Explore Britain’s famous film locations

The UK has long been a place of pilgrimage for the silver screen, with many of the most iconic places and landscapes in cinema finding stand-ins among Britain’s scenic views, historic buildings and bustling cities.

TV and film are in Britain’s blood, but there are some places that are so iconic that you can’t fail to be carried away to the fictional location when you visit them.

So where are Britain’s most famous film stand-ins, and what are they like?

Let’s take a look..

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Monty Python

Doune Castle
Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975.
Doune Castle is a brooding medieval fortress in the heart of Scotland.

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Harry Potter

The Harry Potter Experience
Harry Potter, 2001 – 2011
While the Harry Potter film series made use of many locations across its native UK, easily the highest concentration of them are to be found in London

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Game of Thrones
Castle Ward
Game of Thrones, 2011 – 2019
Northern Ireland was front and centre of the Game of Thrones craze as home to many of the series’ major filming locations, none more so than Winterfell

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Downton Abbey
Highclere Castle
Downton Abbey, 2010 – 2019
One of the most famous grand houses in the world, Highclere Castle, was actually in serious disrepair when it became better known as Downton Abbey.

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Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey, 2010 – 2019)

One of the most famous grand houses in the world, Highclere Castle, was actually in serious disrepair when it became better known as Downton Abbey, after the show began filming there in 2009.

The house has more than a few claims to fame as the residence of Lord Carnarvon when his expedition found the tomb of Tutankhamen, the place where Canada’s founding papers were signed, and as a project of Charles Barry who also designed the Palace of Westminster in a similar Jacobean Revival style.

Now, thankfully, largely restored, the house has taken its place once again as one of the most stunning and well known of Britain’s stately homes.

Tours are available during its open season, where visitors can walk around the house and grounds, including many of the locations in which Downton Abbey was filmed, such as the Drawing Room and Great Hall.

 

Highclere castle

Getting to the Highclere Castle

Highclere Park, Highclere, Newbury RG20 9RJ, UK

For SATNAV: RG20 9RJ

Castle Ward (Game of Thrones, 2011 – 2019)

Northern Ireland was front and centre of the Game of Thrones craze as home to many of the series’ major filming locations, none more so than Winterfell, the grim capital of the North ruled over by the Stark family.

While exterior shots were heavily edited by CGI, many of the close-ups and group shots in the city were filmed at Castle Ward, whose cobbled farmyard doubled as the parade ground of Winterfell Castle.

Historically the main attraction at Castle Ward was the Gothic Revival manor house, but GoT has shot the old 16th-century castle tower and yard back into the limelight, and it now runs various Thrones-themed tours and events all year for fans.

 

Castle Ward

Getting to the Castle Ward

Strangford, Downpatrick BT30 7BA, UK

For SATNAV: BT30 7BA

The Harry Potter Experience (Harry Potter, 2001 – 2011)

While the Harry Potter film series made use of many locations across its native UK, easily the highest concentration of them are to be found in London.

You can visit the ‘actual’ Platform 9 3/4 in the city’s King’s Cross Station, Gringotts Bank at the stunning Australian Embassy, the site of the Death Eater attack at Millennium Bridge, and the Sir John Soanes Musem, a stand-in for 12 Grimmauld Place.

However, far above these on any fan’s list has got to be the Warner Brothers’ Harry Potter Experience. Here you can see everything from reconstructed sets to iconic costumes, props and special effects, all as it was in the films.

Tours run all year round, and tickets can be purchased from the website.

 

Harry Potter Studios Tour

Getting to the Harry Potter Experience

Studio Tour Dr, Leavesden, Watford WD25 7LR, UK

For SATNAV: WD25 7LR

Doune Castle (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975)

Doune Castle is a brooding medieval fortress in the heart of Scotland that has, predictably, served as a backdrop in just about every film or drama set in that turbulent period of the country’s history.

However, the castle’s most famous appearance has to be in the iconic 1975 comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, by the famous surrealist comedy troupe.

Due to a famous lack of budget, the castle served as the backdrop to large swathes of the film, including the Camelot, French Knight, swamp castle and wooden rabbit scenes.

Doune Castle also featured in famous TV dramas such as Outlander, set during the Jacobite Rising of 1745, and the story of Scotland’s famous national hero Robert the Bruce in Outlaw King.

Doune Castle is operated by Historic Scotland and is open for most of the year.

 

Doune Castle

Getting to the Doune Castle

Castle Hill, Doune FK16 6EA, UK

For SATNAV: FK16 6EA