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Wandering around the small screen – TV locations in the UK

August 1, 2013
by Laura Canning | guides

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 . It’s been a (mostly) scorchio summer too, pushing up bookings for last-minute British breaks as peeps realise there’s plenty to do in Blighty. Smart.

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 country house Highclere Castle, used for exterior shots of Downton, is booked out for the rest of 2013 (shakes fist), but Downton fans can 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.

The Downton pad, Highclere Castle. Pic by JB + UK_Planet. Small screen stays: Bampton is what travel agents call a ‘bustling’ village: there’s loads going on all year including an opera society, mummers, an art gallery, Morris dancers and events such as fairs, markets and, um, the Bampton Shirt Race. Stay five miles away at the award-winning and five-star Lincoln Farm Park from £19.30.


Olivia Colman and David Tennant! Woot, we thought, and this was even before finding out that the series was set around Dorset ’s West Bay and the gorge Jurassic Coast. 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. Full details of the Broadchurch Trail here [pdf].

Small screen stays : West Bay is a couple of miles from Bridport, where there are pitches at Graston Copse Holiday Park from £15, or caravans for hire at Golden Cap Holiday Park from £390 for a week, sleeping up to six.

Doctor Who

TARDIS. Not yet on campsites. More David! (Apparently some individual called ‘Matt Smith’ is now the Doctor, but we say pffft to that and continue to hope that David will be back when the Doctor regenerates. Rumours of Malcolm Tucker are so far unconfirmed, although we’re tempted to allow this simply for the 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 the Eleventh Doctor among the Daleks and weeping angels (eek) and to see sets from Who spinoff Torchwood.

Small screen stays : Happy Jakes Touring Park is 15 miles from Cardiff and has the added advantage of being in Barry, Glamorgan , where you can also go on a Gavin and Stacey tour. That’s tidy, that is. Pitches with optional electric start from £14.

Alan Partridge

A-ha! Norwich has been very popular lately, as the Alan Partridge film Alpha Papa had its premiere in the city in July before motoring southwards (in bare feet, no doubt) to Leicester Square. We salute you, Alan. A walking tour of Norwich featuring some of Alan’s favourite places starts on 9 August – sadly, the mobile home he lived in with Sonja is not included. Until then, time to bunker down, watch every TV episode of Alan you can get your paws on and design your tour of Norfolk based on last year’s Welcome to the Places of My Life . All genius.

Small screen stays : Even Alan might like the bell tents at Whitlingham Broad Campsite on the edge of Norwich, available from £65 for up to six people. The site also has a shepherd’s hut from £70 and grass tent pitches from £13.

One hellhound. Sherlock

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 . 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. Within five miles there are camping pods at Langstone Manor Holiday Park from £47 and pitches from £14, or stay in a valley bell tent or shepherd’s hut from £45 – 65 at Dartmoor Shepherds Huts – both sites accept dogs…

More gogglebox locations:

Emmerdale – tours around West Yorkshire and to the original Woolpack

Doc Martin walk [pdf] – 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 .

Any favourite TV locations we’ve missed out? Let us know below.

All credited photos used under Creative Commons Licence.