Lights! Camera! Action! Hertfordshire on film
Are you eager for the Awards season that is upon us? The great and good of Hollywood, and Britain, have had a groundbreaking year since the last awards and so in recognition of the big screen we want to take a moment to honour the unsung heroes - the locations!
Hertfordshire has a rich film heritage, being home to two major studios and with estates, towns and hot spots that have featured in some seriously big box office hits. To help you discover Herts' film heritage, we've pulled together a list of our favourite filming locations that are perfect for a spot of ‘set-jetting’.
So get ready for your close up, Hertfordshire...
Hatfield House has starred in many films over the years (Tomb Raider, Batman, The King's Speech). The imposing Jacobean mansion (once the home of Queen Elizabeth I) served as the home of Queen Anne in the The Favourite, of which Olivia Colman's performance as the frail queen earned her a Golden Globe in 2019's awards. Continuing the Olivia Colman theme, Hatfield House has also been host to The Crown for all three of its seasons, so keep an eye out for places you may have been inside! The location has also had appearances in hit music videos, such as Jonas' Brothers Sucker.
The brave little bear from Peru named Paddington paid a visit to Knebworth House in his latest film, as the grand estate was used as the location for the second film. But even further back than last year, Knebworth has played host to Judi Dench's Victoria and Abdul and for the superhero fans the blockbuster Batman from 1989 was also set inside and out the house. It's not only the Hollywood studios that can't get enough of its gothic facade and gorgeous grounds however, as Little Mix's 2018 pop hit Woman Like Me was filmed at Knebworth too.
Explore Knebworth's corridors...
We couldn't leave Harry out, could we? Hertfordshire is THE home of the Harry Potter film franchise, as all eight films were based at the enormous Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden. The working studios are obviously off limits to visitors, but that doesn't matter - because two whole soundstages opened in 2012 to house The Making of Harry Potter, a permanent exhibition showcasing props, sets, costumes and curio from the films. Not only can you visit all year around, but throughout winter (Saturday 16th November to Sunday 26th January 2020) it becomes a snowy utopia. The Great Hall is dressed as the Yule Ball, as it appears in the Goblet of Fire, alongside various other scenes and props covered in a blanket of winter.
The World's End
Fans of Edgar Wright's famous Cornetto trilogy will instantly recognise Letchworth Garden City as the location of the pub crawl to end all pub crawls in modern cult classic, The World's End. The picturesque town (and nearby Welwyn Garden City) was the backdrop for the action comedy - an irony that was not lost on the locals during the filming; in its early days, Letchworth was a dry town! The town now has a short walking trail around the main filming locations
Film geeks, bow your heads in solemn respect for twas at Hertfordshire's own Elstree Studios that Star Wars was born. Elstree really is up there with film studio royalty, having been home to countless blockbusters and award-winning films over the years, including George Lucas and all three of the original Star Wars trilogy. The studio continues to welcome international stars and crews all year round, as well as hosting The Crown, Strictly Come Dancing, The Chase and Big Brother. While you can't visit the studios solo, you can apply for audience tickets to some of the shows filmed there.
Pride and Prejudice
Die hard fans of Jane Austen's romantic masterpiece frequently trek around the UK visiting the impressive stately homes that have appear in various film and TV adaptations of the novel - and Hertfordshire is well worth a stop over. Brocket Hall - which has an impressively 'racy' history of its own - served as the Netherfield ballroom in the famous 1995 TV adaptation, and it was there the world was first introduced to Colin Firth's brooding Mr Darcy. Cue much swooning...