If you love film and TV and are looking to explore the scenic hidden gems of rural England and Wales, you have the perfect opportunity to plan a trip to some of the country’s most iconic and historical film and TV locations. From the cult British classic Withnail and I to popular literary adaptations such as Pride and Prejudice and Far From The Madding Crowd, there are a number of iconic and recognisable country manors, cottages and villages for film and TV buffs to explore across England and Wales. Many of our most popular hostels are conveniently located near these fantastic locations and will give you a great base to branch out from and explore some of UK’s most recognisable sets.
Credit: Karen Roe
1. The picturesque village of Castle Combe in Wiltshire is a must see on your list and has been featured in everything from Spielberg blockbusters to British cinema classics. The charming location, built in a scenic valley, oozes character, with the 14th century market cross at the heart of the village. The quaint properties are hundreds of years old, with St Andrews Church dating back to the 13th Century. The area is surrounded by peaceful woodland and the classic image of the old bridge over Bybrook is arguably the most famous feature. Many scenes from Steven Spielberg’s 2011 adaptation of Warhorse were filmed in the village with the early horse fair scene standing out as one of the most memorable. Other films such as Stardust and the classic British version of Dr. Doolittle (1967) have also used the beautiful, historical village. YHA Bath, is only a short car journey away and is by far one of the most picturesque hostels in Bath.
2. If your trip takes you to rural Cumbria, another landmark film location is Sleddale Hall which features prominently in the classic 1987 film Withnail and I. The cult film used the ancient, dilapidated cottage as the location where Withnail (Richard E Grant) and Marwood (Paul McGann) venture to their Uncle Monty’s isolated cottage. Due to the rural location, terrain can often be a bit unpredictable, so it’s advisable to wear wellington boots or suitable walking gear when making the trip. The easy walking route is approximately 3.5 miles and should take no more than a couple of hours. Our YHA Patterdale is probably the nearest hostel in the Lake District National Park if you are looking to make the trip to the secluded cottage.
Credit: Highclere Castle
3. The popular ITV series Downton Abbey was filmed at the beautiful Jacobean-style Highclere Castle in Hampshire. It is believed that the historic location, set in a 5000-acre estate has been established for 1300 years and was renovated by the Carnarvon family in the late 18th/early 19th century. The breathtaking castle is set amongst thousands of acres of stunning parkland and both the castle and gardens are open to the general public to visit at certain times of the year. Downton Abbey’s writer Julian Fellowes always intended to use the castle for the show, since it encompassed everything he wanted to say about the Edwardian era. There are numerous YHA hostels in Hampshire but our YHA Streatley is probably the most conveniently located.
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4. If you’re venturing to Derbyshire and the Peak District, a popular film location to visit is Chatsworth House, the location of the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, starring Matthew MacFadyen and Keira Knightley. Chatsworth was used as the residence of Mr. Darcy, Pemberley, and was chosen for its magnificence and picturesque surrounding parkland. It is also believed that Jane Austen used the manor as her inspiration when she wrote the novel nearby, in the town of Bakewell. The most convenient of the hostels in the Peak District is YHA Youlgreave which is situated in the village of Youlgreave. Haddon Hall is also close by. The beautiful rural location of the hostel enables travellers to explore the local countryside for walking, climbing and cycling.
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5. Thomas Vinterberg’s 2015 adaption of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd used Hardy’s home county Dorset as the key setting for the romantic tale. Featuring A-list actors such as Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge, the production largely took place in Sherborne, Forde Abbey, Mapperton House and on the Jurassic Coast of West Bay. The captivating landscape along Dorset’s coast also features in scenes of ITV’s award winning Broadchurch and is well worth a visit if you’re looking for a scenic coastal get-away. If you are looking for hostels in Dorset, then YHA Litton Cheney is an ideal base, close to the Jurassic Coast, Chesil Beach and Dorchester
Cover image credit: Haley Blackmore