Iconic TV and film sites in Northumberland

Tuesday 06/06/2017
Iconic TV and film sites in Northumberland


Magical castles, barely-trodden beaches, staggering landscapes and wonderful wildlife… it’s no wonder Northumberland has a starring role in world-famous films and award-winning TV series.

Haven’t heard? That’s where we come in. Check out this handy guide of iconic filming locations in Northumberland and get your Northumberland fix from home. Pull on your PJs, grab your favourite snacks, huddle up on the sofa and pop one of the following films or series on the tele.

Harry Potter

 
 
 
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Alnwick Castle, otherwise known as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, has a starring role in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Most famously, Alnwick Castle is the spellbinding backdrop for Harry and the gang’s first Flying Lesson, when poor Neville Longbottom goes off-piste on his broomstick and Harry flies through the grounds to catch Neville’s ‘Remembrall’. When you visit Alnwick Castle, you can glimpse witches and wizards sweeping the corridors in their cloaks and have a broomstick lesson on the very spot where Harry and friends had theirs. If you can’t visit, get your Alnwick Castle fix from your front room and see it on your TV screen.

Vera

 
 
 
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One to binge-watch, ITV’s most-watched drama Vera takes full advantage of the county’s jaw-dropping landscapes. If you haven’t seen it, Vera is the protagonist of a British crime drama and, while she delves into intense and complex cases, Northumberland is her staggering side-kick. Spotted in the cobbled village of Blanchland, fishing villages Alnmouth and Amble, by breath-taking Kielder Dam and on the rocky outcrops of The Farne Islands, Vera showcases Northumberland at its finest. The series’ filming locations cover the whole of the North East (because there’s no need for a green screen when you’ve got the North East as your backdrop).

Game of Thrones

 
 
 
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OK, we have to admit that Game of Thrones wasn’t actually filmed in Northumberland. However, George R. R. Martin confirmed that Hadrian’s Wall inspired his own, giant ice wall (that is not to suggest that Wildlings and White Walkers are based on Northumbrians and Scots…). This is enough of a claim to fame for us, and if you know anything about Hadrian’s Wall then it is difficult to miss the undeniable parallels between the two when reading the saga or watching the TV series. If you don’t know much about Hadrian’s Wall, it is 73 miles long, was built under the orders of Emperor Hadrian in AD122 and stretches across the UK. Northumberland holds the longest stretch of it and it rises and plunges across some of the county’s incredible landscapes.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

 
 
 
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A throwback to the early 90s, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves took advantage of more than one of Northumberland’s striking natural settings. Aside from its unusual and striking appearance, Sycamore Gap’s cameo in Robin Hood is probably the reason that it’s one of the most photographed trees in the country. If you’ve never seen it, it is a dip in the county’s National Park landscape, with a dominant sycamore tree resting at its base, and Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman battled against villainous knights beside it. The cast and crew also selected Alnwick Castle as their scenery, as The Bishop of Hereford falls from the window of the castle’s tower here.

Downton Abbey

 
 
 
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Downton Abbey, with its opulent sets, roaring fireplaces and flickering candles in the background of almost every scene, is the quintessentially British series that is perfect to watch on a rainy day. But did you know that Northumberland had a part to play in it? Alnwick Castle was cast as the magnificent Brancaster Castle in Downton Abbey’s 2015 and 2016 Christmas specials, when the Crawley family are invited to stay and scandals, secrets and budding romances play out.

Transformers: The Last Knight

 
 
 
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Pretty used to the big screen, the camera loves Alnwick Castle, and it made yet another appearance in the fantastical Transformers movie, The Last Knight. Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock and Anthony Hopkins stand before the magnificent fortification, and rumour has it that hundreds of plastic daffodils were planted in order to replicate the hosts of daffodils that grace the castle grounds in spring. Filming then moved to Bamburgh Beach, where Northumberland’s sweeping coastline and the staggering view of Bamburgh Castle can be seen in the background.

The Black Adder

 
 
 
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The hilarious, much-loved pseudohistorical British sitcom of the 80s selected Alnwick Castle as the background for its first series’ title screen. Now known as Blackadder, the series was actually named ‘The Black Adder’ before it was later changed, and saw Rowan Atkinson riding on horseback through the snow-covered grounds of Alnwick Castle.

 

Places in this article

Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle
NE66 1NG

Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in the UK; home to the Percy family for over 700 years and film location for Downton Abbey and Harry Potter's Hogwarts. 

Cafe
Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort - Visitor Centre
NE47 6NN

At Hadrian’s Wall, it’s about making new discoveries and there’s plenty to see on your visit to this World Heritage Site - so the grab-and-go approach is highly recommended when it comes to food.

Bambugh Castle
Bamburgh Castle
NE69 7DF

Spanning nine acres of land on its rocky plateau high above the Northumberland coastline, Bamburgh is one of the largest inhabited castles in the entire country. Explore 14 public areas and learn more about the castle and its inhabitants from over 3,000 items on display, including arms, armour, glass, china, furniture and artwork. Experience the sights, stories and atmosphere of over 2,000 years of exhilarating history.

 

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