A holiday somewhere pretty is wonderful, but add in a little big-screen geekery and it’s even better. Though many people only think of Hollywood and London when picturing locations for films and TV series respectively, the UK has played host to a huge number of notable productions, with many becoming universal favourites.
The following is just a small selection of must-visit locations for any screen fanatics that want to trade their film appraisals for National Trust Holiday rental reviews instead.
Norwich – Stardust (2007)
Elm Hill in Norwich became more than just one of the quaintest and prettiest cobbled streets in Norfolk when Claire Danes and her fellow cast members walked down it in Stardust. Transformed into an olde-worlde set, it was home to a tavern that, in real life, is a cherished local tea room.
Elm Hill has long been a favourite part of Norwich for locals and tourists alike, thanks to the charming cobbles, listed buildings and carefully chosen shops that reside there. You can find artisan boutiques, antique shops and art galleries all in one place, with the cathedral only minutes away.
As a bonus, Avengers: Age of Ultron also filmed a couple of scenes in Norwich, on the university campus. The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts was used as the Avengers HQ building.
Holmfirth – Last of the Summer Wine (1973-2010)
Any self-proclaimed telly addict will know Last of the Summer Wine, with Compo and Nora Batty bringing the slow pace of Yorkshire life to television screens for decades. It’s the longest-running sitcom in the UK and never fails to raise a smile, in part because of its gorgeous location.
Filmed in Holmfirth, visitors can enjoy a taste of life from way back when. Pretty stone buildings, old fashioned Yorkshire hospitality and rolling views of the dales are all guaranteed, alongside plenty of charming places to stay. Rolling through the town in a bathtub is not recommended, but probably wouldn’t surprise too many people!
Glen Coe, Scottish Highlands – Skyfall (2012)
Widely considered to be one of the best modern Bond releases, Skyfall brought together tropes that all Bond fans love: a baddie you love to hate, plenty of love interests and vengeance and incredible settings.
Who can forget the first sprawling wide shot of Skyfall, Bond’s childhood home? Set in the middle of nowhere in the Scottish Highlands, the imposing stone house amplifies the desolation of the landscape; Glen Coe, when not filtered, is particularly beautiful. Visitors can enjoy seasonal skiing and snowboarding, wildlife watching, hiking and a rather charming folk museum, in the village centre.
Charlestown – Poldark (2015-2019)
While it’s probably safe to assume that not many viewers tuned in to Poldark for the scenery, it would have been hard to totally overlook, even when Aidan Turner, the lead actor, had his shirt off. (Which was a lot of the time). The only thing more dark and brooding than the man himself was the Cornish backdrop, complete with tempestuous seascapes and ominous clouds; but Charleston, in Truro, is a beauty spot that isn’t to be overlooked.
Enjoyed for its traditional aesthetic and laid back feel, there is plenty to do nearby. The Eden Project is a huge draw for tourists, as are the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Shipwreck Treasure Museum.
Cumbria – The Lakes (1997-1999)
A hard-hitting drama series that brought the realities of addiction and relationships to the small screen, The Lakes was set, as you might imagine, in the heart of the Lake District. Gaining a cult following, the programme also managed to garner the location a host of new fans that all wanted to experience life in a Cumbrian hotel – even if it was less eventful than the series made out.
Countless walks — each more stunning than the last — Hadrian’s Wall and Air Force waterfall are just some of the attractions that keep lovers of 90s TV and the great outdoors coming back for getaways.
Jersey – The Others (2011)
Starring Nicole Kidman as the lead, The Others is a spooky story about the paranormal that enjoyed an excellent reception in cinemas, but the real star of the show was the setting — beautiful Jersey.
The largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey, though technically not quite part of the UK, has a blended culture of British and French influences and enjoys incredibly scenic views, thanks to the diverse landscape. From sandy beaches to cliffs and deep inland valleys, it keeps visitors guessing. We have included it because it really is a spectacular setting and has been a prominent UK-adjacent location in the media world for many years.
The UK might not have the sunshine and palm trees that Hollywood does, but it can certainly offer up a diverse range of locations that are perfect for both filming and holidaying in.