With travel off the cards at present, film and TV allows us to at least live vicariously, taking in Scottish castles, Irish harbours, English churches, and even Sherlock’s favourite cafe. But where exactly are these UK TV hotspots? New research reveals some of the UK’s most popular filming locations…
Lead image: facebook/speedyscafe
When Bridgerton hit our screens, droves of us took to the internet to discover the real-life location of Daphne Bridgerton’s glorious family home, tucked away in Greenwich, London. Not all locations are obvious, which makes them all the more intriguing, so holiday lettings specialist holidaycottages.co.uk decided to do a little digging.
Using TripAdvisor to calculate how many of a location’s reviews mention a film or TV show, holidaycottages.co.uk identified the top 10 filming locations with the highest percentage of name drops for their screen time. Unsurprisingly, Harry Potter, Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones all pop up on the list.
‘The UK has so much to offer in terms of natural beauty, wonderful history, and grand buildings, and it’s great to see that so many producers feel the same’
‘The UK has so much to offer in terms of natural beauty, wonderful history, and grand buildings,’ says Shannon Keary, Digital PR Manager at holidaycottages.co.uk, ‘and it’s great to see that so many producers also feel the same – choosing these UK locations as the backdrop for so many popular TV shows and movies.
‘We hope our research will help people see which locations to put on their bucket list for once lockdown and travel restrictions are lifted.’
The UK’s 10 most popular film locations
1 St Mary’s Church, Bampton, England
As seen in Downton Abbey
The quaint St Mary’s Church in Bampton, Cotswolds, has the highest proportion (85%) of TV show-related reviews of all the filming locations in the UK. The whole village of Bampton was used to film the fictional village of Downton, with St Mary’s church hosting several pivotal on-screen events such as weddings, funerals, christenings and Lady Edith’s infamous jilting at the altar by Sir Anthony Strallan.
2 Midhope Castle, Abercorn, Scotland
As seen in Outlander
Midhope Castle in Abercorn, Scotland, serves as the external location for Lallybroch, the ancestral home of the Fraser clan in historical drama Outlander. Located on the wider Hopetoun Estate, Midhope Castle is derelict inside, although the exterior is relatively intact. The 15th-century castle follows closely behind St Mary’s Church with 84% of reviews on TripAdvisor mentioning the show.
As seen in Sherlock
Producers of the newest BBC adaptation of Sherlock transformed the flat above Speedy’s Sandwich Bar on Euston Road into 221b Baker Street – the home of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The sandwich shop, therefore, features heavily in the show, so it’s no surprise that 67% of reviews mention the popular TV show. It’s all smoke and mirrors however – the real 221b Baker Street is actually a 20-minute walk away, and it’s home to The Sherlock Holmes Museum.
4 Highclere Castle, Hampshire, England
As seen in Downton Abbey
Fans of Downton Abbey will instantly recognise the gothic Highclere Castle in Hampshire, which served as the primary set of Downton Abbey itself in the hit TV show and film. Highclere Castle was used as the iconic exterior shot of Downton Abbey, with some interior shots filmed at the castle too, and 61% of reviews mention the classy period drama.
5 Doune Castle, Stirling, Scotland
As seen in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
The well-loved comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail was filmed extensively at Doune Castle, including both interior and exterior shots. Despite being filmed in 1974, 54% of reviews on TripAdvisor reviews still mention the film.
6 Glenfinnan Viaduct, Inverness-shire, Scotland
As seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Known as the ‘Harry Potter Bridge’ to fans, Glenfinnan Viaduct is used to film Hogwarts Express travelling to the famous school for magicians in the first Harry Potter film. This iconic shot has stuck with fans, with 52% of reviews for the Glenfinnan Viaduct still mentioning the film today. And it’s not surprising – it is truly awe-inspiring.
7 Christ Church College, Oxford, England
As seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets
Another Harry Potter filming location, Oxford University’s Christ Church college, was featured heavily in the earlier films, acting as the staircases, Hogwarts Dining Hall, and hallways. Potterheads often visit Christchurch to imagine they too are walking in the halls of Hogwarts, with 41% of reviews for the University still talking about Harry Potter.
8 The Dark Hedges, Belfast, Northern Ireland
As seen in Game of Thrones
This mystical birch tree-lined road was famously featured in Season 2 of the mega-hit TV show Game of Thrones, where Arya Stark was seen walking down the road after escaping from King’s Landing. Thousands of GOT fans flock to The Dark Hedges each year, so it’s no surprise that 39% of reviews for this enchanting spot mention the TV show.
9 Ballintoy Harbour, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
As seen in Game of Thrones
Another Game of Thrones filming location, Ballintoy Harbour in County Antrim is used as the primary filming location for Lordsport, the main port of Pyke. It is one of the famous Iron Islands, and home to Theon and Yara Greyjoy. Many GOT fans visit the beautiful spot each year, with 39% of reviews for Ballintoy Harbour mentioning the fantasy drama.
10 Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Last but certainly not least is another Harry Potter filming location – Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. The Outer Bailey of the castle was used as the backdrop for Harry’s first flying lesson, with many of the courtyards used as filming locations too – Harry and Ron even crashed the Weasley family car at Alnwick castle. Despite being filmed in 2000, 38% of reviews for the Northumberland landmark still mention the well-loved film.
To find out more about this campaign and explore further filming locations in the US and worldwide, please visit: holidaycottages.co.uk
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