14 Hugely Popular TV Shows Filmed in Wales
Wales is known for more than just its soaring scenery and luscious landscapes (although obviously those are pretty glorious). It’s also a filming hotspot, and many popular TV shows have been filmed there. You’ll undoubtedly know a few – calling all Gavin & Stacey and Doctor Who fans – but you may be surprised by just how many TV shows have been shot around Wales’ glorious countryside and cities.
So, without further ado, cue the lights, ready the camera and press action, as we guide you through some of the best-loved TV shows filmed in Wales.
TV shows shot in Wales
1. Gavin & Stacey
We really couldn’t put together a list of the TV shows filmed in Wales and not include this classic. The brainchild of James Corden and Ruth Jones, this much loved comedic sitcom follows the long-distance relationship of Gavin (Mathew Horne) and Stacey (Joanna Page). The latter lives in Barry Island, a filming location in Wales featured so prominently it’s hard to mistake.
Gavin & Stacey has won multiple awards, including the BAFTA Audience Award in 2008 and the 2019 Christmas Day special also drew in some serious audience numbers – 11.6 million to be exact. So, if you were one of the many mince pie-eating viewers enjoying the antics of these much-loved characters after 10 years apart, you were in good company!
2. His Dark Materials
Welsh-based production company Bad Wolf worked with HBO to produce the recent series of His Dark Materials. The show was filmed in a number of Welsh locations including Cardiff’s Pontcanna, the Brecon Beacons, and Atlantic College in the Vale. Plus, the town of Trollesund – a Northernmost spot from which Lyra and the group of Gyptians depart to the North – was built from scratch at Llangynidr Quarry in Crickhowell. Spot the town in the series’ first season, Northern Lights.
3. Sex Education
This hugely popular Netflix series has a serious following, and many of its scenes were shot in Wales – most specifically, in the Wye Valley. Moordale High – the fictional secondary school where the main characters, including Otis (Asa Butterfield) and Maeve (Emma Mackey) spend their days – is in fact the former University of South Wales campus in Newport. What’s more, the scenes between Otis and Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) on their bikes are filmed around Usk, Chepstow and Caerleon.
4. Doctor Who
Possibly the most well-known of all the TV shows filmed in Wales, Doctor Who was produced by BBC Wales in Cardiff, kicking off something of a trend for filming sci-fi/fantasy shows in Wales. Cardiff’s National Museum is a regular filming location, but its home base is Roath Lock in Cardiff Bay. Doctor Who’s popularity also led to the spin-off Torchwood and the character Ianto Jones was so loved that fans created an impromptu shrine at Mermaid’s Quay in Cardiff Bay after his on-show death.
Written by Jez Butterworth for Sky Atlantic and Amazon Prime, Britannia was filmed across much of Wales, thanks to the country’s mythical heritage. The land of Britannia – a nation ruled by powerful druids and fierce women – was depicted by spots including Rhosilli Bay, Cwm Porth in Ystradfellte, Llyn y Fan Fach in Llanddeusant, and Henrhyd Falls in Coelbren.
6. The Pembrokeshire Murders
Centring on the real-life murders that took place in Pembrokeshire in the 80s, this miniseries from ITV starred Luke Evans as detective Steve Wilkins. The Pembrokeshire coastline serves as the gorgeous backdrop for this true-crime drama, which aired in early 2021.
7. The Crown
So popular it hardly needs an introduction, The Crown is another of the best-known TV shows filmed in Wales. Certain scenes were filmed in Aberystwyth, the Cynon Valley and Blaenavon. Caernarfon Castle also featured for shots of Prince Charles’ 1969 investiture ceremony, while scenes depicting the Aberfan Disaster were shot in Cwmaman and Ferndale.
Another big-hit series, many of Sherlock’s filming locations were in Wales. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman starred as the genius detective and his second-hand man, with much filming based at Upper Boat Studios and Hartswood Films’ Cardiff-based production unit. Cardiff Bay and locations around the Vale of Glamorgan were also used to set the scene of this series.
9. The Accident
A four-part series starring Sarah Lancashire, The Accident was written by Jack Thorne and set in the fictional town of Glyngolau, Wales. It explores the impact a devastating disaster has on a small Welsh Community and had various filming locations in Wales, including Porth, the Rhondda Valley, and Pontyclun.
Another drama based on Arthurian legends, Cursed came out on Netflix in 2020. It starred Katherine Langford as a teenage warrior whose destiny is to become the Lady of the Lake. The ten-episode series was filmed in Wales, particularly in the North, with locations like Snowdonia National Park offering sweeping views for this intense fantasy drama.
11. Keeping Faith
A mystery thriller, Keeping Faith was filmed both in Welsh and English, so can be watched in either language. It’s another TV series set in a fictional Welsh town – Abercorran this time – and is filmed around Carmarthenshire, particularly the town of Laugharne. The show follows Eve Myles’ character as she struggles to keep her family together after her husband’s disappearance.
Another bilingual series, this crime drama stars Sian Reese-Williams and was originally broadcast exclusively in Welsh on S4C under the name Craith. Much of the filming took place around Bangor and Snowdonia, giving it the beautifully menacing environment necessary for its increasingly dark storylines.
Another fantasy drama filmed in Wales, Merlin is loosely based on Arthurian legends. However, the Merlin myth was reimagined for a new audience. While the Camelot scenes were filmed in France, many of the interior and exterior sequences were filmed in Wales, with locations including the Brecon Beacons National Park and the castles of Caerphilly, Chepstow and Raglan.
Post-Gavin & Stacey, Ruth Jones turned to this six-season comedy-drama, set in the fictional Welsh town of Pontyberry. The show depicted struggling mother Stella’s slightly haphazard life with a relatable warmth and humour. It ran from 2012-2017 and was largely filmed in Ferndale in South Wales’ Rhondda Valley.
Planning to visit the spots where your favourite TV show was filmed in Wales? Discover family days out nearby to make the most of your journey. Or, if you’re planning a longer trip, explore our top picks for places to stay on our blog.