Hertfordshire’s most popular filming locations
- Credit: Archant
With its grand stately homes, picturesque towns and two major film studios, Elstree and Warner Bros., Hertfordshire is a popular spot for filmmakers. These are just some of their most beloved locations...
Elstree Studios, Borehamwood
The Elstree studios have a filming history dating back to 1914, and currently host popular television programmes including Pointless, The Chase, Room 101, The Voice, Celebrity Juice, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Robot Wars and Strictly Come Dancing. The Big Brother house is also here. Films shot at Elstree include Flash Gordon, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies, Saving Private Ryan, Revenge of the Sith, Suffragette, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Danish Girl, The King’s Speech, Sherlock Holmes and Paddington Bear. The studios are also the site of filming for music videos including Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, You’re My Best Friend and I Want it All.
This impressive gothic stately home dates back to the Tudor era. Now open to the public, its 250-acre grounds include a children’s dinosaur park, adventure playground and a major concert venue. The Grade II listed building, which features gargoyles, turrets and domes, has provided the backdrop for films including Nanny McPhee and The Kings Speech, where it provided a substitute for Balmoral. Television programmes filmed at Knebworth include Midsomer Murders, Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Foyle’s War.
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Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden
Dubbed ‘Hollywood in Hertfordshire’, this 890 hectare site was previously used as an aerodrome between 1939 and 1994, producing fighter planes in WWII and Rolls-Royce aeroplane engines. Movies filmed on-site since its conversion in 1994 include Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, GoldenEye, The Dark Knight Rises and Sleepy Hollow. However, the Leavesden studios are best-known as the filming location for much of the hugely successful Harry Potter film series. The Hogwarts Great Hall is on the site and is now open to visitors. Harry Potter sets at Leavesden include Dumbledore’s office, the Knight Bus, and the Ministry of Magic set. The largest water filming tank in Europe was built to film underwater scenes in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In the final film, five 32-tonne trucks of polystyrene were required to provide the rubble effect for the destruction of Hogwarts. In total, 588 film sets were created at the studios during the 10-year period of filming.
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Hatfield House is an impressive Jacobean stately home and its sprawling estate includes ancient woodland, lawned gardens, meadows, paddocks, and private roads. Queen Elizabeth I lived in the Old Palace as a child, one wing of which still stands. The house featured as the Veruca Salt family home in the 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film. It was also a location for filming in two Batman movies, Tomb Raider, V for Vendetta, Hot Fuzz, The King’s Speech and Paddington, among others. Scenes for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie were also shot at the house.
St Albans Cathedral and city centre
The Cathedral featured in the 2003 film Johnny English, starring Rowan Atkinson as the incompetent MI7. First Knight starring Sean Connery and Richard Gere and Incendiary, starring Ewan McGregor, also featured scenes of the Cathedral, while Netflix series The Crown was recently filmed there. The historic city centre of St Albans has featured in Inspector Morse, Foyle’s War, and Channel 4’s Humans. The exterior of the former prison was used in the TV series Porridge.
This Grade I-listed house and park near Welwyn Garden City has been used for films including The Queen, Night of the Demon, Pride and Prejudice and Johnny English Reborn. The property has also appeared in EastEnders and Agatha Christie’s Poirot.