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.
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.
So where are Britain’s most famous film stand-ins, and what are they like?
Let’s take a look..
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.
Getting to Highclere Castle:
Highclere Park, Highclere, Newbury RG20 9RJ, UK
For SATNAV: RG20 9RJ
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.
Getting to Castle Ward:
Strangford, Downpatrick BT30 7BA, UK
For SATNAV: BT30 7BA
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.
Getting to the Harry Potter Experience:
Studio Tour Dr, Leavesden, Watford WD25 7LR, UK
For SATNAV: WD25 7LR
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.
Getting to Doune Castle:
Castle Hill, Doune FK16 6EA, UK
For SATNAV: FK16 6EA
Buckingham Palace, the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II and the most iconic building
of the British monarchy, is one of the top tourist attractions in the United Kingdom.
Positioned on top of a dormant volcano, Edinburgh Castle has been a
commanding feature on the horizon of Scotland’s exciting capital city for
hundreds of years and is certain to capture your imagination..
Located in Cumbria in the far northwest corner of the country, the Lake District
is an unspoiled wonderland of peaks and valleys, towns and villages, and, most importantly, lakes.
Looking to visit Windsor Castle? As one of the Queen’s official residences and
one of the largest inhabited castles, it’s no wonder that it’s such a popular destination with tourists.
Top of the list for any fan 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.