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Film locations: tour of movie locations in the UK

February 2, 2012
by Laura Canning | destinations | guides

Dining hall at Christ Church, Oxford - inspiration for Hogwarts (courtesy nathanaels) Since we did a camping in books blog a while back, we thought it was time to take a look at a film trail around Britain, where you can be all trainspotting-like and take a look at some spots used for films. Naturally you’ll be quoting your favourite lines from the films as well as you stride around pretending to be a wizard. There’s a good list here to keep you going for months, but in the meantime here are a few to be getting on with:

Harry Potter : If you’re a fan, probably the most Potteresque place in Britain is Alnwick Castle , used as the setting for Hogwarts in the first two films. The castle’s team makes the most of the connection, with Hogwartian parties as well as broomstick training and Battleaxe to Broomstick tours.

Stay in Alnwick in Betty the cosy glamping van at BlueBell at Birdsong Garden , or in one of our parks near Alnwick with camping pods , tourer and tent pitches. There are several more campsites and parks in Northumberland if you want to explore further afield, such as the five-star facilities at Haggerston Castle Holiday Park at Berwick-on-Tweed near the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, or Border Forest Caravan Park with direct access to Kielder Forest and the Pennine Way.

If you’re on a Potter quest, the quads at Christ Church College in Oxford were used for outdoor shots in the films, while the North Yorkshire village of Goathland near Scarborough was the setting for Hogsmeade in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. We have holiday parks in Scarborough to book, or you could extend your stay to one of our sites in North Yorkshire .

Withnail and I : 'We’ve gone on holiday by mistake' has probably been the lament of many of us at some point, although if Withnail had known how to rough it properly he might have been all right. The best parts of the film are the scenes outside London, when the hapless pair go north to Cumbria to shoot fish and almost get gored by a bull before being rescued by an amorous Uncle Monty. If you fancy lurching in their footsteps, we have several more comfortable options in camping pods rather than the pair's freezing farmhouse: The Quiet Site and Hillcroft , both at Penrith , or Pound Farm in Kendal and Hawkshead Youth Hostel in Hawkshead.

Chariots of Fire : The two-mile stretch of beach at West Sands, St Andrews & Fife is famous for its use in the opening scenes of this epic – see if you can gallop along it at a chariot's pace. West Sands is a great spot for other activities as well as film geekery – the beach is Blue Flag accredited, there’s a world famous golf course and the north end is where you can settle down for some birdwatching. Grand Eagles is at nearby Auchterarder and futher afield in Perthshire there are wigwams, tipis and a yurt at Loch Tay Highland Lodges in Aberfeldy.

Trainspotting : Yes, yes, almost all the film is set in Edinburgh or London, with occasional forays into carpets and A&E wards, but there are a few scenic moments when Renton and his friends, post-heroin, decide to take in a quieter side of Scotland and bring some cans to the nearby moors. This was filmed at Corrour on Rannoch Moor, a National Heritage site to the west of Loch Rannoch. Tummel Valley Holiday Park is six miles away in the Tay Forest Park , with a sauna, kids' clubs and a bar and restaurant on site.

The small screen : I’m also including sets for TV series here, mostly because I recently found out that Game of Thrones was filmed in Belfast and Derry, just as I was leaving Northern Ireland, for which I think the correct term is 'gutted'. If you’re an Agatha Christie fan – and if not, why not? – you can take a trip to Burgh Island, Christie’s favourite getaway and the scene of two of her Poirot books. It was also where the Poirot story Evil Under the Sun was adapted for TV, so you can skulk around muttering in a bad Belgian accent about leetle grey cells while twirling your elaborate moustache. (This works especially well for women.) We have several parks near the island among dozens in Devon – try the quiet Mounts Farm Touring Park for a spot of fishing or surfing after your sleuthing, or the green site Parkland Caravan and Camping Site , both at Kingsbridge.

There’s also Portmeirion, where The Prisoner was filmed and where you can book a static caravan at Llwyn Ffynnon Caravan Park or an electric pitch at the family Hafan Y Mor Holiday Park , both in nearby Pwllheli; Lacock in Wiltshire where Cranford and Pride and Prejudice were both filmed, or, if you're a Gavin and Stacey fan, pitching up at Barry's Happy Jakes Touring Park or in a lakeside pod at Cefn Mably Lakes twelve miles away.

That should be enough to be getting on with, but if you have any favourite films or know any good sets just add them below. Action!

Updated June 2013