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Wandering around the small screen – TV locations in the UK

August 1, 2013
by Laura Canning | guides

A-ha! Britain's best DJ. Pic by Benabomb. Sensible folk have been recognising for some time that this land is the place to be for holidays.

There are all sorts of reasons for this, we’ve pointed out many times – people argue more abroad, you don’t have to stand in the airport in your socks and with your beltless jeans falling down if you’re going to Devon for the week, and you won’t find an ancient and haunted smugglers’ inn in Miami.

And now goggleboxers have cleverly got in on the act, with a new trend identified by VisitEngland as ‘set-jetting’: visiting TV and film sets around the land.

We’ve already covered our favourite film locations in Britain, with a too-slim bonus paragraph on the small screen, but as we’re square-eyed sorts we thought we’d take a look at our top TV locations too. Break out the box sets, TV addicts.

Downton Abbey

I say. Good old Downton Abbey has been a spiffingly popular hit for ITV since it first broadcast the antics of the Crawley family in 2010, and is now the most successful British costume drama since Brideshead Revisited in the early 80s (we are of course too young to fully remember the latter, but have vague memories of a teddy bear called Aloysius).

The famous Abbey exterior is actually Highclere Castle near Reading, where we great unwashed can go on a Downton Abbey tour – tickets for the 2015 Christmas Fair are, alas, already sold out (shakes fist). 

Downton fans can also take a dander around Bampton in Oxfordshire, used to film outdoor scenes; Greys Court, also in Oxfordshire and used as Downton Place; and Lincoln Castle, Lincolnshire, where poor old Bates was unjustly jailed in series three.

Small screen stays

Campsites in Oxfordshire

Campsites in Lincolnshire

The Downton Abbey pad, Highclere Castle. Pic by JB + UK_Planet.


Olivia Colman and David Tennant! Woot, we thought, and this was even before finding out that this spine-chilling series was set around Dorset’s West Bay and the gorge Jurassic Coast.

It's now two series in and still shooting sumptious Dorset scenery in its lingering camera pans: locations used were Harbour Cliff Bay, where the body of murder victim Danny was found; West Cliff, with its views across the bay included in many shots; and The Folly at West Quay, transformed into the Broadchurch police station.

Pad along the Broadchurch Trail to take a look yourself; details here [pdf].

Small screen stays

Campsites in Bridport

Campsites in Dorset

Doctor Who

Those who were watching the first series of Broadchurch largely to admire (cough) one David Tennant would have very much enjoyed Doctor Who at the time(lord) too. 

(Mr T was replaced by one Matt Smith, who then morphed into an unsweary Malcolm Tucker, something we allowed even although it meant no Return of David as it led to this timely headline.)

Course, it’s a bit difficult to visit Doctor Who locations on alien planets or in the past, but Earth-based Whovians can shuttle along to the BBC Drama Centre in Cardiff for the Doctor Who Experience, to meet Doctors among Daleks and weeping angels (eek), see all sorts of props and visit Doctor Who filming locations around Cardiff Bay. 

Small screen stays

TARDIS. Not yet on campsites. Campsites in Cardiff

Campsites in Glamorgan

Alan Partridge

A-ha! Everyone's favourite disc jockey hails from Norfolk's Norwich, a city he delightfully introduced us to in Welcome to the Places of My Life, and where the film Alpha Papa had its premiere in 2013 before Alan motored south to Leicester Square (in bare feet, no doubt). 

Alan is of course also know in telly land for his extended stay in a static caravan, although his trysts there with girlfriend Sonja are something we're not going to consider. Back of the net.

Small screen stays

Campsites in Norwich

Campsites in Norfolk


Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson were dogged in their pursuit of The Hound of the Baskervilles in Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel, and took on a somewhat more modern version in the BBC’s 2012 Sherlock episode The Hounds of Baskerville, part of the BBC's reimagining of Mr Holmes as written by Doctor Who's Steven Moffat. 

The fearsome canine is famous on Dartmoor, where the rock scenes in the BBC episode were filmed at East Tor. Naturally hellhound hunters might also like to view the other Dartmoor locations made famous by the hound: more info here – if you dare…

Small screen stays

Conan Doyle started The Hound of the Baskervilles at Dartmoor’s Duchy Hotel, now the National Park Visitor Centre Princetown with info on the history of the moor. Campsites within ten miles are here – some accept dogs...

More gogglebox locations


Tours around the Yorkshire Dales and to the original Woolpack

Doc Martin

Walk around Port Isaac, Cornwall

Only Fools and Horses/Mr Bean/Top Gear

Del Boy’s three-wheeled van, Mr Bean’s Mini and The World of Top Gear all to be seen at Beaulieu National Motor Museum in the New Forest

And just so you never miss your favourite show, we bring you sites with a TV room.

First published August 2013; updated November 2015.