A Taste of England’s Filmic History

Have you ever watched a film and wondered where you might have seen that setting before? Many picturesque cities in England are used for filming even if they aren’t the setting, maybe as stand ins for other places or just for ease of filming. Here are three beloved English citites, and how they have been used in filming for films and television programs.

Winchester is an absolutely beautiful city in South West England, and is the former Roman capital! It’s well worth a visit, although you’ve probably seen Winchester in many films and TV shows. Its famous cathedral has been used many times in films, such as the Da Vinci Code (Ron Howard, 2006) and Les Miserables (Tom Hooper, 2012), however, it is usually used as a stand in. For example, Winchester Cathedral stood in for St Paul’s Cathedral in Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Shekhar Kapur, 2007).

However, other locations in Winchester are also used for filming. Wolf Hall (2015) features the Great Hall, the home of King Arthur’s Round Table. Les Miserables also filmed in Winchester College and the Hospital of St Cross even had an appearance in Day of the Triffids (Richard Mewis, 2009)

P.S. Did you know that Winchester also features very briefly in the Japanese anime Death Note (2006)?
Perhaps the most famous filmic link to Oxford is Inspector Morse, and the series revolving around those characters. The city of Oxford features heavily in most adaptions, and so the entire city is a filming location, in a way. The University of Oxford’s colleges also feature heavily, mostly Exeter, St John’s and All Souls Colleges.

The other most famous filmic link to Oxford is Harry Potter, in particular, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Chris Columbus, 2001). The Bodleian Library features twice in the first film, as two parts of it were filmed in. Duke Humphries Library features in the film as the Forbidden Section in the Hogwarts’ Library. The other link is the Divinity Hall, which is focused in the film as the Infirmary.

Cambridge is a beautiful city, and has many famous residents due, in part, to the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Footlights. One of the most famous residents of Cambridge was Professor Stephen Hawking, who studied and was employed by the University. The Theory of Everything (James Marsh, 2014), which is about Hawking’s life, therefore filmed extensively in Cambridge, with many scenes filmed at university colleges such as St John’s College.

Winchester, Oxford and Cambridge are three of the most well known and popular English cities, which is why they are used in filming. However, these cities are also well worth a visit, which I would definitely recommend.

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