Why Film Lovers Should Flock to the Cotswolds, UK

Puzzlewood | ©Neil Barnwell/Flickr
Colette Earley

With breathtaking views, picturesque towns and beautiful period buildings in spades, it’s easy to see why the Cotswolds has been used as a location for a number of big-screen blockbusters. Here we take a look at 10 of the area’s best spots that took a leading role in some of our favourite films.

Gloucester Cathedral

The incredibly successful Harry Potter films, starring Daniel Radcliffe, demanded a seriously good set, and what place is more magical than Gloucester Cathedral? The richly-vaulted cathedral cloisters were transformed into Hogwarts’ castle, and used particularly for the corridors leading to Gryffindor common room in the first two films in particular, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Interestingly, author J.K. Rowling was also born in Gloucestershire!

Gloucester Cathedral

Whittington Lodge Farm

The beautiful ‘poppy scene’ from 2007’s war-time drama, Atonement, starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, was filmed at Whittington Lodge Farm in the village of Whittington, near Cheltenham in the Cotswolds. The blockbuster, which is known for its captivating cinematography, won several awards, including Best Score at the Oscars. You can stay at the 4-star B&B farmhouse, which has won numerous awards, including a ‘Visit England Rose Award’ in 2015 for service to excellence.

Cornwell Manor

Everyone’s fave festive rom-com, The Holiday, starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black and Jude Law, was partly filmed at Cornwell Manor, in the village of Cornwell, close to Chipping Norton. The scene in question sees Diaz and Law going for a quintessentially English spot of lunch at a manor (Cornwell) after a countryside walk.

Gloucester Docks

Alice Through the Looking Glass, the much-anticipated sequel to Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, was filmed in the historic Gloucester Docks. The film, which boasts an impressive cast including the likes of Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen, shot scenes in the Cotswolds’ location in August 2014, with thousands of onlookers hoping to catch a glimpse. A number of huge ships were brought in to provide a backdrop for the set.

The Docks

Cheltenham Town Hall

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s classic love story of a daring young woman with feminist ideas ahead of her time and the eligible young bachelor who falls for her, was brought to life in Cheltenham Town Hall, Gloucestershire’s largest entertainment venue. Built in 1902 as a concert hall, it features beautiful period décor, Corinthian-style columns, and to this day remains the hub of the area.


The classic snow-filled scenes from the first Bridget Jones film, Bridget Jones’ Diary, were actually shot in Snowshill, a timeless Gloucestershire village. The picturesque village featured a number of times throughout the movie, setting the scene for the idyllic Christmas at Bridget’s family home. A fun fact – the filming took place in July, which meant that the producers had to cover the entire village in fake snow!

Snowshill Cotswolds

Cotswolds’ Farm Park

Cotswolds’ Farm Park is a must-visit destination of the South West, and has acted as the backdrop for many different films, most notably the beautifully shot Braveheart. The park specialises in historical farm animals, including those from the Bronze and Iron Ages, Roman, Viking and Norman periods, and the Agricultural Revolution, which makes it a perfect setting for a historical drama.


Pierce Brosnan’s suave characterisation of James Bond made a visit to the Cotswolds when Die Another Day was filmed in 2002 near Bourton-on-the-Water, a village that lies within the Cotswolds’ ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. A few different locations were used; most notably a carpark in the area, which was the setting for the iconic ice-chase scenes from the film.


Badminton House

This prestigious country house played host to a number of celebs in 1993 for the filming of the classic The Remains of the Day. The all-star cast included Emma Thompson, James Fox, Christopher Reeve, Hugh Grant and Anthony Hopkins. The house was used again in 2001 as the RAF base seen in the incredible Pearl Harbour and again in 2002 for the gruesome zombie flick, 28 Days Later.


This woodland area featured in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens for a major scene involving the film’s villain, Kylo Ren, and his lightsaber. The forest, known for its outstanding beauty, also features in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and is said to have been a massive inspiration for Lord of the Rings‘ author JRR Tolkien in his creation of Middle-Earth.


Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Edit article