Whether it’s a lightsaber battle in the woods or casting spells in the corridors of Hogwarts, the West Midlands has been used as a filming location for many popular movies and TV shows. And it’s no surprise why! The landscapes are breathtaking, the cities historic and the sights monumental.
Having been brought up in the West Midlands myself, I’ve picked out some of the coolest filming locations you might want to visit during your next trip to the British heartland.
A whole host of movies and TV shows have been filmed in Gloucester Cathedral including Harry Potter, Sherlock and Doctor Who. Most famously, the cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral served as the corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Chamber of Secrets and The Half-Blood Prince. You can walk in free-of-charge and potter about (pun unintended), pretending you’re in Hogwarts. Pro tip: you’ll have to bring your own broomstick!
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman walked in the footsteps of the Harry Potter cast and crew when filming an episode for the hit BBC series Sherlock at the cathedral back in 2015. The episode was filmed underground in the hidden crypt of the cathedral where you’ll find remains of the very earliest parts of the building. Crypt tours will set you back £3 per person (only 50p for children aged 4-16) but it’s worth it!
David Tennant and the Tardis also visited Gloucester Cathedral, making use of this historic sight in Doctor Who’s 2008 Christmas Special.
Gloucester has seen its fair share of movie magic take place in town, with the city docks having been used in a host of exciting films. These include Tim Burton’s eccentric Alice Through the Looking Glass, Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic, and action movie Outlaw, featuring Sean Bean and Danny Dyer.
Additionally, the talented Margot Robbie was recently spotted at Gloucester Docks filming for the 2018 film Mary Queen of Scots so keep your eyes peeled for that! Gloucester Quays and Docks might be worth a visit even if you haven’t yet seen the films listed above, as the area holds plenty of restaurants, shops, a cinema, museums, leisure cruises and other aquatic activities to keep you entertained.
Puzzlewood, a fourteen-acre ancient woodland, is my favourite filming location on this list, simply because it’s so magical and otherworldly! The unique setting of Puzzlewood has been a filming location for many popular movies and TV-shows including Star Wars, Doctor Who, Merlin, Atlantis and The Huntsman, thanks to its enchanting maze of pathways, mossy rocks, deep stony canyons, bridges and lookouts. Puzzlewood makes for the perfect day out for the whole family, regardless of whether you’ve seen these films or not – just remember to wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty!
The Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean
Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean hold some absolutely stunning scenery, so it’s no wonder the area has been used in quite a few movies and TV-shows. Filming of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One took place upon the iconic viewpoint of Symonds Yat and within the depths of the Forest of Dean – appropriate locations considering that J. K. Rowling herself was brought up close to the forest. Additionally, one scene in The Deathly Hallows was filmed at Coppett Hill in the forest, where Hermione explains that she and her family used to holiday there when she was much younger.
Notable TV-shows Merlin and Doctor Who have made use of the Clearwell Caves, ancient iron mines in the Forest of Dean, for their dramatic plotlines, too. Like Puzzlewood, this is a great place to visit even if you haven’t seen the TV shows!
The Malvern Hills
Last, but by no means least, we have the Malvern Hills. Whilst no major movies or TV-shows have been filmed on the Malvern Hills, they have inspired numerous writers throughout time, including J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis who used to walk the hills together. As you may well know, these literary legends went on to create the world-renowned universes of the Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia. It’s not hard to see why these breath-taking landscapes inspired them, either.
So, on your next trip to the West Midlands, consider going for a walk up the Malvern’s and imagine you’re crossing the White Mountains of Gondor. If you can’t travel to New Zealand, where The Lord of the Rings was filmed, the Malvern’s are a pretty good alternative!