There are plenty of reasons to vacation in Hertfordshire, from market towns to magnificent estates to ancient heathlands and wide open spaces. If you are a film buff, though, we would like to suggest another reason: the movies! There are two major film studios here, and this appealing location has been frequented by film crews for many years, so when you visit, you are sure to notice a variety of settings that look familiar to you in some way. Here are eight of the best Hertfordshire film locations to visit, boasting credits in a variety of movies and shows from The Crown to Bridgerton to Harry Potter to Star Wars.
1. Warner Bros Studios:
About a 20 minute train ride from London, the Warner Bros Studios Leavesden is a studio compound that used to be an aircraft factory and airfield called Leavesden Aerodrome. It was the centre of British Air Craft production during World War 2, but it changed hands several times and was abandoned by the early 1990s. In 1994, it found new life as a film studio, for the making of Goldeneye. Several other films followed, including Sleepy Hollow and the first Star Wars prequel, but the studio may be best known for its association with the Harry Potter franchise. All eight of the Harry Potter films were filmed here, from the castle to Diagon Alley, the Dudley's house, and much more. In March of 2012 the studio opened The Making of Harry Potter tour, offering visitors the opportunity to experience two soundstages and a backlot with original sets, animatronic creatures, special effects, and interactive activities. The tour is a little expensive, but there is another site in Hertfordshire that you can visit for free: Ashridge Wood, where the Quidditch World Cup was filmed.
2. Hatfield House:
Also known as the Royal Palace of Hatfield, home to the children of King Henry VIII, this 400 year Jacobean mansion is the home of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury. It is also a draw for tourists during the summer, boasting 40 acres of gardens and parks to explore, not to mention five miles of woodland trails and a deer park. Inside its Marble Hall hangs the famous Elizabeth I Rainbow Portrait, perhaps the most colourful and iconic Tudor portrait. It is no surprise that this gorgeous estate, with its rich history, picture perfect look, and tranquil surroundings, is also a movie star. Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The King’s Speech, Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Shakespeare in Love were all filmed in Hatfield Park, and that is just the beginning of the list. You have seen this magnificent home in Tomb Raider, The Favourite, The Crown, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, and so many more productions that we cannot list them all here, and you will just have to come and see for yourself. Once you have spent the day checking out film locations, if you are ready to just kick back and watch a movie, head to the Hatfield Galleria, where you can watch a Hollywood blockbuster at the multi-screen cinema.
3. Ashridge House: Once a royal residence, housing King Henry VIII and Princess Elizabeth I, this neo-gothic country house, set in 190 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, has served as the perfect backdrop for a wide variety of productions. From movies to television shows to music videos, this gorgeous and imposing property has played host to just about every type of production you can imagine. The impressive list includes Killing Eve, Beauty and the Beast, Les Misérables, Stardust, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Children of Men, Enola Holmes, Maleficent, The Dirty Dozen, Gulliver’s Travels, First Knight, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Madame Bovary, Amazing Grace, Birthday Girl, and Ivanhoe, just to name a few. Want to star in your own magical production on this stunning estate? Ashridge House also serves as a wedding venue.
4. Knebworth House: Victorian writer and politician Edward Bulwer-Lytton may have penned his famous line “It was a dark and stormy night” while living in Knebworth House, and that makes sense. Its gothic façade features turrets and gargoyles, making it as mysterious and fanciful as it is imposing and impressive. No wonder filmmakers love this romantic and striking property, with its interior that can serve as a backdrop for many different eras and exterior that features parkland, woodland, lakes, cottages, farms, and extensive gardens. From Wayne Manor to Balmoral, the outside of this home has stood in for many different locations, and the list of movies and television shows featuring this property include Paddington, The Crown, Batman, Nanny McPhee, Victoria & Abdul, The Crown, Pennyworth, and much more.
5. Leavesden Studios:
The Harry Potter series is not the only boast of this bustling studio. Blockbusters such as 2017’s Wonder Woman, 2016’s Jason Bourne, 2017’s Justice League, 2019’s Spider-Man Far from Home, and Sherlock Holmes 1 and 2 (from 2009 and 2011) were also filmed here. You cannot visit the sound stages from these productions, but the studios do offer event, meeting, and conference space for hire in the Leavesden Studios compound.
6. Letchworth Garden City:
This town has an interesting history as the first garden city in Britain. Ebenezer Howard, appalled at the slums created by the industrial revolution, planned Letchworth Garden City to be a fusion of town and country. Designed to prioritize people over industry, Letchworth has Britain’s first roundabout, gorgeous arts and crafts homes, woods nearly in the centre of town, wide streets devoted to pedestrians instead of vehicles, and factories like the Spirella Company, which featured a library, ballroom, and gymnasium for workers. It its early days, Letchworth was a dry town, which makes it pretty amusing that The World’s End, a sci-fi romp following five childhood friends retracing a previously failed pub crawl. The movie is funny but clever, incorporating the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous into its script. Zombie Diaries is another amusing choice of movie to film in this idyllic location.
7. Brocket Hall: A stately 18th century residence and the former home of Prime Ministers Lord Melbourne and Lord Palmerston, this lavish Georgian estate is a natural for filming period pieces like Pride and Prejudice and The Queen. A grand Georgian Ballroom, Morning and Drawing Rooms, and Library with original Chippendale bookcases make it perfect for this kind of production, but those are far from the only types of films that have used this location. It has been the location for productions as diverse as Spiderman: Far from Home, Rocketman, Wild Bill, Johnny English, East Enders, Miss Marple, Willow, Highlander, and Footballers Wives, and today it hosts a number of other events as well as films. Featuring 30 bedrooms, an upscale restaurant, private golf courses, and multiple helicopter landing pads, set within 543 acres of gorgeous countryside, it is the perfect location not only for filming but also for getting married, hosting an event, or just visiting. Imagine staying in such elegant surroundings, where you can gaze up at the hand-painted ceilings and gorgeous chandeliers under which Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett had their first dance. Sigh.
8. Elstree Studios: To be fair, this is not a studio you can tour. It is worth mentioning, though, since this is where Star Wars was born and countless blockbusters have been filmed, including Indiana Jones. In fact, this studio has been in operation for nearly a century, and films like Madame Pompadour, Poppies of Flanders, Moulin Rouge, and An Arabian Knight were all made here in the late 1920s. Since then, literally thousands of films have been made at Elstree Studio, and in more recent decades, it has been the site of productions that include Paddington, The Danish Girl, Strictly Come Dancing, X-Men First Class, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Outlaw King, Grimsby, Enigma, Gangs of London, and much, much more. You may not be able to visit it as a tourist, but if you are a filmmaker, it is the place to be.
When you are ready to explore the locations of some of your favourite films, make our luxury accommodations in Hertfordshire your base of operation. No matter where you roam in the UK, Together Travel Co. is here to bring your holiday dreams to life. All across the UK, we have luxurious, comfortable, unique properties located wherever you want to be. Find out how we can make your trip amazing by contacting our expert concierge team at +44(0)1625 416430 or emailing us for more information.