Filming Locations: Best Film and TV Sets to Visit on a UK Staycation
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Filming Locations: Best Film and TV Sets to Visit on a UK Staycation

Including Sex Education and The House of the Dragon

Staycations are hotter than ever – both literally and figuratively. When traveling the UK, even if you’ve journeyed the length of the country, it can be easy to feel like you haven’t ventured far enough. For an otherworldly experience, many Brits chose to visit TV and movie filming locations to add a magical edge to their summer staycations – three in four, according to new research by Europcar, after half of Brits have opted to stay on UK soil for their summer holidays for ease and to avoid disappointment and stress. From homely soaps to Hollywood blockbusters, a range of titles on our TV and cinema screens were filmed in the UK, so there’s plenty to see and do, perhaps with the family in tow. If you are keen to sprinkle some TV magic into your staycations this year, these are the best film and TV sets in the UK to visit.

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Best Film and TV Sets to Visit on a UK Staycation

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Aerial view of the Autumn leaves and colours at River Wye, Symonds Yat, Herefordshire, Midlands, England, UK

Sex Education: Wye Valley

Sex Education is loved by teens and adults across the world, for both its relatable content and stunning British scenery. According to Holiday Cottages, searches for ‘Sex Education season 4’ have risen 5000 per cent in the past 12 months as fans get excited for the latest instalment – and Schitt’s Creek’s Dan Levy was just announced as a new cast member.

The Netflix sensation is a giant advert for the Wye Valley, where the show is filmed – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which straddles the Welsh-English border spanning Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and Monmouthshire.

You can famously stay in Jean and Otis’ house – The Chalet Symonds Yat – or instead, you can cycle past, soaking up the vast valley views, or recreate Eric and Otis’ morning cycle through Bargain Woods in Monmouthshire. Super fans can visit the shop where Ola and Adam work in the Welsh town of Llandogo – or stay in Ola and Jakob’s house instead, complete with hot tub and BBQ.

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Ardverikie Scottish castle

The Crown: Ardverikie Castle aka. Balmoral

There are plenty of castles dotted across the UK that guests can visit – and plenty of these are featured in The Crown, many as stand-ins for the Royal Family’s palaces still in use today. The Queen’s beloved Scottish bolthole features in every season of the show and – unlike it’s ever-changing cast – is portrayed throughout by Ardverikie Castle. This 19th century Gothic home near Inverness has the same brooding turrets and gloomy air as the real Balmoral; visit for the day, or stay for longer in one of the cosy guest cottages on the grounds.

Photo Taken at St Michael`s Mount near Marazion Cronwell England as the sea is going out revealing the stone causeway and we are the first to walk to island :) It was a good day out well worth a visit .

The House of the Dragon: Cornwall

Brimming with dramatic rugged coastal cliffs, wild moors and secret beaches, Cornwall is the ideal backdrop for the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel, The House Of The Dragon. The medieval HBO drama started filming back in April 2021, with the series arriving in weekly instalments from late August 2022.

Fancy getting ahead of the tourism boom? Head to Cornwall. Star Matt Smith was spotted sporting blonde locks in Holywell Bay in Cornwall, with island castle St. Michaels Mount and Kynance Cove also rumoured to be featured in the series. As well as providing awe-inducing scenery for the show, Cornwall is also the perfect spot for tourists looking for a spot of surfing, sights and delicious food. 

Image: St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall (via Getty)

Harry Potter Filming Locations - Alnwick Castle

Harry Potter: Alnwick Castle, Northumberland

Millions of tourists flock to the UK every year to visit the filming locations of our most famous literary export, Harry Potter. Though filming locations are scattered across the UK – from Christ Church College in Oxford to Durham Cathedral – Alnwick Castle is one of the most iconic, serving as the spot where Harry and Ron crashed their flying car in Chamber of Secrets and where Harry learned to fly on a broom stick in Philosopher’s Stone and you can now have a go at this yourself at Alnwick Castle).

Kill a few birds with one stone: Alnwick Castle has also played host to Transformers, Robin Hood and Downton Abbey.

Black Country Living Museum

Peaky Blinders: Black Country Living Museum, Dudley

The long-running, incredibly popular crime drama Peaky Blinders has filming destinations dotted across the nation – but where better to soak up the essence of the show than in the west country? Fans should head to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley – an open-air collection of renovated industrial buildings that serve as Charlie Strong’s scrap metal yard throughout the whole show.

Albert Dock,Liverpool,UK.

The Batman: Liverpool

In Matt Reeves’ 2022 The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson in the titular role, the fictional Gotham City is an amalgamation of London, Glasgow, Chicago, and Liverpool. The latter, perhaps a seemingly unlikely contender, has a plethora of gothic and neo-classical buildings that suit Reeves’ interpretation of the dark city. If you fancy a northern staycation in Liverpool, make sure to stop by St George’s Hall, the Royal Liver Building (the UK’s first skyscraper), Anfield Cemetery, Wellington Memorial Statue, County Sessions House and Walker Art Gallery to soak up the Hollywood magic.

View over the river Thames and St. Pauls, London.

Bridget Jones: Borough Market, London

Borough Market is a London tourism must anyway, but romcom fans might enjoy this extra tidbit: much of Bridget Jones was filmed here. Bridget’s flat is above popular pub, The Globe, and the shops across the road – which were transformed into the cab office, the newsagent and the fictitious ‘Greek restaurant’ where Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) and  Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) fight it out during a birthday party – still remain. (The Greek restaurant is now a wine merchant, Bedales).

Take a trip to the nearby Tate Modern, too, where Bridget and her friends hang out (and to absorb some culture, of course).

Naval School Greenwich

Bridgerton: The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College is a popular location for period dramas, also featured in The Crown and Les Misérables. The historic site hosted the scene which introduced us to some of the second season’s new faces, including Melissa Advani and Priya Kansara as Lady and Miss Eaton, and Shelley Conn as Lady Mary Sharma. Located just a short train away from London Bridge or accessible via the DLR, the college is open every day for visitors, with a number of tours available to join.

Road through the Dark Hedges tree tunnel at sunset in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Game of Thrones: Northern Ireland

This HBO blockbuster was filmed in destinations across the globe, from Croatia to Iceland, Greece to Malta. However, the rugged beauty of Northern Ireland served the show well, with much filming taking place here. There are iconic sites aplenty: Tollymore Forest Park served as The Haunted Forest, Cushendun Caves served as The Stormlands, and Dulince Castle served as House Greyjoy’s castle. Most iconic – and most Instagrammable – has to be The Dark Hedges, which is the filming location for The King’s Road. Always intended to impress, the trees were planted by the Stuart family in the approach to their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House.

Aerial view of Pulteney bridge in Bath, England

Persuasion: Bath

Bath is the ideal destination for Jane Austen fans – and the latest adaptation of Persuasion has only added to this. Stroll down the cobbled Bath Street, along the iconic Royal Crescent, or down the Gravel Walk – known as Lovers’ Lane in Jane Austen’s time. Regardless, the sandy regency buildings across the city will have you feeling like a Persuasion character. Bonus: much of Bridgerton was filmed in Bath, too, so kill two birds with one stone on this staycation.

fishing village of Port Isaac, on the North Cornwall Coast, England UK

Doc Martin: Port Isaac, Cornwall

In 2004, ITV’s Doc Martin put Cornwall’s quaint Port Isaac – fictionalised as Portwenn – on the map. There’s plenty to do near the pretty Celtic pier once you’ve soaked up Martin Clune’s energy at Doc Martin’s front door: stroll through the narrow streets, visit the cosy restaurants, amble the South West Coastal Path, and have a paddle in the sea.

Harbour view of the small fihing village of Portloe, Cornwall

About Time: Portloe, Cornwall

What is it about Cornish fishing villages that set our wanderlust alight? Romantic comedy fans, you might remember this filming location as the most idyllic family home ever: Porthpean House in Richard Curtis’ About Time (2013), which overlooks St Austell Bay (and which you can book to stay in). Much of the movie was also filmed in the nearby Portloe, a small and idyllic fishing village on Cornwall’s east coast.

Featured image: Albert Dock, Liverpool (via Getty).