Many of us are aware of famous buildings across the UK that have been used as backdrops in movie productions. Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire became the Dark Knight’s Wayne Manor in Batman and scenes in Durham Cathedral became the classroom for a well-known wizard and his friends in Harry Potter.
But what about our beautiful gardens and landscapes? If you’ve spotted a scene in a film that you’d like to visit, then read on as Suttons, garden lovers and retailers of vegetable seeds, tell us where to find them:
The Dark Hedges, Game of Thrones
Situated on Bregagh Road in Northern Ireland is The Dark Hedges, an avenue of beech trees made famous by the popular TV series, Game of Thrones. It was first featured in episode one of the second series as King’s Road — the path that Arya took as she escaped from King’s Landing dressed as a boy, travelling through the Hedges to reach the Night’s Watch.
Following its appearance on TV, it has become a massive tourist attraction. To locals, this is a surprise as it is a rural road in Ballymoney, out of the way from the main villages. The avenue is quite difficult to find though and there is to be more signs built so that it is easier for tourists to visit the spot. Local legend says that the avenue is home to a grey lady who walks between the trees as it gets dark.
The trees are situated close to the northern coast, where other attractions lie such as the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway. They are part of the popular Game of Thrones tours that are in Northern Ireland.
Voted one of the world’s most beautiful places by the Architectural Digest magazine, The Dark Hedges are a sight to see for tree-lovers. They were planted in the 18th century and intertwine to create a mystical avenue. If you’re one for bright hues and colours that stand out, this might not be for you. However, the earthy tones of the trees are certainly spectacular.
Stourhead, Pride and Prejudice
Featured in the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice, Stourhead Landscape Garden in Wiltshire is a wonderful garden to visit. It is the place where Mr Darcy first proposed to Lizzie, before she made her exit across the Palladian Bridge. Work on the garden begun in 1740 and wasn’t completed until 1780. It’s since been described as a ‘living work of art’ — if that doesn’t convince you to visit, we don’t know what will!
The centrepiece of the world-famous garden is a lake which enhances the magnificence of the garden further. See a range of trees, from beech to Spanish chestnut, and explore the temples that sit close to the lake. Visit the garden in spring and you’ll also see rhododendrons in bloom, while in early summer you can enjoy the azaleas.
Alnwick Gardens, Harry Potter
Alnwick Castle in Northumberland was the castle that transformed into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the first time in 2000 during the filming of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It was also in the grounds of this castle where Harry and his friends learnt to fly their broomsticks. Students of Hogwarts walked through the courtyards and baileys of Alnwick Castle too, as they went about their day-to-day lives. Features of the castle were even shown as a path to Hagrid’s cabin and the Forbidden Forest.
Although it was the castle that was on the big screen, the gardens adjoined to the castle are something to see for garden lovers. The gardens are home to 200 different species of roses; see the Christmas Rose bloom in December and the English Shrub Rose open up in June. It’s wonderful all year round too, so you can enjoy brightly coloured water lilies in March and the delicate Peruvian Lily in June. There is also a large water feature that sits in the centre of the garden, which is something else to admire.
Take a trip down to the Poison Garden to discover plants that can kill as well. Educate yourselves on a range of flora that can cause death through pleasure or pain and see how some of the most popular drugs are grown. Just be sure to follow the recommendations that you do not smell or touch the plants, as visitors have been known to faint due to inhaling toxic fumes.
You can also visit the Hogs Head Inn, in Alnwick which is aptly named after the pub in the fictional town of Hogsmeade in Harry Potter.
The Eden Project, Die Another Day
The Eden Project is situated in the south of the UK, in the county of Cornwall. It’s considered to be the world’s biggest indoor rainforest and is made up of two huge biomes — a Rainforest Biome and a Mediterranean Biome. It is home to the longest zip wire in England too, which flies you over the biomes to give you a birds-eye view of the spectacles beneath. In 2002 though, the Eden Project became Gustav Graves’ Ice Palace and high security lair in the James Bond film, Die Another Day.
The biomes are a great way to see plants and wildlife that you’d have to usually cross oceans to be around. Experience tropical heat in the Rainforest Biome and discover over 1,000 varieties of plant — it’s even complete with a waterfall. Visit an authentic south-east Asian home too, as well as a vegetable garden to see how herbs, flowers and trees grow in the climate.
You can then experience temperatures from between 9 and 25°C in the Mediterranean Biome — a climate well-known for luscious fruits and tasty wines. Take a walk through the iconic grass trees, see huge aloe veras and walk past tulips in the springtime. There’s also a perfume garden, which is filled with scented plants such as jasmine, roses, lavender and thyme.
Aysgarth Falls, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Visit the waterfalls where Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves famously fights Little John, situated near the village of Aysgarth in the Yorkshire Dales. The falls are made up of three different waterfalls that are within walking distance. It was at the upper and middle fall that shot to fame in the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves film. You can pay a small, voluntary fee to get close to where the scene was filmed.
It’s an enjoyable walk through the woodland next to the falls too, along the River Ure. You can walk further than the falls to explore the village or Carperby and Castle Bolton as well, while in the spring and summer, expect to see wild flowers through the valley. Visitors have said that the site is best explored after heavy rainfall, when the water is most powerful and the falls look especially spectacular.