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Shooting With Video Camera in Wales

13 Top Filming Locations in Wales

Shooting With Video Camera in Wales

13 Top Filming Locations in Wales

From towering peaks and glacier-carved valleys to fairy-tale castles and chocolate-box towns, it’s easy to see why film scouts flock to Wales. The country seems almost purpose-built for filming everything from historical TV dramas to fantasy films. Want to visit the most famous filming locations in Wales? Read on as we reveal locations used for TV series and movies filmed in Wales.

Caernarfon Castle – The Crown

The cast of royal drama The Crown has changed drastically over the seasons. But one thing has remained constant – the spectacular filming locations. Wales made a special appearance in a Season 3 episode, the Investiture of the Prince of Wales. Staying true to the real-life storyline, the ceremony was filmed at Caernarfon Castle in Gwynedd.

The ancient fortress towers over the River Seiont and, alongside several other strongholds built by Edward I, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All the castles are spectacular. But when it comes to size, scale and architectural grandeur, Caernarfon takes the crown. If you’re looking for film locations in North Wales with regal appeal, Caernarfon Castle is not-to-be-missed.

Caernarfon Castle filming location in Wales

The original ceremony was held on July 1, 1969. More than 4,000 VIP guests and an additional 500 million people around the world watched as Queen Elizabeth II handed her son a sword, coronet and other regalia. And it was this that marked his ascendence as the Prince of Wales.

The scenes were recreated in 2018, also at Caernarfon Castle. Josh O’Connor, the actor who played the young Prince Charles in Season 3 of The Crown, was of course onsite. He went on to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Charles, with a special mention going to his ears!

Watkin Path in Snowdonia – Carry on Up the Khyber

While modern productions like Harry Potter and Game of Thrones steal the spotlight, scouts have been using filming locations in Wales for decades. In the 1960s, the Watkin Path trail to the summit of Snowdon was transformed into the legendary Khyber Pass in Afghanistan for hit British comedy, Carry on Up the Khyber.

Lace up your boots and follow the trail up the iconic peak. You’ll be walking in the footsteps of beloved British actors like Sid James, Charles Hawtrey and Kenneth Williams. Travelling to Snowdonia National Park and planning a cosy night in after a day of exploring? Then we’d highly recommend throwing on Carry on Up the Khyber. Not just for the scenery, but for the laughs!

Ynys Llanddwyn Sand Dunes in Anglesey – Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans has epic scenery to match the storyline, which features Greek gods and mythical sea monsters. One of the most noticeable filming locations in Wales is Ynys Llanddwyn. This picturesque tidal island off the coast of Anglesey boasts gorgeous beaches and on clear days, incredible views of Snowdonia.

Penbryn Beach in Ceredigion – Die Another Day

If Pierce Brosnan is your favourite Bond, it’s worth making a pilgrimage to Penbryn Beach in Ceredigion. With honey-coloured sand dunes and grass-covered cliffs, the beach doubled as a filming location for North Korea in the hit James Bond film made in 2002. A team of set builders painstakingly constructed the hilltop beach house where Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry get together at the end of the film.

Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

There’s something magical about Freshwater West, a stretch of golden sand framed by rolling dunes. The beach is set in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and was used as a backdrop for Shell Cottage in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, one of the most famous movies filmed in Wales. Nestled in the dunes, the postcard-perfect cottage was purpose-built for the film with incredible attention to detail. Pause the film for a closer look at the amazing shell roof. While the cottage was torn down as soon as filming wound up, the magic lives on.

Freshwater West Harry Potter filming location Wales

Harry Potter fans will know that Shell Cottage is more than just the marital home of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour. It’s the final resting place of Dobby the house elf. After taking a dagger to the heart, Dobby died in the arms of Harry and was buried on the beach in a tear-jerking scene. Harry Potter fans still flock to the beach to pay their respects to Dobby and admire the heart-warming memorials. Many are engraved with the original words from the film, “Here lies Dobby, a Free Elf”. Don’t be surprised if you see a sock or two tucked under a rock.

What else is Freshwater Water West known for?

As well as being a filming location for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Freshwater West is one of the best surfing destinations in Wales. Paddle out if you’re an experienced surfer, or simply watch the action from the shore. The currents are strong, so you’ll need to be a confident swimmer if you plan to surf.

If you’re a Robin Hood fan, you’ll recognise Freshwater West from a cinematic battle scene in Ridley Scott’s version. More than 150 horses and 600 extras descended on the beach to film the waterside scenes. Apparently, Russell Crowe was so taken with the setting that he stayed an extra few nights instead of flying back to his luxury hotel in London.

Snowdonia National Park – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

The majority of Guy Ritchie’s blockbuster hit King Arthur: Legend of the Sword was filmed in Snowdonia National Park. With craggy peaks and cobalt-blue lakes, it’s easy to see why the park features in so many films made in Wales.

As you explore the park, you’ll be retracing the steps of stars like Jude Law and Eric Bana. It made a lot of sense to film in Snowdonia, as according to historians it’s the site where Arthur clashed with the Saxons.

Special effects experts used 918-metre-tall Tryfan as a backdrop for the medieval town of Camelot. Fun fact: Ritchie called on the help of National Trust rangers and Snowdonia locals to set up the filming locations and stand in as extras. Talk about a community effort!

Looking for more film locations in North Wales? Head to Llyn Ogwen, the ribbon lake where Arthur’s sword Excalibur is supposedly hidden. You’ll also find some beautiful walks around Llynnau Mymbyr, a pair of lakes which also feature in the film.

Llyn Gwynant – Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

The ancient temples of Cambodia immediately come to mind when talking about Tomb Raider filming locations. But did you know that Hollywood star Angelina Jolie was also sent to Wales to film Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life? Set designers transformed the shores of Llyn Gwynant into a Chinese village. They even enlisted dozens of members of the local Chinese community as extras. Chickens, donkeys and geese were borrowed from local farmers to create the bustling village atmosphere.

Marloes Sands in Pembrokeshire – Snow White and the Huntsman

From Beauty and the Beast to Aladdin, countless fairy tales have been reimagined as live-action remakes over the past decade. In 2012, Australian heartthrob Chris Hemsworth and Twilight star Kristen Stewart arrived on Marloes Sands in Pembrokeshire to film Snow White and the Huntsman, another of our favourite movies filmed in Wales.

Marloes Sands Huntsman filming location in Wales

The fantasy film was inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairytale and spared no expense on filming locations and visual effects. In fact, it was nominated as a recipient for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. The Marloes Sands scene is one of the most captivating. It features Snow White and her army galloping along the beach to Ravenna’s castle. While the castle was superimposed into the scene, the beach is 100% real.

Penrhyn Castle – Game of Thrones

With more than 400 castles peppered across the country, it’s no surprise a handful of Welsh strongholds ended up featuring in the HBO series. Back in 2018, Penrhyn Castle confirmed HBO was using the fortress as one of several filming locations in Wales. This cheeky social media post was published:

“Even with HBO filming, the castle is still open this weekend. Some rooms may be off limits or full of relocated collections but, excitingly, you may see others set dressed for the production.”

The castle cleared up any speculation as to what show was being filmed. “Weather looks great but wrap up warm because ……#WinterIsComing”

Brecon Beacons – The Dark Knight Rises

Batman fans assemble. Brecon Beacons National Park is the place to be if you want to explore the Batcave. Framed by moss-covered cliffs, Henrhyd Falls was the perfect cascade to feature in The Dark Knight Rises starring Christian Bale. In our opinion, it’s one of the best films made in Wales.

Follow the well-marked trail to the base of the falls and cool off with a dip in the natural pool at the base. We can’t promise it’ll be warm, but the experience is incredible. The official trail stops short of taking you behind the waterfall. But if you’re feeling adventurous and you have grippy shoes, you can continue along the path and go behind the cascade. Watch your step as it can get very slippery!

Cardiff – Doctor Who

Walking around Cardiff, you’ll see dozens of filming locations used in Doctor Who. Think the National Museum Cardiff, where you can see everything from Monet masterpieces to dinosaur fossils. Visit before April 16th 2023, and you can catch the BBC 100 in Wales exhibit featuring costumes, props and set materials from Doctor Who, as well as other BBC programs. The streetscapes of Cardiff also feature heavily in the series – Queen Street and Westgate Street in particular. Both are excellent places to stroll and enjoy a coffee.

Wye Valley – Sex Education

Hit Netflix show Sex Education captivated viewers across the globe. The majority of the British comedy/drama was filmed in the picturesque Wye Valley, a recognised Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. If you can’t get enough of Otis, Maeve and Eric, then a visit to their Wye Valley stomping ground is a must.

The tiny village of Tintern in Monmouthshire is home to the old railway bridge that Otis and Eric frequently cross on their way to school. Stroll across the bridge and take in the views before enjoying lunch at one of the village’s quaint country pubs.

The neighbouring towns of Monmouth and Llandogo were also used as Sex Education filming locations in Wales. The latter is home to Browns Village Stores, where Adam and Ola worked the checkout. Stop off to pick up a chocolate bar. Margam Country Park and Castle, a magnificent Grade 1 listed mansion, was commandeered as Mountainside Military School, where Adam is sent in Season 2.

Margam Country Park and Castle - filming location for Sex Education

Why choose Wales over an urban setting like London? In an interview with the Radio Times, director Jon Jennings says he wanted the show to have the same upbeat and colourful vibe as movies created by legendary American filmmaker, John Hughes.

“We knew it shouldn’t be shot in London. That was the first thing even before future episodes were written. It was definitely not going to be a London-based show,” says Jennings. If you’ve seen cult classics like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Pretty in Pink, you’ll know what he’s talking about.

“We wanted it to be different, we didn’t want it to be Grange Hill or Ackley Bridge, we just wanted it to have that John Hughes influence of green and happiness to it,” he adds.

Gavin and Stacey – Barry

British sitcom Gavin and Stacey captured hearts with its quirky plotlines and fun-loving stereotypes. Fans of the BBC comedy drama flock to Barry, a cute seaside resort in the Vale of Glamorgan. Join a Gavin and Stacey coach tour and tick off locations like Stacey’s family home on Trinity Street, Marco’s Café where Stacey works. And of course, Nessa’s Slots by the seaside. The Colcot Arms in Barry was used as a filming location for Smithy’s favourite pub. And don’t miss St Peter’s Church, where Nessa and Dave almost tie the knot.

Whether you’re into British comedy series of Hollywood blockbusters, you’ll be amazed at how many filming locations in Wales there are to discover.