With its rolling hills, beautiful buildings, and rich heritage, it’s no wonder Dacorum is so often picked as a filming location. From royal romps to magical mysteries, the borough has seen many tales unfold, each with its own special charm. While the stories have already been told, there remains an element of wonder left behind by the movie magic at each site. We’ve compiled a list of some of the places seen on screen for you to go and visit with family and friends. Whether it be a walk through the scenic Ashridge Estate where Harry Potter wandered, or a sit down on the bench from After Life, we’ve got you covered. So peruse away and plan for a weekend of spectacular sightseeing in Hertfordshire’s filming borough.
Don your best dress and get the etiquette guides out – it’s Bridgerton time! With all the beautiful listed buildings and natural landscapes of Dacorum, it's no wonder the show has visited on multiple occasions for shooting. Keep an eye out in season two and you'll be sure to see the amazing Ashridge Estate as the backdrop to some of the horse riding scenes. While you might not be on horseback, you can still feel regal as you wander through the estate's ancient trees and lush meadows.
Hop just outside of Dacorum and you'll discover the magnificent Hatfield Park...why not put the curlers in and pretend you’re Lady Featherington walking around the halls (the house is open between May and August – we can all pretend to be royalty for a day!). Plus, the grounds surrounding the house are open from April to September, meaning there’s plenty of time throughout the year to give yourself a Bridgerton escape! With all these lush locations, you can spend your day touring the parks and places that inspired the actors and makers of one of Netflix’s most streamed shows… talk about grace and Dacorum!
Watch out for golden snitches as you wander around the grounds of Ashridge Estate, one of the filming locations in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Visit the place where Harry and co first meet Cedric Diggory as they set off to the Quidditch World Cup. With waymarked or self led walks that range from family strolls to heart thumping hikes, you can explore the 80 miles of magical land in whatever way suits you – although maybe leave the broomsticks at home this time. While the fallow deer on the estate aren’t Patronuses, they’re certainly magical in their own way. And, while no longer standing after a tragic thunderstorm, the Whomping Willow from the second movie used to live on Ashridge Estate too! So, bring along the family (even your four-legged friends) and let your imagination run free as you follow in the footsteps of the boy who lived.
On the list once again is the wonderful Ashridge Estate, this time hosting the filming of Warner Bros’ 2016 The Legend of Tarzan. It’s no wonder Ashridge makes it on to the list so many times – with its rolling hills and beautiful backdrops, it’d be hard for it not to overshadow the actors! Alexander Skarsgård plays the legendary Tarzan in this riveting remake – from Gabon to Hertfordshire, the movie visits some great locations, Gaddesden Place being one (and in our opinion the best) of these. The drawing room of this 18th century private house near Hemel Hempstead was transformed into the cabinet room of Downing Street, where Samuel L. Jackson appears on screen as George Washington Williams. While you may not be able to go inside Gaddesden Place, there are many walks around the area open to all for fun and adventure – swing through the branches and roll through the grass for an ape-tastic time!
Let’s head east and dip into the world of action and adventure with the hit show Killing Eve. The sharp eyed amongst viewers may have got slight déjà vu when watching the hospital scene set in Paris. That’s because it’s in fact an old hospital in Hemel Hempstead that’s now solely used for filming! The show’s production has toured many places, from Berlin to Bucharest, but we think its best spot has been in Dacorum – home of the Natural History Museum in Tring, positively perfect pubs and wonderous walks. Be sure to check all of these out for a righteously Eve-entful day out in Dacorum!
National treasure Rowan Atkinson is returning to the screen this year in the highly anticipated comedy series Man vs Bee, a nine-part, insect-based extravaganza, and Dacorum is here to welcome him. Seen filming in Bovingdon High Street, Dacorum has once again been chosen as the backdrop of a Netflix original series. Makers of the programme were keen on showing off the talents of British filmmakers and talent; it’s no wonder they chose a place famous for its sought-after filming locations! Fans of Mr Bean are sure to be interested in this one, so why not take a wonder through Bovingdon and celebrate the man who stole our hearts without ever having to say a word?
Step into the mysterious kingdom of Stormhold and encounter witches, spells and men turned into goats… or maybe just imagine you’re doing so as you pass through the stone wall in the Ashridge Estate, featured in the 2007 fantasy adventure movie, Stardust. It’s not every day you get to pretend you’re about to enter a fantastical world in which Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes and Charlie Cox explore the realms of their reality and try to beat the clock in the name of true love and happiness. Be sure to explore the rest of the grounds and become inspired by the beautiful landscapes, the immense wildlife, and the rich history of Ashridge Estate.
Perhaps Dacorum’s biggest call to fame is the hit Netflix show, After Life – Ricky Gervais’ dark comedy that has left viewers in tears (both happy and sad) and wanting more. All throughout Hemel Hempstead, from local cafes to the famous bench, there are several spots that are featured on the show that you, family, and friends can tour around on a day out in Dacorum. Check out our list of places you can visit that have featured on the show, as well as an interview with the paws-itively wonderful star of After Life, Antilly the Wonderhound!
Fancy following in the culinary footsteps of some of Hollywood's finest? Head on over to The Bricklayer's Arms, set in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside, just a stone’s throw from popular filming locations Leavesden Studios and Hemel. You won't find anywhere better to sit down for a hearty yet modern meal, accompanied by warm welcomes and friendly smiles. And you don't have to take our word for it - the one and only Mark Wahlberg, having visited many times, has said it's the "Best pub food in England"! Other stars to have dined here are Brad Pitt, Michael Keaton, Michael Pena, Kirsten Dunst and Hugh Jackman... now that's an A-List pub!
With all that’s going on in the Dacorum film scene, you’ll certainly need some fuel to keep you going on your travels. While in Hemel Hempstead, why not try out some mouth-watering food at The Windmill Café, or maybe grab a coffee at Cappuccio. Be sure to pop into The Old Artichoke, seen in After Life, to browse the local produce and have a bite to eat. On your way up to Ashridge Estate, stop in at Epicure for some artisan coffee in Berkhamsted, or if you’re having a wander around Tring, make sure to visit Black Goo for all your delicious food and drink-based needs.
Looking to turn your Dacorum film day into an overnight stay? There are plenty of wonderful spots where you, family, and friends can relax and enjoy your time in this beautiful place. Why not try out Pendley Manor, a listed Victorian Manor House Hotel that provides everything you could ask for, plus a swim and a sauna! Or if you fancy a bit of golf, some exquisite food, and modern design, Shendish Manor offers all of that inside a splendid Victorian country house! If you’re looking for a cosier stay, head over to Boxmoor Lodge, where you can expect a warm welcome and beautiful views. Or you could stay in the heart of the Chiltern Hills at the Penny Farthing Hotel, part of the Oakman Inns Family who are sure to give you some of the best food and service you’ve ever had. With all there is to see and do in Dacorum, you’ll want to stay for as long as you can!