The Cotswolds and surrounding counties are brimming with grand manor houses, stately homes and historic villages, making it popular with the media for dreamy English film locations, and action-packed movie sets.
The Cotswolds is home to block-buster movies such as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts school, The Avengers and Pride & Prejudice, as well as epic television series such as Wolf Hall, Sanditon and Downton Abbey – If you love film and television, particularly period drama, you will fall in love with the Cotswolds.
Although never having been used as a location for The Crown, Blenheim Palace is known for being the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The Palace has indeed played host to many other wonderful film and TV sets over the years; Transformers: The Last Knight most recently, The BFG, Gulliver’s Travels, The Avengers and perhaps arguably most famously, the lake scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
The perfect Jacobean backdrop to the likes of Vanity Fair, Father Brown, Wolf Hall and Emma, to name a few. If you also love water features, be sure to take in the astonishing Stanway Fountain – the tallest fountain in Britain and the tallest gravity-fed fountain in the world. Stanway also has real-life links to Thomas Cromwell, who befriended the Stanway House leaseholder Richard Tracy in 1533.
Cast your mind back to the annual turkey curry night hosted by Bridget Jones’ parents at Christmas… Snowshill was the location for the family home, and the village green and church tower featured. Although the scene was set at Christmastime, filming actually took place during the summer months, so fake snow was brought in to create the festive scene.
This charming Cotswold village will provide perfect photo opportunities, from Charles Wade’s manor house, National Trust gardens, model railway and Cotswold Lavender (we took that photo ourselves during one of our luxury guided tours).
Downton Abbey was filmed in many locations, including Highclere Castle in Hampshire, Alnwick Castle in Northumberland and the quaint Cotswold village of Banbury which has been featured in every episode. You will find Isobel Crawley’s home, The Grantham Arms, Downton Cottage Hospital and the Downton Post office.
And from personal experience we can tell you there are some stunning Thames River walks (and wild swimming spots), beautiful riverside pubs and terrific tearooms.
The ‘dreaming spires’ of Oxford have inspired many a film maker to bring their cast and crews into the city and take up residence in some of the finest ancient colleges in England.
Timothée Chalamet’s yet to be released Wonka was filmed here and is in good company with the likes of Tolkien (who wrote his famous novels whilst studying at Pembroke College), Harry Potter, Dr Strange, Alice in Wonderland and The Golden Compass.
Whilst in Oxford, there is also the Saxon Castle and Prison to visit where you can be immersed in history and discover gruesome stories of the Goal’s past, lots of university tours and the new Westgate shopping centre.
Katherine Parr, King Henry VIII’s 6th wife lived and died at Sudeley Castle and is buried on the neighbouring St Mary’s Chapel. This chapel and indeed the grounds of the castle featured in Father Brown, the TV adaptation of Emma, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and mini-series, Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens.
Cheltenham is a wonderful city in Gloucestershire County, brimming with history and has a buzzing social scene alongside Georgian architecture. Sudeley Castle is only 10-15 minutes away from the Ellenborough Park Hotel, one of our featured Premium Accommodations.
And a bonus 7th location! Dyrham Park, Bristol
Not technically part of the Cotswolds, but Bristol is only a short drive away and boasts a rich history of Roman settlement and later, rich trade across the Atlantic.
It is also the city where Sanditon is filmed. Dyrham Park is a National Trust owned country estate and is the Denham family home of Sanditon House. The beach scenes are filmed just down the road at Brean and Clevedon, and you can certainly make more than a weekend of the plentiful attractions in and around the city.
All of these stunning film locations are easily accessible with a tailor-made tour or from one of our luxury holidays in the Cotswolds. To make an enquiry or to request a specific location, please get in touch with us on +44 (0)1452 595490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, we hope this article has been inspiring and if you’d like some further reading about the locations mentioned, have a look at the links below: