Film or TV

Places in Britain used as film or TV locations, or associated with TV programmes or films.

A day at Castle Howard

Castle Howard, Yorkshire, south view

Yorkshire’s Castle Howard has no dastardly legends to keep you awake at night; there is no obvious sign of blood seeping out of its mellow stonework.  It sits, in innocent splendour, a stately home in English Baroque and Palladian style, created for the vanity of its owners, a palatial celebrity famous for – well, being […]

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From garden to plate – a helping of Peter Rabbit

The Tale of Peter Rabbit, English Lake District

English literature resonates with killer opening lines.  Some have become embedded in our culture to the extent that they help define the people we are: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” “Last night I dreamt I went to

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Atlantic Bridge

Atlantic Bridge, Bridge over the Atlantic, Clachan Bridge, Seil, Argyll

This is the Bridge over the Atlantic, also known as the Atlantic Bridge; I daresay someone’s referred to it as Atlantic Crossing too. You’ll find it in Argyll, Scotland, about 10 miles south of Oban. Atlantic Bridge’s real name is Clachan Bridge and it joins the Hebridean island of Seil with the mainland, spanning a

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Secrets of the Middle Temple

Lamb and Flag, paschal lamb, Agnus Dei, Lamb of God, Middle Temple, Knights Templar

Some years ago, I was fortunate to be invited to do some work for the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in London.  The days I spent there were almost like being in a time capsule; all around were ghostly whispers from our past, of crusader knights, Magna Carta, the Wars of the Roses, the

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Is Eilean Donan Castle a fake?

A moody Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

Eilean Donan Castle, ubiquitous star of movies, calendars, biscuit tins and tea-towels, is pretty much a 20th-century creation.  Rescued from almost total ruin, it says something for its rebuild, and the success of Scottish tourism, that it is not only one of the most photographed and visited castles in Scotland, but also one of the

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In which we go in search of Pooh, and find A Little Something

Ashdown Forest, Winnie-the-Pooh

When I first saw this heading, I thought to myself, like you probably did, “I don’t think I want to look for Pooh; it sounds as though it could be rather unpleasant.” Then a growly voice from the past said, rather dolefully, “I suppose you mean me? The best bear in all the world.  Anyway,

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Postman Pat’s post office

Postman Pat's post office, Kendal, Cumbria

Kendal, nestling conveniently on the edge of the English Lake District, is a famous town.  This, after all, is the place where mint cake was discovered, Katherine Parr had a castle and Alfred Wainwright was Borough Treasurer; but these nuggets of distinction pale into insignificance when you realise that Postman Pat was born there.  Indeed,

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Queen Victoria’s Osborne House

Osborne House, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's home on the Isle of Wight

Royal Osborne House is unlike most palaces and stately homes you will ever visit. There is no lengthy history, no convoluted ownership; Osborne House was the creation of Queen Victoria and her beloved husband the Prince Consort, Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.  They designed it as their personal seaside retreat and family home on the

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National Wallace Monument

National Wallace Monument

Beyond Scotland, ex-pat Scots and a few informed corners of Britain as a whole, not many people would have heard of William Wallace before the 1995 film, Braveheart.  The American, Mel Gibson, directed and starred in the movie, playing the downtrodden, noble, medieval Scottish hero battling the evil English, led by Patrick McGoohan – who

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Aslan and Gandalf go for a pint

Eagle and Child, bar, Oxford

How often do you walk into a pub mentally dwelling on things like wizards and talking lions?  Be honest now.  If you need help with this, try stepping over the threshold of Oxford’s Eagle and Child, because it was a favourite watering-hole of close friends JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. Disappointingly, there’s nothing obviously magical

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London’s Church of the Templars

Effigy, Gilbert Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke, Temple Church

Almost hidden, tucked away from the jarring bustle of London just off the Strand, you may stumble upon a church that was built by the Knights Templar.  Like all Templar churches, it is round – modelled on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, traditional site of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.  The Order

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Barrington Court: bring on the empty mansion

Barrington Court, Tudor house, National Trust, visit, Somerset

From the moment we stepped into its kitchen garden, everything about Barrington Court made me want to linger. But don’t visit to savour the great moments that took place at this beguiling Somerset estate, because, so far as I know, none did. Nor should you go to take a peek at the sumptuous interiors and

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The train will arrive in a heartbeat

North York Moors Railway locomotive at Goathland

I was on a boys’ weekend in Whitby. You know, don’t you, that ‘boys’ in this context actually means ‘grown men’. In fact, it would be more accurate to say ‘mature men who should know better’. But we’ll settle with ‘boys’; it’s a comforting euphemism. It’s just occurred to me that ‘euphemism’ can be a

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Tracking down Britain’s secret SOE

Arisaig, Lochaber, SOE

The tiny village of Arisaig, nestling on an inlet along the beautiful Morar peninsula, has a wonderful little museum.  The Land, Sea and Islands Visitor Centre tells visitors all about the local flora and fauna in this relatively remote part of West Scotland. But it also includes a fascinating section on one of Britain’s clandestine

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