Our Favourite UK Scenes to See from TV & Film

With its breathtaking landscapes, magnificent stately homes and charming chocolate-box villages, it is hardly surprising that the spectacular scenery of the United Kingdom has long been a draw for all manner of filmmakers. So, with this season’s film and television awards a fading memory and sunnier days approaching (if you haven’t already, get out those walking boots!), we give you our countdown of the top ten ‘Scenes to See’ from the big, and not-so-big, screen! Want a second take? You can follow in the footsteps of James Bond or Elizabeth Bennet and discover each of these fabulous settings for yourself on one, or more, of our walks. We must add though, whilst we can guarantee lots of fresh air and beautiful scenery, we can’t guarantee that you will run into Honey Rider or Mr. Darcy!

 1.  Wicklow Mountains National Park, as seen in Braveheart

On the Wicklow Way, Ireland

 Narrating the story of William Wallace’s fight for Scottish Independence, one would be forgiven for thinking that Braveheart might be filmed exclusively in Scotland. Indeed, the forested glens, medieval duns and, of course, that face paint would suggest as such.  However, it was the heath-cloaked mountains and wooded river valleys of County Wicklow that accommodated both Mel Gibson’s crew and his cry for freedom! Though the scars of battle have long since faded from the landscape, the scenery continues to impress and walker’s can enjoy views of the glacial lakes of Lough Tay and Lough Dan, the sixth-century monastic city of St. Kevin, and Lugnaquilla, the highest mountain in County Wicklow. Those with a keener eye may also spot the Sika Deer, Red Squirrel or the Peregrine Falcon all of whom call Wicklow Mountains National Park home.

picturesque landscape in glendalough county wicklow ireland a tourist attraction

2.   Chatsworth House, as seen in Pride and Prejudice

On the White Peak Way, England

Backed by a ridge of densely wooded hills and gazing over the crystalline waters of the River Derwent, the beautiful home of the twelfth Duke and Duchess of Devonshire has been seen on screen regularly over the last ten years. Although the Estate has been home to the real-life Cavendish family since the middle of the sixteenth century, following the release of Pride and Prejudice in 2005, it has also come to be known as Pemberley: the palatial, but fictional, home of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. It was a visit to Chatsworth House that inspired Jane Austen’s descriptions of Pemberley and whilst readers will already be acquainted with Chatsworth’s peaks, parklands and deer, fans of the film should also recognise the Baroque painted ceilings, breathtaking views of the Emperor Fountain, and Raffaelle Monti’s ethereal carved-marble Veiled Lady in the sixth Duke’s North Wing.

Bridge over River Derwent Chatsworth WPW

3.    Buachaille Etive Mor, as seen in Skyfall

On the West Highland Way, Scotland

 The looming ridges of Buachaille Etive Mor and its smaller neighbour Buachaille Etive Beag offer walkers some of the finest views in the West Highlands. During the winter months these brooding peaks are often found blanketed with a dense covering of Arctic snow; in the summer months the magnificent stony points and rough greensward inclines of the landscape rise up proudly below fast-sailing clouds. For those besotted with Bond, the trails and roadways in and around these peaks also offer the opportunity to walk in the tyre tracks of Britain’s favourite 007 and experience firsthand the atmospheric settings of his drive towards Skyfall with M (regrettably, we cannot provide a DB5 for any portion of this trail). Following our West Highland Way trail, walkers will be able to see both of Glen Etive’s most famous peaks; however, for those who wish to venture that bit closer, a small diversion from the established walkers’ route will give you access to one or both of these beautiful giants.

 Buachaille Etive Beag

4.    Freshwater West, as seen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

On the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales

Backed by rugged grasslands and bordered by marram-crowned dunes, from the far-reaching plains of Freshwater West walkers can enjoy panoramic views stretching from Gravel Bay to the purple-black sea cliffs approaching Linney Head. In times gone by, Freshwater’s concealed beachfront and secluded caverns were a favourite meeting place for smugglers; however, present-day visitors are much more likely to see wave-seeking surfers, technology-wielding geocachers and Harry Potter enthusiasts! Whilst the mile-long coastline of Freshwater West is considered the most consistent surf spot in Wales, it is also the garden of the unusual home of Bill and Fleur Weasley. Constructed almost entirely from shells and other beach finds, film goers will remember Shell Cottage as the house occupied by Harry and his companions after escaping Voldemort. Sadly, due to its fragility, Shell Cottage no longer stands on the beach (although, it could be cloaked from muggle sight); nevertheless, the views are unchanged and, although it is unmarked, devotees may still stumble upon Dobby’s final resting place. Also, for muggles who geocache, there is an extra surprise here too: ‘Dobby’s Legacy’, a buried treasure trove of Potter-phenalia!

Freshwater West Beach - Scenes from TV and Film

5.    Derwentwater, as seen in Miss Potter

On the Cumbria Way, England

Enclosed by lush fells and the steep slopes of ‘old Skiddaw’, the many trails that surround England’s widest lake are the perfect choice for wildlife-loving walkers. Crowned the ‘Queen of all Lakes’, some of the most popular walks in the National Park can be found around Derwentwater and whilst the lake is home to Britain’s rarest freshwater fish, the silvery vendace, its four permanent lake islands, Derwent, Lord’s, Rampsholme and St. Herbert’s, are popular with sandpipers, red squirrels and kingfishers! Much-loved author and illustrator Beatrix Potter passed many summers in the Lake District and later bought 'Hill Top', a picturesque cottage close to Windermere. She was particularly fond of the areas surrounding Derwentwater. She spent many hours drawing, painting and taking photographs around the lake and as such, it became the home to many of her favourite characters: the mischievous Squirrel Nutkin sailed over to St Herbert’s Island to collect nuts, crafty Benjamin Bunny spied on Farmer McGregor’s crops from the hedgerows, and the hard-working Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle pegged out her laundry on Catbells fell.

Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite Lake and Keswick from Walla Crag

6.    Hardraw Force, as seen in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves

On the Pennine Way, England

Tucked away behind the idyllic thirteenth-century Green Dragon Inn on the outskirts of the pretty hamlet of Hardraw are the foamy waters of England’s largest single-drop waterfall – the falls cascade down from the grand height of 100ft! Only a hop away from the Pennine Way trail, both the waterfall and the fifteen acres of woodland that surround it were once home to the prehistoric Megapezia: the brave four-legged fish that crawled out of the waters and on to dry land, sparking the first movements of a vertebrae invasion that led directly to...Robin Hood!? In addition to being famous for the discovery of some fossilised fishy footprints in the falls, Hardraw Force is also familiar as the location where Maid Marian catches Robin Hood, played by Kevin Costner on this occasion, bathing in the buff! The water is chilly and Robin Hood is, usually, nowhere in sight, but if you want to recreate that famous scene, albeit with your clothes on, then feel free to take a dip (at your own risk)!

 Pennine Way trail

7.    The Dingle Peninsula, as seen in Ryan’s Daughter

On the Dingle Way, Ireland

With its spectacular spray-tipped coastline, sandy beaches and emerald hills speckled with ancient ruins, it is not difficult to understand why the Dingle Peninsula (Corca Dhuibhne to the locals), is frequently referred to as ‘the most beautiful place on earth’. The Peninsula, which extends some thirty miles into the Atlantic Ocean, boasts some of the most extraordinary mountain and coastal scenery in Ireland and following the trail, walkers will encounter everything: tranquil fishing villages, yawning alpine valleys, and the lofty slopes of Masatiompan, Brandon and Ballysitteragh. Whilst famed for its rich cultural heritage, the Peninsula is also associated with the film industry: Ryan’s Daughter was filmed here, as were parts of Far and Away, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Another famous face around Dingle belongs to Fungi, a male bottle-nosed dolphin who has been swimming the waters around the Peninsula for about twenty years. Dolphins are somewhat prevalent along the Irish coast and, due to his playful nature, Fungi has become something of a local celebrity! Boat trips regularly run from Dingle to visit him and wet suits are also available for hire if you’re ready for your close up.

Way to the Blaskets SS

8.    Askrigg, as seen in All Creatures Great and Small

On the Herriot Way, England

Surrounded by lush greenery and settled in a tree-scattered valley that separates two stunning moorlands, nestles the charming village of Askrigg. The cobbled streets, pretty window boxes and colourful cottage gardens, all huddled around the fifteenth-century church of St. Oswald and the ancient Market Square, are undeniably enchanting; however, it would be impossible to visit Askrigg without also stumbling across the name of much-loved local veterinarian and author, James Herriot. The Herriot Way, so-named because it is a trail that visits some of Herriot’s favourite retreats, follows a pleasant route around the Dales of Wensleydale and Swaledale, both of which were areas served by Herriot. Although Herriot’s veterinary practice was based in Thirsk, which was renamed Darrowby in Herriot’s books, for the BBC’s adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small it was Askrigg in Upper Wensleydale that became his home base. Journeying through Askrigg, walkers will spot Skeldale House, fondly remembered as Herriot’s on-screen veterinary surgery, and the King’s Arms, retitled The Drover’s Arms, Herriot’s much-frequented watering hole! Anyone for a pint?

 Herriot Way (1)

9.    Kettlewell, as seen in Calendar Girls

On the Dales Way, England

Neatly intersected by the unhurried River Wharfe and nestled amongst the jewel-toned hills of the Yorkshire Dales, the quiet village of Kettlewell is the archetypal ‘green and pleasant’ English village. The impassioned words of William Blake continue to resonate in Village Halls countrywide, but at no time have they been heard with more distinction than in 2002 when the all-star cast of Calendar Girls descended upon Kettlewell’s Village Hall (or should I say Knapely’s) and introduced us all to the ‘fascinating world of rugs’ before sending us off in search of some ‘considerably bigger buns’! Seriously though, from energetic fell walking to a gentle stroll along the river, walkers are spoilt for choice with some of the best walking in the Dales to be found in and around the village and, when you fancy a break, it’s all too easy to stumble across the perfect spot to indulge in a well-earned cup of tea…

DW - Jennifer Kelly

10. Powis Castle, as seen in Doctor Who

On Glynd┼Ár’s Way, Wales

Nearing the end of one of Wales’ most terrain-variable trails, Powis Castle, a red former fortress that overlooks the Severn Valley, is the perfect spot to pull out a packed lunch and enjoy some gasp-worthy views of the Welsh valleys and borderlands. The earliest Castle was constructed in around 1200AD. Now, more than 800 years later, it houses one of the finest collections of painting, sculpture, furniture and tapestries in the whole of Wales. Unusually, in 1980, it was also the otherworldly home of…. hairy Tharil time shifters!? Filmed amongst the Baroque terraces and gateways of the Castle, rare survivors of an age before eighteenth-century ideals in garden design, the Warrior’s Gate episode of Doctor Who – Tom Baker was in this one – saw Time Lord number four scrambling through the gardens of Powis in an attempt to escape the none-space between two physical dimensions. Whilst they appeared freakishly surreal on screen, the castle’s world-famous gardens are very much worth a visit. Offering glimpses of fantastical topiary and bright formal flowerbeds, as well as some great photo opportunities, the castle is a perfect point for pause before joining our Offa’s Dyke Path…go on, you know you want to!

What are you waiting for?

powis castle, Welshpool

Originally published 04/04/14

Top posts