From costume dramas in stately settings to fairytales in enchanted woods, there are plenty of film-inspired days out to choose from.
Mr. Turner (2014)
Petworth House and Park, West Sussex
Mike Leigh’s award-winning film, Mr. Turner explores the last quarter century of the great landscape painter, JMW Turner. Leigh filmed for just over a week at Petworth House, which was the seat of one of Turner’s greatest patrons – the third Earl of Egremont, played by Patrick Godfrey in the film. Turner famously had the run of the house when he visited, and annexed the enormous library as his art studio, which is vividly brought back to life in the film. From 10 January to 11 March 2015 Petworth House hosts Mr. Turner – an exhibition, which will feature major artworks and original items belonging to Turner himself, together with props and visuals from the film.
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) and Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001)
Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire
Founded in 1232 and converted into a country house in the 1540s, the atmospheric monastic rooms of Lacock Abbey include medieval cloisters, a sacristy and chapter house. The Abbey’s cloisters and side rooms were transformed into the magical classrooms of the ‘Hogwarts’, while the village was a backdrop for outdoor scenes with Harry and Dumbledore. The Abbey was also immortalised as the beautiful chambers of Catherine of Aragon for filming of The Other Boleyn Girl.
Into the Woods (January 2015)
Ashridge Forest, Hertfordshire
Ashridge was the inspiration for the enchanted forest in the recent Disney blockbuster Maleficent. Now Ashridge works its magic again in Disney’s forthcoming live-action fairytale musical, Into the Woods in which it is transformed into the home of some of the Brothers Grimm’s most famous characters. No stranger to the limelight the woodland at Ashridge has also appeared in Les Misérables, Sleepy Hollow and Harry Potter.
The Duchess (2008)
Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire
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.
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 famous bat cave. A much used filming location, Osterley has also been used in Burke & Hare, Gulliver’s Travels, The Young Victoria, Edge of Love and Miss Potter.
Far from the Madding Crowd (May 2015)
Claydon House, Buckinghamshire
Claydon House will appear on the silver screen this spring in the latest adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Far from the Madding Crowd. Directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene and Michael Sheen as William Boldwood, the crew spent ten days at Claydon, which doubles up as Mr. Boldwood’s mansion. Fans of the novel won’t be disappointed with the dramatic Christmas party scenes, which saw Claydon lavishly dressed with Christmas trees, mistletoe and garlands.
Pan (July 2015)
Director Joe Wright’s puts a spin on J.M. Barrie’s original 1911 Peter Pan story. The film stars young newcomer Levi Miller as an orphan who is kidnapped by a troupe of pirates, headed by the evil Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) and taken to Neverland, where he later becomes Peter Pan. Stowe’s Grade I Palladian bridge in Buckinghamshire was chosen as the location for a special night time shoot involving flashback scenes with Peter’s mother Mary, played by Amanda Seyfried.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Antony House, Cornwall
This classically beautiful house is a beguiling mix of the formal and informal, and was famously thrown into the spotlight by the recent 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.
Cinderella (March 2015)
Directed by Kenneth Branagh, this live-action feature retells the classic fairy-tale Cinderella. The film stars Downton Abbey’s Lily James as the disadvantaged princess and Game of Throne’s Richard Madden as Prince Charming. During the shoot animators and filmmakers from Disney visited Cliveden in Berkshire, seeking inspiration for the famous clock tower and fountain.
Robin Hood (2010) & Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010)
Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire
This beautiful beach, six miles west of Stackpole, is renowned as one of the finest surf beaches in Wales, and has been used as a location for both Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In Robin Hood it served as the backdrop to the climactic battle with the French and in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows it featured in the beach scenes with Dobby and was also home to Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour‘s Shell Cottage.
Anna Karenina (2012) & A Little Chaos (April 2015)
Ham House, London
In Anna Karenina, Joe Wright’s adaptation of the classic tale of love and adultery, Ham House 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.
A Little Chaos follows Sabine (Kate Winslet), a strong-willed landscape designer who challenges sexual and class barriers when she is chosen to build one of the main gardens at King Louis XIV’s new palace at Versailles. Directed by Alan Rickman, the 18th century French palace and grand houses were actually shot in England, at Ham House which sits on the banks of the Thames and also in the 75 acres of Cliveden’s landscaped gardens in Berkshire and in the ancient woodland at Ashridge in Buckinghamshire.
Dracula Untold (2014)
Starring Luke Evans, Dracula Untold is based on the original Bram Stoker novel. The action was filmed at well-known National Trust locations in Northern Ireland including the Giant’s Causeway, Mount Stewart and Divis and the Black Mountain. Familiar backdrops include the wide open spaces of Divis which hosted battle scenes and the Italian Garden at Mount Stewart which played home to the grounds of Dracula’s castle. Meanwhile it will be hard to miss the world famous Causeway stones which double as a fictional mountain in Transylvania – with a little help from CGI.
Jack the Giant Killer (2013)
Cheddar Gorge, Somerset
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 some computer trickery the gorge was given a mystical make-over complete with swirling mists and stone gargoyles spouting waterfalls.
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
Frensham Ponds, Surrey
Surrey’s Frensham Ponds 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 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).
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 also came to film crucial scenes for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides here and in 2008, Knole 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.
Jane Eyre (2011)
White Edge Lodge, Derbyshire
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.
These glorious sculpture parks can be admired all year round.
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There are some big anniversaries this year, from the consecration of Westminster Abbey to the Battle of Waterloo.