Take a guided tour of the UK’s iconic movie locations
The UK’s film industry is riding the crest of a wave, challenging Hollywood with each fantastic film produced. The country also provides many iconic and idyllic locations which have caught the eye of many a filmmaker. Here’s my guide to the best movie sights to visit in the UK.
It goes without saying that one of the UK’s greatest exports of recent years is the Harry Potter franchise. From books and onto the silver screen, J.K. Rowling has captured the imagination of a generation. The adaptations of her books stayed wonderfully British and so there are many tours around the UK for the ardent Potter fan.
Start with a trip to Warner Brothers’ Harry Potter Studio Tour, London which is an incredible attraction. Here you’ll see the scaled model used for shooting the exterior of Hogwarts, walk into the Great Hall and see many props including Harry’s Nimbus 2000 broomstick as well as learn many secrets from behind the scenes. Of course the films were also filmed on location and there are many tours around London available which take you to the site of Platform 9 and 3/4, the Leaky Cauldron and Gringots Bank.
With Britain’s literature boasting classic authors such as Austen, Dickens and Hardy, its little wonder that the country has been the filming location for many period dramas. Much of the countryside and historic houses are perfectly preserved in this classic period making them ideal for filming.
The National Trust has a number of great locations in its portfolio. Located just 9 miles from London and on the direct train line from the capital, Ham House in Richmond was featured in both Anna Karenina and Young Victoria as a key location. Kedleston Hall near Derby was a key location in the filming of The Duchess.
Head 3 hours north of London to experience the quintessential period drama. Pride and Prejudice turned Colin Firth into a heart throb so visit Lyme Park in Stockport to see where Mr Darcy lived and the lake which he magnificently emerged from in that iconic scene. From here take a 2 hour drive up to the Lake District to immerse yourself in the world of Beatrix Potter. Much of the film Miss Potter was filmed in the national park, using locations Beatrix herself had lived in and around. Visit Hill Top House, her home in real life and to Yew Tree Farm, her on-screen home. To enjoy the beautiful natural landscape featured in the film, make sure you visit Coniston, Derwentwater and Windermere all within the park.
Of course, the properties of the National Trust have a role in more modern films. English Director Christopher Nolan chose many London locations for his filming of the Batman trilogy. Most recently, he turned Osterley Park into Wayne Mansion and located just 30 minutes from London, it makes the perfect day trip out from the capital. To escape the city lights, take a 250 mile journey west to the historic mansion Antony. It was here that Tim Burton turned its grounds into Wonderland for his adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.
What can be more English than James Bond? Famously filmed at Pinewood Studios, the films were also shot on location across the London. To walk in Daniel Craig’s footsteps, you merely have to take a walk around the capital to see the iconic sites featured in Skyfall. Take a walk along the river to see MI5’s headquarters at Vauxhall before making your way to Waterloo to the Old Vic tunnels which masquerade as MI5’s secret underground facility in the film. Parliament Square, Whitehall and the National Gallery are among the many iconic London buildings that feature in the film.