10 famous film locations in Somerset

PUBLISHED: 10:02 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 18:12 10 September 2020

Vicars Close, Wells (c) chris_mueller / Thinkstock

Vicars Close, Wells (c) chris_mueller / Thinkstock

Christian Mueller

Boasting iconic landmarks, dramatic landscapes and idyllic scenery, it’s no surprise that Somerset has played a starring role in a variety of films. We pick 10 of the county’s famous film locations you might like to explore

1. The Libertine (2004), Montacute House

Starring Johnny Depp, this film tells the dark and twisted autobiographical tale of the drunkard, the Second Early Rochester. Montacute House, owned by The National Trust, is one of Somerset’s prized Elizabethan stately homes surrounded by beautiful gardens. In the 17th century, it reached a highly acclaimed fashionable status, and the stunning interiors and exteriors make it the perfect setting for this seductive and thrilling film.

2. Never Let Me Go (2011), Clevedon Pier, Clevedon

Never Let Me Go is a heart-breaking love story with the plot centring around three young adults who have been brainwashed to believe in a certain reality. In one of the scenes from the film, the characters get to experience a rare day out, filmed on Clevedon Pier. The delightfully quaint, Victorian pier was an ideal location for the heart-warming scene to be shot.

3. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), Brean Down

Based on historical events in the 16th century Elizabeth: The Golden Age tells the story of Queen Elizabeth I facing the Spanish Armada. Brean is steeped in history; with a pagan shrine dating back to pre-Roman period and its role in World War Two as a fort to defend access into Bristol. Due to its turbulent history, Brean was the perfect place to film the tribulations Queen Elizabeth I faced in the late 1500s.

4. The Duchess (2008), The Royal Crescent, Bath

The Duchess is a tragic but inspirational account of the life of Georgiana Spencer, the Duchess of Devonshire, played by Keira Knightley. As a fashion icon and admired by many, the stunning architecture and lavish styling of The Royal Crescent in Bath was an ideal setting for The Duchess’ appearances at popular dances.

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5. Jack The Giant Slayer (2013), The Gorge, Cheddar

Somerset’s iconic Cheddar Gorge was the setting for the 2013 modern adaption of the classic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. The three miles of spectacular landscape, and Britain’s biggest gorge, was the home of the malicious giant in Jack The Giant Slayer.

6. Hot Fuzz (2007), Wells

England’s smallest city was transformed into the fictional town of Sandford for the Simon Pegg and Nick Frost action-comedy hit blockbuster Hot Fuzz in 2007. From Bishops Palace, a beautiful moated palace with 14 acres of gardens, to the charming Market Place high street, there was barely a section of the city that didn’t star in the film. For fans of the film, guided tours of the city are available to book for a first-hand look at where the scenes took place.

7. Les Misérables (2012), Pulteney Bridge, Bath

The iconic scene in the musical drama had to have an equally breath-taking location for Inspector Javert’s (Russell Crowe) dramatic suicide. Bath’s Pulteney Bridge seemed the ideal replacement for the River Seine, with the location manager for the film, Pat Karam, describing the weir at Pulteney Bridge as ‘fantastically cinematic.’

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8. The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016), Wells Cathedral

Starring Hollywood royalty Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, this dark and intense fairy tale used the English allure of Wells Cathedral to enrich the drama of the scenes. Wells Cathedral is the earliest English Cathedral to be built in the gothic style and the mesmerising scissor arches of its interior were set to be the perfect scenery for this ethereal fantasy. When visiting the city, be sure to admire the striking coloured glass as Wells Cathedral has one of the most substantial collections of medieval stained glass in England.

9. Pandaemonium (2001), Quantock Hills

This historical biography explores the friendship between the 19th century poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth who both lived in Somerset. The rolling, patchwork heathlands of the Quantock Hills created the perfect location for Pandaemonium with scenes featuring spectacular views across the Bristol Channel, Exmoor and Wales.

10. The Remains of the Day (1993), Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare

Based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s award-winning novel, Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson star in this drama set in 1950s post war Britain. The pair meet in Weston-Super-Mare, and at one point take a seat on the Grand Pier. After sadly burning down in 2008, the Pier is noticeably different to the one that provides the setting for the scene in The Remains of the Day. For those taking a trip to Weston-Super-Mare, the Grand Pier offers stunning views of the surrounding area, inspiring photo opportunities and plenty to keep little ones entertained.

Want to discover a little more about filming in Somerset? Read about the TV shows filmed in the county.

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