10 Doctor Who Filming Locations You can Actually Visit in Cardiff
If you're a fan of Doctor Who (and if you've clicked on this article, we're guessing you probably are) then you're likely already aware that the 52 year old sci-fi series is filmed in Wales. Fortunately for us, not all of it is done in the studio meaning you don't need a TARDIS to visit the same places as the Doctor; just a trip to Cardiff and this handy guide!
Westgate Street, Cardiff
Perhaps a strange place to kick off our list but -bear with us. The Series 9 episode 'Face the Raven' not only gave us Jenna Coleman's 'exit' (we're still getting over that one) but also served to introduce the Diagon Alley of the whoniverse we didn't even know we'd been waiting for. In the episode, the Doctor and Clara come across a hidden entrance to a secret alleyway -and it actually exists. Walk along Westgate Street and you can actually find the gap in the wall that (probably) leads to a secret, alien street. Neat!
St. Mary's Street, Cardiff
Back in 2005, Doctor Who literally exploded back onto our screens, when the London department store that Rose worked at went up in flames... except for the London part. The scene in question was actually shot on St Mary's street, using House of Fraser as a stand in. Shops on St Mary's Street and in Queens Arcade are also used later in the episode as well as during the series 2 opener (and David Tennant's debut) 'The Christmas Invasion.'
The National Museum of Wales
A Doctor Who staple, the National Museum of Wales, located in the heart Cardiff city centre has been used in several episodes, most notably, 'Dalek', 'Voyage of the Damned', 'The Big Bang' and -as seen simulcast in cinemas across the world- 'The Day of the Doctor'; the 50th anniversary special that saw Matt Smith, David Tennant and John Hurt team up (and even gave us a cheeky glimpse of current Doctor, Peter Capaldi's eyebrows). Founded in 1905, the beautiful building boasts rooms to please families and art and natural history lovers alike. (Just try not to steal a fez!)
Find out more about The National Museum of Wales
Located just outside Cardiff, Dyffryn Gardens has doubled for 18th century France in 'The Girl in the Fireplace', 19th century Scottish moors in 'Tooth and Claw' and a cyberspace reality in 'Forest of the Dead'. The Dyffryn Estate dates back to 640 AD and the gardens have been listed as one of the top 100 gardens in the UK by the British Tourist Authority. No wonder many of the episodes it's featured in focus on royalty!
Located right in the heart of the Cardiff City Centre, Cardiff Castle has been used for many scenes in both Doctor Who and spinoff Torchwood, most notably during the series 6 two-parter, 'The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People' and in the Christmas episode 'The Snowmen.' In the series 1 episode 'Boom Town' the castle was scheduled to be demolished for the Blaidd Drwg (Bad Wolf) project, which -thanks to the Ninth Doctor- fortunately didn't go as planned. (Phew!)
Find out more about Cardiff Castle
Cathedral Green, Llandaff
During the Eleventh Doctor's adventures with Amy Pond and Rory Williams, you would have been introduced to the fictional town of Leadworth... which was in fact, the small Welsh town of Llandaff. The Cathedral Green in particular was used memorably in Matt Smith's debut as the Eleventh Doctor in ‘The Eleventh Hour'. If you want to follow Amy and Rory's story then 'Come along, Pond!' a short trip away to Bute Esplanade in Cardiff Bay and you can view the TARDIS blue house the Doctor gifted them with in 'The God Complex'.
Another favourite. Located just outside Cardiff, Caerphilly Castle has been used in too many episodes to list. Most recently, it has served as the backdrop to the Neil Gaiman penned episode, 'Nightmare in Silver', the Robin Hood episode, 'Robot of Sherwood' and featured in the series 9 opener, 'The Magicians Apprentice'.
If you have time to spare, a small stroll across the road to Morgan Jones Park will bring you to the location that David Tennant's Tenth Doctor bid farewell to his companions in the series 4 finale 'Journeys End'.
Find out more about Caerphilly Castle
St Fagans National History Museum
Remember a certain two parter in 2008, when the Tenth Doctor had to re-write his biology to pass as human John Smith? Many of the scenes for 'Human Nature/ The Family of Blood' were shot at St Fagans, an open air museum chronicling the historical lifestyle of the Welsh people, making it the perfect setting for 1913. It was most recently seen in the series 9 episode 'The Woman Who Lived' with 'Game of Thrones' star, Maisie Williams.
Find out more about St Fagans National History Museum
Roald Dahl Plass
Any Torchwood fan worth their salt will be familiar with this one. Named after the Cardiff-born author, Roald Dahl Plass plays home to the secret location of The Hub, Torchwood's headquarters. Located on the Cardiff Space-Time Rift, the TARDIS can also use this spot to re-fuel on rift energy (as seen in 'Boom Town' and 'Utopia').
Of course, the complete Doctor Who experience wouldn't be the same without a few tears so if you really want to make yourself cry, it's only a short trip to Southerndown Beach, the place that doubled as - you guessed it - Bad Wolf Bay. After all, somebody has to finish the following sentence;
Rose Tyler, I-
Guest news story by Rachel Harris at The CDF - thecdf.co.uk
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