From Harry Potter to James Bond, Downton Abbey to The Crown, Great Britain has always been a bastion of dramatic creativity. Some of the most epic films and binge-worthy television shows have their roots in England, Scotland and Wales, complete with film locations that you can experience firsthand. On your screen-worthy odyssey across Great Britain, you can walk in the footsteps of your favorite characters and recreate unforgettable moments at these filming locations.
The steamy hit show on Netflix got hearts racing thanks to its Shonda Rhimes-inspired plotlines and its passionate interpretation of life in Regency England. In Bath you’ll find the home of the Featheringtons at No. 1 Royal Crescent, a museum dedicated to the 1800s with perfectly-preserved architecture and grand views of Royal Victoria Park. To experience the opulent residence of Queen Charlotte, you only need to visit Hampton Court Palace, the former home of King Henry VIII. And in York, you won’t find the Duke of Hasting’s smoldering stare, but you will find his great estate at Clyvedon Castle.
Even though the story has finished, everyone's favorite teen wizard is still casting spells with the hearts and minds of fans around the world. Discover the magic at the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Lochaber, Scotland, where Arthur Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia lands. Visit Durham Cathedral in Durham, England, where Professor McGonagall taught the young wizards to turn animals into water goblets. Be awed by the grandeur of Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England, home to Madame Hooch’s broomstick flying lesson. Stroll through London’s Leadenhall Market, the sight of The Leaky Cauldron. And tour Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, England, where you’ll find a model version of Hogwarts.
Unrequited love and elegant frocks aren’t the only pillars of a great Jane Austen film — the stately homes and castles are also critical to the stories. Explore the 1,050 acres of gardens around Derbyshire’s Chatsworth House from Pride and Prejudice. Travel back to Georgian times at Montacute House in Somerset, a key location for the filming of Sense and Sensibility. And follow the beautiful story of Emma across a wide range of stately homes, villages and parks, including Firle Place in Sussex, which served as the interior and exterior of Emma’s home; and Wilton House in Salisbury, a historic property used as Mr. Knightley’s estate.
Whether you fell in love with the original filmed 50 years ago or the modern classic, Mary Poppins Returns, you can follow in the footsteps of the fantastical nanny across London. From the Chelsea house where P.L. Travers wrote the Mary Poppins books and iconic St Paul’s Cathedral, the building seen in Mary’s famous snow globe; to a quirky abode in tranquil Hampstead that inspired the famous canon-blasting house and your very own handcrafted umbrella to help you around town, this city will quickly have you singing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
Filmed on location throughout Britain, Downton Abbey’s iconic buildings create an incredible journey that will quickly have you ringing the bell for your afternoon tea. Tour Downton itself — Highclere Castle in Berkshire — which is open for 60 to 70 days each year, so you can see where most of the interior upstairs scenes were filmed. In Bampton, Oxfordshire, which doubled as the village of Downton, you can see firsthand several filming locations, such as St Mary’s Church and Bampton Library. And you can’t miss the Downton Abbey exhibition in Alnwick Castle, which features photography, costumes and props.
The epic TV drama Outlander is predominantly filmed in Scotland, and the country's staggering natural beauty is used to wonderful effect by the show's creators. Travel to where the show began, in the city of Inverness. You can take a dive into nature’s finest at the gorgeous Falkland Palace and Garden. Head to The Blackness Castle, used as the setting of Black Jack’s Fort William headquarters and features a stunning view overlooking the Firth of Forth. Immerse yourself in the history of the 15th century and explore the ancient castle once used as a garrison fortress and state prison.
Ready for RomCom heaven? Look no further than writer Richard Curtis, who penned Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones's Diary, Love Actually, About Time and Yesterday! Scenes from About Time feature London and Cornwall on the English coast. Love Actually was filmed in iconic locations in London like Trafalgar Square and Notting Hill. Yesterday was filmed in Sussex and the Beatles’ homeland, Liverpool, including Strawberry Field and Penny Lane!
Whether it’s the cultural backdrop of the National Gallery or a luxury shopping stroll in Mayfair, the James Bond franchise features many timeless locations in Great Britain. Book a ride on the Thames Rocket boat and speed along the route taken by the secret agent in 2015’s Spectre. Rent a car, maybe an Aston Martin, and drive along the windy roads of Glencoe in Scotland where scenes from Skyfall were set. Whatever sights you decide to add to your James Bond bucket list, you can’t forget to stop by an extravagant London cocktail bar and indulge in a martini. Shaken, not stirred.
Netflix series The Crown is captivating because it takes you on a behind-the-scenes history lesson of 20th-century British royalty. Walk in the footsteps of Queens and the actresses who portray them at such film locations as Windsor Court and Hampton Court Palace, the Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, which includes a palace once owned by Henry VIII and doubles as the residence of Queen Mary in the series; Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, the Scottish home for the British Royal Family since 1852 (although scenes for the show were actually shot at the Ardverikie Estate, a 19th-century Scottish baronial house in the heart of the Scottish Highlands); and 10 Downing Street, where the latest season of the series finds Britain’s first female Prime Minister portrayed by Gillian Anderson.
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