19 Must-Visit U.K. Locations for Movie and TV Fans
There are countless reasons to visit the United Kingdom – the history, the sights, the romance, the buses, the taxis, the Tube, the locals – but probably not the food. On the plus side of the ledger, the U.K. has supplied the backdrop for some of the most revered films of all time.
Every sort of movie or show from rom-coms to action thrillers to Downton Abbey has been set in the U.K. So if you’re a movie or TV buff, here are some favorite locations to check out on your next holiday.
King's Cross Station and St. Pancras Station, London
(Harry Potter series)
The history of railway stations in the Harry Potter movies is complicated. St. Pancras’ exterior is used for many shots, as is the interior of King's Cross Station, particularly for the famous Platform 9¾, the magical gateway to Hogwarts. Pose for photos at both locations and you’ll feel a part of the wizarding world.
Marylebone Station, London
(A Hard Day's Night)
As long as we’re on the topic of railway stations in the movies, this London station stood in for Lime Street Station in Liverpool, where the lads dodge their fans only to eventually arrive at … Marylebone Station, shot from a different angle.
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
(Harry Potter series and more)
Alnwick Castle has a long history as a movie backdrop. In addition to being the place where Harry Potter dashed about on his broom, the castle has been featured in Downton Abbey, Transformers: The Last Knight, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Blackadder, Becket, and many others. If your goal in life is seeing where Kevin Costner pranced around in tights, this is where you go.
Highclere Castle, Hampshire
Step into the world of the Crawleys at Highclere Castle, the real-life setting for TV’s beloved Downton Abbey. This castle offers insight into both the show and English history. A must-read before you visit: The blog of real-life Lady Carnarvon.
Bampton, a quaint village located between Oxford and the historic Cotswolds, was used for many of the outdoor scenes in Downton Abbey. Walking through its streets is like stepping back into an era where every village had green churchyards, rock walls, and sunny daffodil gardens.
Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean
(Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Located north of Cardiff on the England-Wales border, Puzzlewood’s otherworldly foliage-draped landscape makes it a perfect backdrop for whatever sci-fi and fantasy adventures you might think up.
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Lyme Park, Cheshire
(Pride and Prejudice)
Lyme Park in Cheshire, the backdrop for Mr. Darcy's Pemberley in the BBC adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, can accommodate literature and film fans. Once a great sporting estate, the National Trust site still maintains a herd of red deer on the grounds.
Stourhead Gardens, Wiltshire
(Pride and Prejudice)
Another National Trust site, Stourhead Gardens is renowned for its breathtaking gardens and perfectly proportioned manor house. It's a perfect spot for a serene walk and a picnic.
Holkham Beach, Norfolk
(Shakespeare in Love)
The movie may not have aged exceptionally well (USA Today ranks it 86th out of the 95 Best Picture winners), but it gets several extra-credit points for featuring Holkham Beach in its final scene. In contrast to the film, the beach certainly rates highly.
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This quaint Scottish fishing village served as the main location for Bill Forsyth’s sweet fish-out-of-water comedy from 1983, with its haunting soundtrack from Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler. Pennan’s picturesque harbor and charming cottages are every bit as removed from the everyday hustle and bustle as they were when the movie was filmed.
The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Kent
(Call the Midwife)
This acclaimed British series follows a group of nurse-midwifes through England’s turbulent postwar history. The “London” neighborhood they call home is actually a maritime heritage site between London and Canterbury, full of historic ships and buildings and well worth a trip even if you’ve never seen the show.
Les Ambassadeurs Hotel, London
(A Hard Day's Night, Dr. No)
This is where Paul McCartney’s movie grandfather excuses himself to go gambling – and its chemin-de-fer table is where Sean Connery’s James Bond first uttered the immortal line, “The name’s Bond … James Bond” in the 1962 flick Dr. No.
Also read: 14 Things to do for Free in London
Firle Place, East Sussex
This private estate in East Sussex, on England’s southeast coast, captures the stately yet vaguely comic essence of the 2020 adaptation of Jane Austen's classic. Close your eyes and you can see it: A Georgian manor that exudes history and luxury, making it a perfect stop for fans of the film and the book.
Covent Garden, London
(My Fair Lady)
Covent Garden – at least a Hollywoodized version of London’s market region – provided an appropriate backdrop for Julie Andrews’ cockney scenes in the classic film version of My Fair Lady. Today, it's a row of unique boutiques and restaurants, where the charm of old London converges with contemporary culture.
Not a place but a region, the rugged coastline of Cornwall – the southernmost and westernmost tip of England – served as the dramatic backdrop for this acclaimed TV series. Its cliffs, beaches, wild moors, and historic mines are a treat for the eyes, while harbor villages like Falmouth provide a comfortable jumping-off point for your explorations.
Castle Combe, Wiltshire
Castle Combe, a historic village deep in the Cotswolds, was the site of the horse fair in Steven Spielberg’s World War I epic. It’s hard to associate the aggression of the movie with the village itself, which is as serene and picturesque as British hamlets get.
Royal Exchange Buildings, London
(Bridget Jones's Diary)
There’s a segment of the moviegoing public that insists Bridget Jones’s Diary is the perfect rom-com – and for them, this historic intersection featured in the movie’s finale is the penultimate location … especially if it’s snowing.
Notting Hill, London
(Notting Hill, A Hard Day’s Night)
And for the rest of the moviegoing public that insists this Cinderella story is the perfect rom-com, nothing but its namesake neighborhood in West London will do. Check out the neighborhood’s annual carnival, unique shops, and the famous Portobello Road Market.
And a bonus: Ringo ducked into a second-hand shop on All Saints Road in this neighborhood to buy a disguise in the Beatles’ first and best movie.
The town prominently featured in the Pythons’ iconic and hilarious “Dead Parrot” sketch is actually a fine place for a nip-around. It’s near a number of beautiful national parks, and the local football rivalries are intense and spirited. Unfortunately, there’s no town of Notlob.
No matter what sort of movie or TV show tickles you fancy, there’s a location in the U.K. that somehow relates to it. And as you go traipsing through the countryside checking down your list, include travel protection plans with assistance services from Generali Global Assistance. Plans cover all sorts of travel and getting a quote is easy.