From James Bond HQ to Harry Potter train - our guide to UK TV and film locations

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Dark hedges from Game of Thrones are in Northern Ireland (Image: Getty Images)
Dark hedges from Game of Thrones are in Northern Ireland (Image: Getty Images)

If you’ve ever gone past a spot that gives you deja vu, it may be because the UK is so full of iconic movie and TV show locations. New book On Location by Peter Naldrett (Bloomsbury, £20) is a guide aimed at TV and film addicts wanting to visit them. Here are eight of the finest...

JAMES BOND

MI6’s HQ, on the Thames at Vauxhall, was built in the mid-1990s so only Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig films have featured it. In The World is Not Enough, Bond (Brosnan, 1999) an explosion leaves a hole in the wall. In Skyfall, (Craig, 2012) M (Judi Dench) and Tanner (Rory Kinnear) are speeding back to MI6 in their car when they are, luckily, held up by a police roadblock.

From James Bond HQ to Harry Potter train - our guide to UK TV and film locations rriddqixxiqezinvMI6 blows up in Skyfall (DAILY MIRROR)

A bomb put in M’s desk wrecks the building, and it has not been restored by the time Spectre (Craig, 2015) comes along. In Spectre, the building is totally destroyed in a series of explosions triggered by Blofeld (Christoph Waltz). The HQ collapses and it’s touch and go whether Bond can rescue Madeleine (Léa Seydoux).

GAVIN AND STACEY

The most important location for the show was Trinity Street. This steep row of terraced houses is home to Gwen (Melanie Walters) and Uncle Bryn (Rob Brydon). Many external shots were filmed here. Scenes in Gwen’s house were also filmed behind the Trinity Street door.

From James Bond HQ to Harry Potter train - our guide to UK TV and film locationsTrinity Street (Richard Williams)

The address to look out for is No47, where a sign in the window says that well-behaved fans of the TV series are welcome to grab a picture. Uncle Bryn’s house sits just across the road. The co-operation of the whole street was needed to accommodate the comings and goings of the cast and crew. Roads had to be shut and several houses were trimmed up for the Christmas special, to make sure there could be a long shot of the street at night with fairy lights turned on in front windows.

EastEnders' Jake Wood's snap of son has fans pointing out the pair's likenessEastEnders' Jake Wood's snap of son has fans pointing out the pair's likeness

HARRY POTTER

When Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) are blocked from getting to platform nine and three-quarters at King’s Cross station, their arrival at Hogwarts for their second year is in jeopardy. Thankfully, Ron has access to his dad’s flying Ford Anglia, which is how the pair get to the wizarding school in the opening of 2002’s The Chamber of Secrets.

From James Bond HQ to Harry Potter train - our guide to UK TV and film locationsGlenfinnan viaduct (Getty Images/Westend61)

They fly above glens and lochs, before hovering over the beautiful Glenfinnan Viaduct. When the Hogwarts Express catches up with them and whistles a warning, the car spins out of control. Harry dangles from an open door as it lurches under the viaduct. The viaduct is also seen in Harry Potter films Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) and Goblet of Fire (2005).

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS

Defining the skyline of Liverpool and providing one of the most recognisable cityscapes in England, the trio of buildings known as the Three Graces have often played host to Hollywood royalty. This is not always because directors want to set their productions on Merseyside.

These impressive structures have an air of New York about them – and filming in Liverpool is cheaper than the Big Apple. It can also be easier to get permission as Liverpool has a dedicated team enabling and encouraging filming. The 2016 film Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep as the American socialite alongside Hugh Grant, made use of the Royal Liver Building (pictured), Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool.

From James Bond HQ to Harry Potter train - our guide to UK TV and film locationsLiverpool's Three Graces (Liverpool Echo)
From James Bond HQ to Harry Potter train - our guide to UK TV and film locationsStoney Middleton in scene from Mission: Impossible 7 (Charlotte Graham/REX/Shutterstock)

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway stars in two films released this year. They are Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Tom Cruise came to Yorkshire in the summer of 2021 to film the seventh film in the Mission: Impossible series.

After his character Ethan Hunt parachutes into it, the train falls from a bridge and plunges into the valley below. The final scene of the train was filmed further south in the Peak District, where a disused quarry near Eyam, Derbyshire, had a short line and partial bridge built for the stunt. A crowd of locals and Mission: Impossible fans gathered to see the replica train crash.

WONKA

Away from the busier Oxford streets, down a side alley and into Radcliffe Square, there is a place that feels thrown back in time. There are no modern buildings, just cobbled streets, ornate railings, bicycles and grand, elegant university structures.

From James Bond HQ to Harry Potter train - our guide to UK TV and film locationsRadcliffe Camera on Oxford (Getty Images)

The most eye-catching is the one in the centre of the square, the Radcliffe Camera. It’s a library built for scientific subjects, using the legacy of John Radcliffe, in the 1730s and 40s. Part of the Bodleian Library, this separate collection of books is linked to the main building by a tunnel.

Just before Christmas 2021, the Radcliffe Camera was lit up as filming started on Wonka, starring Timothée Chalamet as the young chocolatier. Crews had prepared for the scene for a whole week before the actors even appeared. The confectionery-based movie also features scenes filmed at Hertford College in the city.

GENTLEMAN JACK

With a wealth of well-preserved historic buildings, York can easily transport you to a different time, which is why it is so often chosen by historical dramas. One such show, Gentleman Jack, the true story of Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) has filmed at several locations there.

Bird charity banned from Twitter for repeatedly posting woodcock photosBird charity banned from Twitter for repeatedly posting woodcock photos
From James Bond HQ to Harry Potter train - our guide to UK TV and film locationsFairfax House in York (DAILY MIRROR)
From James Bond HQ to Harry Potter train - our guide to UK TV and film locationsSuranne Jones in Gentleman Jack (BBC/Lookout Point/HBO/Aimee Spinks)

One of the buildings to feature was Fairfax House, pictured, a Georgian merchant’s house that now operates as a museum. It was used to portray the London home of Lister’s former lover Vere Cameron (played for the BBC by Jodhi May).

Look out also for Holy Trinity Church on Goodramgate, the place Anne Lister exchanged rings and vows with her lover Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle). There’s a rainbow-framed blue plaque on the wall as you enter the grounds,marking the site’s significance.

GAME OF THRONES

The Kingsroad, the longest and grandest route in Westeros, is really The Dark Hedges in Couinty Antrim, Northern Ireland. The TV road connects Castle Black at the Wall in the North with King’s Landing. The road passes through the Kingdom of the North and goes close to Winterfell.

From James Bond HQ to Harry Potter train - our guide to UK TV and film locationsThe Kingsroad in Westeros, Northern Ireland (Internet Unknown)

It’s often referred to, such as in the first series when Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle) head north to Castle Black. The most distinctive section is where beeches form an arch. In a notable season two scene, Yoren (Francis Magee) is taking a group of recruits to join the Night’s Watch. They head off into the distance beneath the looming branches.

Vikki White

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