5 UK movie locations that you can visit
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There are lots of famous buildings across the UK that have been used as backdrops in movie productions. Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire became the Dark Knight’s Wayne Manor in Batman and Durham Cathedral is perhaps better known as the classroom for a well-known wizard and his friends in Harry Potter.
There are also some beautiful gardens and landscapes in the UK that have made cameos in famous films. Here are five movie locations to add to your UK bucket list that I’ve put together with the help of Suttons, garden lovers and retailers of vegetable seeds.
The Dark Hedges, Game of Thrones
The Dark Hedges, an avenue of beech trees made famous by the best TV show in the world, Game of Thrones, is situated on Bregagh Road in Northern Ireland. It was first featured in episode one of the second series as King’s Road — the path that Arya took as she escaped from King’s Landing dressed as a boy, travelling through the Hedges to reach the Night’s Watch.
Following its appearance on TV, it has become a massive tourist attraction. To locals, this is a surprise as it is a rural road in Ballymoney, out of the way from the main villages. The avenue is quite difficult to find and there are signs being built so that it is easier for tourists to visit the spot. Local legend says that the avenue is home to a grey lady who walks between the trees as it gets dark – that’s Game of Thrones all over!
The trees are situated close to the northern coast, where other attractions such as the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway are, which are also part of the famous Game of Thrones tours in Northern Ireland.
Voted one of the world’s most beautiful places by the Architectural Digest magazine, The Dark Hedges are a sight to see for anyone who loves nature or the great outdoors. They were planted in the 18th century and intertwine to create a mystical avenue. The earthy tones of the trees are just spectacular and make for some great moody Instagram pictures.
Stourhead, Pride and Prejudice
Featured in the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice, Stourhead Landscape Garden in Wiltshire is a beautiful garden to visit. It’s the location where Mr Darcy first proposes to Lizzie, before she makes her exit across the Palladian Bridge. Work on the garden begun in 1740 and wasn’t completed until 1780. It’s since been described as a ‘living work of art’ — which is enough reason for anyone to visit.
The centrepiece of the world-famous garden is a lake which enhances the magnificence of the garden further. There’s a wide range of different trees, from beech to Spanish chestnut, and you can explore the temples that sit close to the lake. Visit the garden in spring and you’ll also see rhododendrons in bloom, while in early summer you can enjoy the azaleas.
Alnwick Gardens, Harry Potter
Alnwick Castle in Northumberland was the castle that transformed into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the first time in 2000 during the filming of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It was also in the grounds of this castle where Harry and co learn to fly their broomsticks. Students of Hogwarts walked through the courtyards and baileys of Alnwick Castle in various scenes too. Features of the castle were even shown as a path to Hagrid’s cabin and the Forbidden Forest.
Although it was the castle that was on the big screen, the gardens adjoined to the castle are something to see for garden lovers. The gardens are home to 200 different species of roses; see the Christmas Rose bloom in December and the English Shrub Rose open up in June. It’s wonderful all year round too (I visited in February), so you can enjoy brightly coloured water lilies in March and the delicate Peruvian Lily in June. There is also a large water feature that sits in the centre of the garden, which is something else to admire.
Take a trip down to the Poison Garden to discover plants that can kill as well – I loved this part as it really reminded me of the potions classes in Harry Potter. Learn about a range of flora that can cause death through pleasure or pain and see how some of the most popular drugs are grown. Make sure you don’t smell or touch the plants, as visitors have been known to faint due to inhaling toxic fumes.
The Eden Project, Die Another Day
The Eden Project is situated in the south west of the UK, in the county of Cornwall which is one of my favourite destinations in the UK. I’ve got another trip planned there for June so read my 2018 travel plans to find out what I’ll be up to when I’m there.
The Eden Project is the world’s biggest indoor rainforest and is made up of two huge biomes — the Rainforest Biome and the Mediterranean Biome. It is home to the longest zip wire in England too, which flies you over the biomes to give you a birds-eye view of the spectacles beneath. I’m not going to lie – it is terrifying but it is so worth it! In 2002 the Eden Project became Gustav Graves’ Ice Palace and high security lair in the James Bond film, Die Another Day.
The biomes are a great way to see plants and wildlife that you would usually need to travel abroad to see. Experience tropical heat in the Rainforest Biome and discover over 1,000 varieties of plant — there’s even a waterfall. Visit an authentic south-east Asian home, as well as a vegetable garden to see how herbs, flowers and trees grow in those climates.
You can then experience temperatures from between 9 and 25°C in the Mediterranean Biome — a climate well-known for luscious fruits and tasty wines. Take a walk through the iconic grass trees, see huge aloe vera plants and tulips in the spring. There’s also a perfume garden, which is filled with scented plants such as jasmine, roses, lavender and thyme.
Aysgarth Falls, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Visit the waterfalls where Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves famously fights Little John, situated near the village of Aysgarth in the Yorkshire Dales. The falls are made up of three different waterfalls that are within walking distance of each other – perfect for a countryside walk. It was the upper and middle fall that shot to fame in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. You can pay a small, voluntary fee to get close to where the scene was filmed – and get your Insta snaps in.
It’s an enjoyable walk through the woodland next to the falls too, along the River Ure. You can walk further than the falls to explore the village or Carperby and Castle Bolton as well, and in the spring and summer, you can see wild flowers through the valley. Like any waterfall, the site is best explored after heavy rainfall, when the water is most powerful and the falls look especially spectacular.