It’s award season and to help celebrate the best of the silver screen we’re revealing some of the top National Trust places to visit for budding film stars and movie fanatics.
From lavish costume dramas in stately settings to once-upon-a-times in magical forests and otherworldly woodlands, there are tons of film-inspired days out to choose from.Here’s our pick of the best places to follow in the footsteps of the stars:
Ashridge Forest, Hertfordshire
Les Misérables (2012)
Based on the long-running stage musical and classic novel by Victor Hugo, a number of scenes from Les Mis were shot in the huge expanse of woodland at Ashridge. Frithsden Beeches, which contains a number of magnificent old beeches including a 400 year-old tree with a 25 metre span that’s no stranger to the limelight having starred in Sleepy Hollow and Harry Potter. It was covered with about 1000 square metres of c90 (fake snow) to give it a wintry feel.
Antony House, Cornwall
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
This classically beautiful house is a beguiling mix of the formal and informal, and was famously thrown into the spotlight by the adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton. Filming took place over nine days back in September 2008, transforming the grounds and creating a ‘mini village’ of catering trucks and hair and make-up tents.
Opens: 1 April 2014
Basildon Park, Berkshire
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Back in 2005 the Palladian mansion played a starring role in the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley. The house was the setting for one of the film’s sumptuous ballroom scenes, which take place in Basildon’s dining room. With both the exterior of the house and many of the first floor rooms used in the lavish production, Basildon will be instantly recognisable to fans.
Beatrix Pottery Gallery & Tarn Hows, Cumbria
Miss Potter (2006)
The eagerly anticipated biopic of the celebrated children’s author used several Trust properties in the filming, which hold strong links to the lady herself, who was famously one of the Trust’s biggest benefactors. The Beatrix Potter Gallery, which was once the solicitor’s office of the author’s husband, William Heelis, for example, featured in the movie.
Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
Jack the Giant Killer (2013)
At almost 400ft deep and three miles long, Cheddar Gorge is spectacular natural sight. In Jack and the Giant Killer, which stared Nicolas Hoult as Jack, the gorge appeared as the giant’s lair. With a little help from CGI the gorge was given a mystical make-over complete with swirling mists and stone gargoyles spouting waterfalls.
Charlecote Park, Warwickshire
The Libertine (2004)
The scandalous and decadent life of the seventeenth-century poet, John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester, was brought to the silver screen in 2004, with Johnny Depp stepping into the shoes of the infamous ‘Rochester’. Charlecote, in Warwickshire, played a supporting role as its grounds were transformed into the East End of London, complete with pigs. It’s also said that Johnny Depp even took a bath in the Brew house!
Summer in February (2013)
Based on a true story starring Dan Stevens, Dominic Cooper and Emily Browning, Summer in February followed the complex love triangle at the center of the bohemian Lamorna Group of artists. Cornish beaches, Holywell and Porthcurno, with their exposed rocky headland, shining sand and jagged rocks provided the perfect backdrop to exuberant horseback sequences in the film.
Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, Yorkshire
The History Boys (2006)
The grand ruins of Fountains Abbey were the setting for a school visit in this adaptation of Alan Bennett’s play. Predominantly featuring a British cast boasting Dominic Cooper, James Corden, Richard Griffiths and Frances de la Tour the film explored a group of young men with the brains, and will, to earn a place at one of the finest universities in the country.
Frensham Ponds, Surrey
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
Frensham Ponds in Surrey took centre stage in the film Snow White and the Huntsman, a Gothic re-imagining of the classic Brother’s Grimm fairytale, Snow White. One of the most dramatic battle scenes took place at the childhood home of Snow White, a quaint fishing village on the shores of a lake. This village was in fact built on the shores of Frensham Ponds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), no less.
Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire
Robin Hood (2010)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010)
Since the dawn of cinema, filmmakers have long been dragging their cameras, cast and crew across Wales hoping to wow their audiences with the country’s stunning landscape. This beach is renowned as one of the finest surf beaches in Wales, made famous as the location for both Robin Hood and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The beach, six miles west of Stackpole was the filming location for the beach scenes with Dobby and home to Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour‘s Shell Cottage. Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire is no stranger to film crews and has also served in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood as the backdrop to the climactic battle with the French. The vast battle scene was choreographed and shot over many days on this spectacular beach and the cliffs were added later using computer magic.
Ham House, Surrey
Anna Karenina (2012)
In Anna Karenina, Joe Wright’s adaptation of the classic tale of love and adultery, Ham House, in Richmond-upon-Thames was transformed into grand Russian apartments. The Long Gallery on the first floor of the house with its opulent Baroque decor, fine oil paintings and parquet floor meant it was picture-perfect to play the role of Vronsky’s grand but empty apartments in nineteenth century St Petersburg. Situated within the M25, Ham is regarded as one of the best-kept secrets in the British film industry with location managers appreciating its versatility and directors seduced by its good looks. Recent shoots include Disney’s John Carter, Never Let Me Go and The Young Victoria.
Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire
The Duchess (2008)
Designed to impress and amaze, Kedleston is a stunning example of eighteenth century architecture and it comes as no surprise that it was chosen as one of the major locations for the period blockbuster, The Duchess. Starring Keira Knightley, the film delves into the life of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, who lived a life of political and romantic intrigue in the eighteenth-century. Filming at Kedleston spanned four weeks and at least six different rooms in the property were used.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)
The cast and crew from Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows came to Knole, transforming the Stone Court into the courtyard of a Swiss Castle for the arrival of Professor Moriarty, arch-enemy of Conan Doyle’s famous detective. Geoffrey Rush came to film crucial scenes for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. While in 2008, it took centre stage for the adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s bestselling novel, The Other Boleyn Girl, the story of the Boleyn sisters, Anne and Mary, as they competed for love of King Henry VIII. In reality, Knole has a link to King Henry himself. He was so impressed by the beauty of Knole that in 1538 he asked Thomas Cranmer, his Archbishop of Canterbury, to hand the property over to him.
Show rooms, visitor centre, orangery, estate office, shop and courtyards open 8 March 2014
Gardens open 1 April – 30 Sep 2014
Please note: some of the exact locations of filming are not open to the public.
Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001)
The Abbey at the heart of Lacock Village has experienced its fair share of the limelight. Founded in 1232 and converted into a country house in the 1540s, the atmospheric monastic rooms include medieval cloisters, a sacristy and chapter house. The Abbey’s cloisters and side rooms were transformed into the magical classrooms of the famous ‘Hogwarts’, while the location was also used for Harry’s discovery of the mystical ‘Mirror of Erised’. The Abbey was also immortalised as the beautiful chambers of Catherine of Aragon for filming of The Other Boleyn Girl.
Lyme Park, Cheshire
The Awakening (2011)
Lyme Park is a stunning country house, set against sweeping moorland, and in 2011 it played a starring role in the chilling supernatural thriller,The Awakening. Located in the wild remoteness of the Peak District, Lyme’s exterior was used to represent Rookwood, the secluded boys’ boarding school in the film. It is here that paranormal sceptic Rebecca Hall is invited by headmaster Dominic West to investigate rumours of an apparent haunting. Using the mile long drive and exterior for stunning effect, another key location was ‘The Cage’, a tower situated high on a hill in the medieval parkland.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Chosen for its large rooms and grand interiors, the production crew working on The Dark Knight Rises spent two months ‘dressing’ Osterley as Wayne Manor, before the cast, including Christian Bale, Michael Caine and the rest of the crew, arrived for a week of filming. Wayne manor was burnt down in an earlier film so director Christopher Nolan was looking for a stunning period setting to act as the new Wayne Manor. Like many visitors, he fell for Osterley’s spectacular interiors, including the 130 foot Long Gallery, the entrance hall, the grand staircase and the breakfast room. But perhaps the most exciting location he picked was the library where, hidden behind a door in a bookcase, lies Osterley’s real secret passage, which became the entrance to Batman’s infamous bat cave. A much used filming location, other examples include the Burke & Hare, Gulliver’s Travels, The Young Victoria, Edge of Love and Miss Potter.
House, garden, café, shop and second-hand bookshop opens 1 March 2014
White Edge Lodge, Derbyshire
Jane Eyre (2011)
This holiday cottage made its way to the silver screen in Cary Fukunaga’s adaptation of Jane Eyre. Surrounded by wide expanses of open heather moorland, this cottage has breathtaking views in all directions. The lodge sleeps five and has many interesting and original interior features including a kitchen in the former game cellar and a beautifully designed bathroom with a fine moorland view from the bathtub.
Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire
Easy Virtue (2008)
Key scenes from Noel Coward’s timeless comedy of manners, starring Jessica Biel, Ben Barnes and Colin Firth, were filmed at Wimpole in early 2008. The two lovers were caught in a romantic tryst at the folly in the grounds, and the exterior of the house formed the backdrop to a comic hunting scene.
For more information on film locations, please visit: http://www.nationaltrust.org.
In light of the recent localised flooding, make sure you check the latest weather and transport updates before you travel.
Useful websites to check before travelling: