Who doesn’t love an epic film night or binge-watching an amazing drama series on TV? It’s what the colder evenings were made for. There’s nothing better than snacks, a snuggly blanket, and getting everyone together for some top-notch telly-based entertainment.
Whether you’re into Hollywood blockbusters or big-name miniseries, many globally popular dramas and films have been filmed in the UK over the years. What’s more, many locations are easy to visit if you plan to travel here for a vacation.
Get the popcorn out, sit back, and relax as we take you through some of the most epic film locations in each of the UK’s four nations. We’ve also provided handy links so you can easily find your way to these wonderful places, and a few experts have pitched in with their ideas for places to see, too.
No serious Harry Potter fan would miss out on Scotland when planning a trip to the UK. There are so many beautiful locations to choose from in the most northern part of the country, it’s difficult to limit it to one or two. However, it’s essential to ensure you get to Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
J.K. Rowling is said to have used some of the names on the tombs for inspiration for her leading characters. So, when you’re there, look out for Thomas Riddle (aka Lord Voldemort), Robert Potter, William McGonagall (the terrible poet), and Elizabeth Moodie, amongst others. Want to go? Check out how to get to Greyfriars Kirkyard by train, bus, or car.
Make a pilgrimage to the Highlands, to Glenfinnan Viaduct in Lochaber, a key setting for many journeys on the Hogwarts Express. Or take a day or two to visit the beautiful nature reserves at Glencoe, Argyll – home to Hagrid’s Hut, which you can still see today on a visit (be careful of the hippogriffs!)
OK, let’s step off Hogwarts Express and take a trip into the heart of England for a stately visit to one of the world’s most famous fictional upper-class homes – Downton Abbey.
If you’re a fan of the gripping costume drama set at the start of the 20th century, you simply can’t miss a chance to visit Highclere Castle, the home of the aristocratic Crawley family.
A guided tour of this magnificent home will take you right to the heart of the series. It’s a must for anyone who loves costume drama. You can plan your journey via the castle’s website.
If that’s too sedate and you’re a fan of something a little darker and crime-driven, why not take a few day trips to sites featured in the gangland drama Peaky Blinders, starring Cillian Murphy?
Many of the series’ iconic locations are situated in the Black Country Living Museum, including the blacksmiths, chainmakers, and Workers’ Institute buildings. Visit their website to find out how to get there.
Sites such as St George’s Hall and Liverpool Cathedral are big draws for fans of the series, too. Some head even further north to the town of Bolton in Lancashire to visit Le Mans Crescent, seen when Tommy Shelby runs out of the Magistrates Court. They transformed the crescent into a period street scene, and many locals were extras.
Let’s head to the lush, green pastures of Wales now for some ‘right Royal shenanigans.’ If you’re a fan of the Netflix series The Crown, then you won’t want to miss the opportunity to visit the stunning town of Caernarfon in Gwynedd and its 13th-century castle.
This stunning location was, in real life (and in the series), the setting for the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969. King Edward I built the castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its setting on the River Seoint is perfect for a walk after you’ve taken in the historical splendor of the town. You can find a travel guide and help to get there from Cadw.
We can’t mention Wales without momentarily harking back to Harry Potter. While you’re there, take a trip to Freshwater West, a stretch of golden sand on the Pembrokeshire Coast used as a backdrop for Shell Cottage in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Plan your trip with the help of the National Trust’s website.
Northern Ireland is the place to visit if you want to get into Game of Thrones country. Firstly, take a trip to Castle Ward, County Down. This estate provided some of the first season’s most recognizable locations. The farmyard there represented Winterfell, including the archery range where the Stark children practiced their skills. You’ll also be able to see Robb Stark’s army camp and the setting for The Twins. Here’s how to get there.
Once that’s whetted your appetite, set off for Downhill Demesne, County Londonderry, and see Downhill Beach, which was Dragonstone in the second season of the drama. The beach was where Stannis Baratheon rejected the Seven Gods and allowed Melisandre to burn their effigies…
Still fancy some more inspiration for epic film locations in the UK? Here are a couple more ideas from those in the know…
Tell us another location in the UK to visit…?
“Painshill Park. The Netflix series Bridgerton has sparked a revived interest in all things Regency. You can see a full rundown of its locations, including lots of beautiful houses in Bath, but we’re fans of this delightful park in Cobham, Surrey, where scenes of promenading and picnicking were filmed. The park is a classic 18th-century landscape, filled with follies, bridges, and lakes, perfect for all your Jane Austen fever dreams.” Virginia Clark, for Homes and Gardens
Notable mention for a rom-com destination…?
“Gabriel’s Wharf, London. Love Actually. London’s most recognizable landmarks set the scene for this classic rom-com. We recommend buying something delicious to go from Borough Market (stopping to look up at Bridget Jones’ flat above The Globe Pub on Bedale Street) and walking along the River Thames to Gabriel’s Wharf to sit and eat on the bench where Sam told step-dad Daniel about the “total agony of being in love.” From there, catch the underground (Jubilee line from Southwark to Bond Street) for a spree in Selfridges, where Harry (Alan Rickman) tries buying an illicit necklace from a dallying Rowan Atkinson” Rae Boocock, for Trafalgar.com.