The real-life fairy tale of American Megan Markle marrying British Prince Harry in May 2018 has all eyes turned to Great Britain. Americans are fascinated by the Royal Family, watching the story play out as if it were one of the many movie scripts filmed in the UK. If your personal invitation to the wedding doesn’t arrive, movie fans can still step into a fantasy world by visiting these filming locations in the UK.
Who hasn’t wished to be a teen wizard, just once? See if you’ve got what it takes at London’s King’s Cross Station at Platform 9 ¾ where the Hogwarts Express departs. Or you can find the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron at Leadenhall Market, one of the oldest markets in London.
To find Hogwarts itself, head to Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. The castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England, behind Windsor Castle, and open to the public throughout the summer. Hogwarts was also filmed at the magnificent Bodleian Library, the main research library at the University of Oxford and the UNESCO World Heritage designated Durham Cathedral. The large stone vaulted ceiling is the oldest surviving example of Norman architecture, dating to the 11th century.
Game of Thrones
Another epic fantasy series with a cult-like following, Game of Thrones, uses stunning locations in Northern Ireland for filming. You can visit the Stark’s home of Winterfell on the islands of Westeros by heading to Castle Ward in County Down. Dress up in costume and try your hand at archery on the set of the Winterfell Archery Range. Nearby, visit beautiful Tollymore Forest Park, the filming location where the Stark children found their Direwolf pups.
Magheramorne Quarry in County Antrim is the real-life location of Castle Black and the Wall where the Nightwatchmen look across the lonely expanse of The North. Another eerily enticing filming location worth visiting in County Antrim is the actual 200-year-old Dark Hedges that portray the King’s Road. Still more dramatic scenery was filmed at Downhill Strand in County Londonderry, where you can experience the windswept desolation of the fictional Dragonstone.
Just as Americans are enthralled with the current British Royals, this critically acclaimed series about post-Edwardian aristocracy was a phenomenal hit. Fans flock to Highclere Castle an hour north of London to see the real Downton Abbey, owned by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. The castle and gardens are open for a variety of tours, talks, and teas throughout the spring and summer, and the Carnarvon’s live in the castle in the winter. You can even spend the night on the estate in the recently restored London Lodge.
There are other Downton Abbey filming locations to visit, as well. The Village of Downton is actually the Oxfordshire village of Bampton about 20 miles west of Oxford. Charming Cotswold houses and country pubs make it worth the visit. Nearby is the Swain Inn in Swinbrook where Lady Sybil eloped with chauffeur Tom Branson in the series. You can dine on the pub’s fresh, seasonal menu and even stay overnight at the Inn.
Other Movie Filming Locations in the UK
Many other hit movies have been filmed in Great Britain. Here are just a few popular ones and their filming locations in the UK you can visit.
- James Bond – Channel your inner 007 on a visit to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu that houses an incredible collection of vehicles used in Bond movies.
- The Queen – Helen Mirren won an Oscar for her portrayal of Her Majesty at famous royal homes such as Culzean Castle and Balmoral.
- The Kings Speech – Ely Cathedral was a film double for Westminster Abbey in this touching film, but you can see the actual 14th-century Coronation Chair on display at the actual Westminster Abbey.
- Miss Potter – You’ll fall in love with the Lake District, just like Beatrix Potter.
- Braveheart – Cry “Freedom!” as you explore Glenco and the Scottish Highlands.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail – Fans of this cult classic will recognize 15th-century Castle Stalker on the west coast of Scotland as the backdrop to the silly King Arthur parody.
- Enigma – Learn the amazing secret story of the WWII code breakers at the Bletchley Park Museum and National Codes Centre just 50 miles north of London.
Let the expert travel advisors at Covington use their insider connections to arrange exclusive access and tours of fascinating places across the UK just for you.