Katy Towse
1st February 2022

Setting the scene for soaring superheroes, fantastical creatures and epic battles, Hertfordshire’s fantasy film heritage includes some of the biggest blockbusters of all time…  

The world-renowned studios at Leavesden and Elstree attract a huge range of large-scale Sci Fi and Fantasy productions due to their state-of-the-art facilities, huge range of stages and backlots and highly skilled technicians and creatives – and this means Herts can lay claim to cinematic classics from Star Wars to Harry Potter!

Working alongside the studio bases, Hertfordshire also offers a stunning range of ‘location stunt doubles’ (think Hatfield House for a French Chateau in Wonder Woman or Knebworth House as Wayne Manor) which really help to bring this popular genre to life.

With a huge range of locations to visit (and of course the thrilling visitor attraction Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - ‘The Making of Harry Potter’ delivering the complete fantasy experience) there’s much inspiration to find in these fabulously fantastical locations.

Read on for a deeper look into Hertfordshire’s starring role in some of our favourite big-budget fantasy blockbusters!


Dubbed ‘Lucaswood’ in the seventies, Hertfordshire’s Borehamwood is home to industry institution Elstree Studios where Lucas and his Star Wars film crew filmed the original trilogy after Pinewood in London famously turned down the production. Taking over the entire studio plot, including all the sound stages, offices and back lots, Lucas ran a tight ship at Elstree with the (comparatively) small studio setting offering him the convenience to be across all areas of his production with relative ease. In fact, he loved the set up so much that he later returned almost thirty years later to film parts of the new trilogy too! The production team are clearly quite sentimental about the location and have been quoted as saying “We could have shot anywhere in the world, but Elstree is our home.”

Lightsabers at the ready, head to the galaxy of Hertfordshire for some serious Star Wars nostalgia and to geek out on all the local connections and reflections!


The superhero movie is an absolute cornerstone of the UK and International film industry with new or re-imagined superhero stories frequently gracing our screens. With Warner Bros based in the county at the Leavesden Studios, it's no real surprise that location filming for these epic blockbusters often takes place nearby and that the county has hosted the publics favourite heroes throughout the decades.

Movies featuring Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman have all been made in the county over the years, from Christopher Reeve’s Superman in the eighties all the way through to Robbert Pattinson’s Batman in brand new Justice League (shot at Bovingdon Airfield in and Frogmore Paper Mill, in Apsley, Hemel Hempstead.)

Don’t miss the distinctive gold ceiling in the long gallery at Hatfield House where Wonder Woman (Gal Gardot) is seen dancing with her enemy wearing a blue ballgown with a sword tucked into the back. (A real favourite for filmmakers, the same room also features in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie starring Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne - and then again for Christopher Nolan's successful 2005 reboot of the franchise!)

Talking of Batman, Hertfordshire’s Knebworth House also helps put the ‘Goth’ into Gotham City with its gargoyles and Gothic Revival style architecture. Using the externals to depict a suitably spooky Wayne Manor in Burton's Batman blockbuster, the filmmakers also then used the Banqueting Hall inside the house for the dinner date scenes between Bruce Wayne and love interest Vicki Vale, played by Kim Basinger.

And it’s not just DC Comic movies made in Herts - last but not least in our superhero section is Spidey of course! Spider-Man: Far From Home is another heroic adventure to have used Hatfield House for filming. Doubling for a location in Prague, the Marble Hall provides a backdrop for key scenes with the leading cast including Spidey himself, Tom Holland.


And they don’t come much greater than Harry, Ron and Hermione do they?!

We all know that Hertfordshire is THE home of the Harry Potter film franchise, with all eight films based at the enormous Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden and of course the behind-the-scenes experience Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - ‘The Making of Harry Potter’ attracting millions of visitors every year.

Discover first-hand the sheer scale and detail of the actual sets, costumes, animatronics, special effects and props that were used in the Harry Potter film series. Step into the iconic Great Hall set and explore the Forbidden Forest, board the original Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 ¾ and step foot into Gringotts Wizarding Bank, all before wandering down Diagon Alley and marvelling at the breath-taking miniature scale model of Hogwarts castle

And another great British Institution utilising the film locations in the county is family favourite Paddington Bear! For the first film, film crews swapped darkest Peru for Hatfield House as they descended on the stately home to shoot scenes with a host of stars including Nicole Kidman, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Colin Firth. They returned to Herts for Paddington 2, but this time filmmakers transformed the grounds of Knebworth House into a fairground, filled with hundreds of extras as revellers on the funfair rides. The whole family will love spotting the locations of Peru’s most famous, marmalade sandwich-loving bear and his incredible adventures!


Some of the most prolific, Oscar-winning filmmakers of the last century have created masterful, fantasy worlds using Hertforshire’s studios and locations as their bases and the county is lucky enough to lay claim to some absolute classics of the fantasy genre!

In 1999, Tim Burton created American gothic supernatural horror film Sleepy Hollow which went to smash box offices all over the world. Starring Jonny Depp and Christina Ricci, the film was shot at Leavesden Studios, with some location work at Hatfield House too.  

In order to manifest the darkly unique fairy tale we see in fantasy musical Labyrinth, producer George Lucas took director Jim Henson and the entire cast and crew back to his beloved Elstree studios in 1989, where the production was shot and edited entirely.

A little more recently, British favourite Danny Boyle used the grounds of Knebworth House to double for London's Regent's Park for an iconic - and very gory - sequence in 28 Days Later in which a horde of fast-moving infected Zombies rampage around a helicopter. Zombie extras, gory props and reams of fake blood littered the estate during the production (with visitors stumbling across some eye-opening items that had been left behind after filming!) with Boyle masterfully colliding the grand setting with the fantastical storyline.

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