Lights, camera, explore

After spending lockdown gazing at UK filming locations on screen, here’s where to see them in real life once restrictions lift



From royalty to secret agents, Regency aristocrats to 20th century archaeologists, the UK has been the secret star of some of the most high-profile TV shows and movies of the past year. From Bridgerton and The Crown on Netflix to No Time To Die, the 25th outing for James Bond, due in cinemas later this year, you’re never too far from one of the country’s filming locations.

So, from the English coast to the Scottish Highlands and the Welsh countryside, as well as Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh (not to mention Borehamwood), we’ve picked some of the best from the latest big screen and small screen hits.

The Dig

The new Netflix film starring Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes tells the fascinating story of Sutton Hoo — but as well as being able to visit the National Trust site itself, with its Anglo-Saxon ship burial, the film puts the Suffolk coast firmly in the spotlight.

Head towards Bawdsey, where the foot ferry to Felixstowe still runs, for a slice of English coast so timelessly lovely that it could have come straight from 1939 when The Dig is set. The RSPB’s Boyton Marshes also feature, a little way north along the coast towards Orford Castle, as well as the tiny Butley Ferry.

Parts of the south east make an appearance too: a life-sized replica of the burial site was constructed in Godalming, while the Surrey village of Shackleford also features.

No Time To Die

James Bond’s 25th film appearance has been repeatedly delayed as cinemas wait to reopen but 007 is finally set to return later this year — and while his latest adventure takes him to Jamaica, Italy and Norway, the Scottish Highlands are also seeing their own piece of the action.

The area has featured as a location in several previous Bond movies, especially in Skyfall, with scenes in Glen Coe and Glen Etive; for No Time To Die, Loch Laggan on the Ardverikie estate will be in the spotlight. The dramatic landscape, with its mountains, lochs and forests, forms the background for an equally dramatic car chase by the water’s edge.


While the action of Regency reboot Bridgerton is set almost exclusively in London, the 19th century streets and homes were filmed at a series of locations around England. 

The wisteria-covered Bridgerton House is one of the few sites in the capital. Actually Ranger’s House in Greenwich, the building on the edge of Greenwich Park was once inhabited by George III’s sister, Princess Augusta, and is now an English Heritage property housing an art collection.

The Georgian architecture of Bath is used for many of the outdoor scenes, including the Royal Crescent, Bath Street, Alfred Street, and Beauford Square, Trim Street for Gunters Tea Shop, and Abbey Street for the dress shop, while the Holburne Museum of Art is transformed into Lady Danbury’s home.

If you’re searching for either of the Duke of Hastings’ residences, you’ll need to visit a string of real-life stately houses rather than just one: Wilton House in Salisbury, Badminton House in Gloucestershire and Syon House in London all represent parts of Hastings House as well as Clyvedon Castle, whose exterior comes courtesy of Castle Howard in Yorkshire.

It’s a Sin

Another show with a London setting that was filmed mostly in other cities, Channel 4’s It’s a Sin was shot mainly in Manchester, along with some locations in Liverpool and Bolton, while the north Wales coast at Bangor and Rhos-on-Sea near Llandudno doubled for the Isle of Wight.

The TV series about the 1980s HIV/Aids crisis featured Manchester’s Victoria Baths and The Embassy Club, as well as the Star and Garter pub on Fairfield Street and the Thirsty Scholar on New Wakefield Street, plus the Manchester Crematorium and Eccles Shopping Centre

Meanwhile Liverpool stood in for both London and New York — Water Street was filled with yellow cabs, retro cars and a hot dog stand to transform it to the Big Apple, while the Cunard Building on Brunswick Street played its own role, standing in for a London hotel.

The Crown

The first four seasons of The Crown have seen the production team seeking out historic buildings galore to take the place of some of the real-life royal locations — the exterior of Ardverikie House near Inverness has doubled for Balmoral, while Lancaster House’s grand interiors stood in for Buckingham Palace.

And with 90 filming locations used in total for the latest series, fans have had the chance to enjoy a new set of grand backdrops, including those appearing as Highgrove and Clarence House, the country and London residences of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

Somerley House, on the Hampshire-Dorset border became Highgrove (its grounds also doubled as Hampstead Heath for fellow Netflix series Bridgerton) while High Canons House in Borehamwood was used for Clarence House. Meanwhile, Wrotham Park in Hertfordshire took the place of Gatcombe Park.

His Dark Materials

While His Dark Materials is set in fictional lands, it’s still possible to find a few real-life landscapes appearing among the CGI magic — although Cittàgazze was built from scratch as a stage set at the studios in Cardiff, so without a magical portal of your own, that’s sadly one to strike off the wishlist.

Along with Oxford’s historic streets (including New College, the Bridge of Sighs and the entrance to the Botanic Gardens), you’ll also spot plenty of locations in Wales appearing as the backdrop to Lyra’s adventures.

Plasturton Gardens in Cardiff became home to its own portal to an alternative world, while the fishing village of Trollesund was built in a disused quarry near Crickhowell, close to Abergavenny. And the unspoiled scenery of the Brecon Beacons is used for many of the outdoor shots, including a journey on Usk Reservoir.

The Irregulars

New Netflix show The Irregulars, a twist on the Sherlock Holmes story that’s due to air later this year, has also made the most of Liverpool and Manchester’s city scenery to step in for Victorian London.

The supernatural spin-off series, following a group of teens solving crimes for Dr Watson and his mysterious business partner (who goes on to take all the credit), also whisked Chester’s Abbey Square back to the 19th century, while you’ll be able to spot Ruthin Gaol Museum in north Wales too.

The Castlefield railway viaduct makes an appearance as well, with scenes shot on the cobbles beneath the bridge, along with Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter, St George’s Plateau and the palm house in Sefton Park.


The ninth movie in the Fast & Furious franchise, F9, took over some of Edinburgh city centre for almost three weeks in 2019 — after its release date was delayed several times, it’s finally due to hit the big screen this May. And while Hatfield House in Hertfordshire has its own starring moment, the Scottish capital is the main UK filming location fans will notice.

With streets shut down to film a chase scene, fans will be able to see locations including Waterloo Place, George Street, Cockburn Street, Victoria Street, Royal Mile and Melville Street.


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