in 2011 one in eight Brits, that’s a whopping 12%, have visited a British TV or film landmark? Considering that it’s not even May yet, this number will inevitably grow by the the end of the year. What are the most popular TV and film locations to visit in the UK? Let’s take a look.
Highclere Castle – Berkshire
This stunning Elizabethan country house is the setting for ITV’s Downton Abbey and is said to be the most popular TV film site right now. With 1,000 acres of property in the picturesque county of Hampshire, it’s no wonder. Since the castle is still being lived in, it’s only open on certain days to visitors. The gardens, park grounds and Egyptology Exhibition are open, however, on most days from Easter through to September. The castle saloon also appeared in The Four Feathers starring Heath Ledger as well as in the film King Ralph and the 1987 version of The Secret Garden.
Barry Island – South Wales
Barry Island is just off the coast of Wales in the Bristol Channel. Known now for its holiday camps, beaches and the Barry Island Pleasure Park. The old holiday camp, which closed in 1996, made appearances in a few episodes of Doctor Who but more famously in the BBC TV series Gavin & Stacey. The third and current season of BBC’s Being Human was also filmed in Barry.
Box and Neston – Wiltshire
The villages of Box and Neston will definitely see their share of visitors this year and the next due to the final season of the British period drama, Lark Rise To Candleford. While the series’ interior scenes were shot in a warehouse, you can visit the villages of Lark Rise and Candleford which were built pretty much from ground up on farms in Box and Neston Park. All of the county scenes were shot at Chavenage House in Gloucestershire.
Turville – Buckinghamshire
Dawn French has her audiences’ sides splitting in the hit British sitcom, The Vicar of Dibley, which takes place in a fictional town called Dibley. It is filmed in Turville, a quaint little place in Buckinhamshire. The church in the show, called St. Barnabas is the same one as in the village although it goes by the name of St Mary the Virgin. The local pub is also featured in the final episodes of the series. Other films shot here include Midsomer Murders, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Marple.
Of course Harry Potter won’t be left out of this list with several film locations around the country. Probably the most visited of the film sights is Hogwarts, also known as Gloucester Cathedral. It was used in the first, second and sixth Harry Potter films which, of course, has generated a huge surge in tourism for the city. Godrics Hollow as seen in the latest film was shot in Lavenham, Suffolk. For other HP film locations, check out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows… in real life!
British tourism is experiencing it’s own kind of renaissance, with more Brits staying home to holiday than ever this year. Whether it’s the financial crunch or the new lure of attractions close to home which are easily reached by rental car, film locations are the top sites to see in England this year. On top of that, who wouldn’t want to see Hogwarts in person?
Have you been to any of these film locations before? What other ones would you recommend?