What do Indiana Jones, a boy wizard and a much-loved female detective all have in common? They’ve all been filmed in Northumberland. Our breathtaking beaches
, impressive castles
and wide-open spaces mean there are famous filming locations
everywhere you look.
Northumberland is also famous for its wildlife, from comical puffins to elusive wild goats. So there's no surprise that documentary makers flock to this beautiful northeast county. So if you want to follow in the footsteps of film and TV stars, start planning your next break in Northumberland today.
What makes Northumberland so popular for filming?
Could it be the endless unspoilt beaches? The sweeping landscapes? The sense of history and magic in our ruined castles and beautiful villages? Northumberland’s multiple filming locations leave a lasting imprint on the imagination.
And it's easy to see why Northumberland is such a perfect backdrop for anything from Harry Potter to Downton Abbey. This stunning part of the world is a chameleon, as showcased by Robson Greene's Weekend Escapes series.
The show visited Sycamore Gap, familiar from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and now one of the most photographed trees in the UK. And this must-watch series included plenty of other unique locations, highlighting the healing power of natural beauty.
So why do filmmakers flock to Northumberland? The incredible light, vast open skies and sense of timelessness make perfect filming locations. Especially when you're looking to transform a castle into a wizard school or a beach into an alien planet in Alien 3.
But it's not only fantasy and adventure movies that film in Northumberland. The county is also an incredible destination for native wildlife, featuring in Wild Isles on the BBC and other nature documentaries.
Nature lovers will want to follow in the footsteps of David Attenborough and Kate Humble, spotting cute puffins, wild goats and magical dolphins. On sea or land, there are endless experiences to enjoy, from kayaking with seals to spotting rare red squirrels.
Is it any wonder that film and TV crews come back time and again to enjoy the delights of this inspiring county?
Northumberland on TV and the big screen: iconic filming locations
Chances are, if you've recently watched a big-budget blockbuster or a top-rated TV detective show, you've already seen Northumberland on the big screen. Filming locations across the county have stood in for everything from fantasy landscapes to medieval castles without missing a beat.
If you want to experience the magic of filming locations in Northumberland for yourself, here’s where to start.
Alnwick Castle — from Downton to Hogwarts
The Percy family has lived at Alnwick Castle for over 900 years. And the combination of epic history, intriguing drama and authenticity makes this iconic castle such a compelling location. Best of all, you can visit and enjoy the magic for yourself.
Harry Potter fans will instantly recognise the Outer Bailey as the place where Harry and his friends first learn to fly. Alnwick Castle only doubled for Hogwarts in the first two movies. Yet, the filming locations for Harry Potter have left an indelible imprint on our imaginations.
But the boy wizard isn't the only unforgettable character who made Alnwick Castle home. It also stood in for the magnificent Brancaster Castle in the final episode of Downton Abbey, which made spectacular use of the opulent Italianate staterooms.
And film crews have also transformed the Outer Bailey into the fantasy realm of Neverwinter in the latest Dungeons and Dragons movie. Key scenes were also shot at the imposing Lion’s Bridge on the river Aln.
Transformers vs Indiana Jones at Alnwick Castle and Bamburgh Castle
Film crews looking to make action-adventure locations come alive are spoiled for choice in Northumberland.
In 2021 movie fans were spoilt for choice when rival film crews set up at Alnwick and Bamburgh Castles to shoot two blockbusters – Transformers, The Last Knight and the latest Indiana Jones sequel.
Onlookers were amazed to see the spectacular Bamburgh Castle apparently going up in flames. But it was just a stunt, and Harrison Ford took time out from filming for Dial of Destiny for bike rides around the spectacular countryside.
Meanwhile, iconic vehicles like Hot Rod and Bumblebee were parked at Alnwick Castle as the crew planted hundreds of plastic daffodils to replicate the spring festival. Stars like Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Hopkins filmed in locations including the magnificent library, Inner Bailey and the Lion Bridge.
There’s no need for a green screen when you can use such incredible and authentic locations!
Wild Isles — the rugged Northumberland coast
The staggering beauty of the Northumberland coast, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is the perfect place to relax and unwind for a long weekend. But it’s also a haven for native wildlife. So when the BBC’s Wild Isles, narrated by David Attenborough, was scouting for locations, Northumberland was top of the list.
Filming on the ruggedly beautiful Northumberland coast, the series captured the incredible antics of the puffins of the Farne Islands. It’s one of the best places in the UK to watch these adorable birds when they arrive to nest and breed in late spring and early summer. And Wild Isles was there to capture the incredible strategies the puffins have developed to avoid marauding gulls.
Vera visits Hexham
Vera is one of the most popular detectives on TV. Brilliantly played by Brenda Blethyn with her trademark hat and soft-spoken manner, she’s become an iconic character. Fans flock to visit locations across the northeast, including the fairytale village of Blanchland, with its timeless architecture and beautiful Alnmouth on the coast.
A tour of Vera filming locations makes an ideal getaway to recharge your batteries. So why not book a B&B at Amble and solve the clues for a great weekend?
What else has been filmed in Northumberland?
So many films and TV shows have used Northumberland for filming locations it’s hard to keep count. But if you love TV shows like Blackadder and Beowulf or blockbusters like Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, a trip to filming locations across Northumberland will be top of your to-do list.
Explore Northumberland for yourself
Want to walk in the footsteps of film stars and find out the behind-the-scenes gossip? Or simply immerse yourself in outstanding natural landscapes? We make planning your next experience easy, so come and Visit Northumberland with us.