Wales has been a popular filming location for TV and film productions for many years. We're the home of Doctor Who and Gavin and Stacey. It's where some of your favourite Netflix shows including Sex Education, Requiem and The Witcher are filmed. Our mountains, beaches and castles have provided a backdrop to many Hollywood epics. Here's a shortlist of our recommendations for some of the most famous Welsh film locations you can visit.
Doctor Who, 1963 til present
Doctor Who, which is filmed all over Wales, was previously based at Roath Lock in Cardiff Bay, a 16,000 square metre purpose-built BBC site where Casualty and Pobol y Cwm are also created. The iconic series is now made by production company Bad Wolf at its Wolf Studios Wales base, just outside Cardiff.
Regular Doctor Who filming locations in Cardiff included National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans National Museum of History, the city centre streets - especially around Westgate Street and Queen Street, and Llandaff. Outside Cardiff, St Donat’s Castle in Llantwit Major, Caerphilly Castle, and Tredegar House in Newport are worth a visit.
Check out our Doctor Who filming locations page for information on Doctor Who tours in South Wales, and some of the places you can visit.
The 'BBC 100 in Wales' exhibition at National Museum Cardiff, on until 16 April 2023, includes Doctor Who props and costumes as part of the exhibit, as well as behind the scenes materials from a number of BBC programmes.
Nearly 35 years after scenes from the original Willow (1988) film were shot in Wales, LucasFilms returned to film the sequel series for Disney+. Filming took place in the Brecon Beacons, Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park, locations across South Wales, Pendine Sands in Pembrokeshire and Neath Abbey. Find out more in our article about the Welsh destinations starring in the new Willow Disney+ series.
Sex Education, 2019 til present
Netflix's massive hit Sex Education has encouraged a whole new audience to fall in love with the beautiful Wye Valley. The majority of the show is filmed in Wales, and our Sex Education filming locations page has info on places featured in the show you can visit.
If you're short on time Tintern is worth a visit for the old railway bridge Otis and Eric regularly cycled over to school, and the spooky ruins of Tintern Abbey. Monmouth and Llandogo also feature regularly in the show.
His Dark Materials, 2019 til 2022
The HBO TV show, based on Philip Pullman's epic His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy, follows Lyra, an orphan searching for a missing friend. The majority of the fantasy world was filmed indoors using green screen at Wolf Studios in Cardiff, by Bad Wolf Productions.
While there aren't any exterior locations you can visit, you can head to the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea to see a fantastic free exhibition about the series. Areas of the gallery have been filled with props, beautiful costumes and impressive set pieces, including the Cittàgazze angels and Lord Asriel’s projector. You can also see concept boards, illustrations, videos and visual effects sequences. The 'His Dark Materials – World Building in Wales' exhibition is open until 23 April 2023.
A Discovery of Witches, 2018 til 2022
Also produced by Bad Wolf and filmed at Wolf Studios Wales, Sky’s supernatural TV series A Discovery of Witches is an adaption of Deborah Harkness’ historical fantasy trilogy. Hacksaw Ridge leading lady Teresa Palmer stars as Diana, a historian descended from witches. Location filming took place at the atmospheric Carew Castle in Pembrokeshire, with Australian Palmer describing the Norman fortress site as ‘crazy beautiful’.
Find out more on our Discovery of Witches locations page.
Britannia, 2017 til 2022
Jez Butterworth’s series for Sky Atlantic and Amazon Prime follows the Roman conquest of Britain, or Britannia, a ‘mysterious land ruled by warrior women and powerful druids who can channel the powerful forces of the underworld’. Wales’ ancient landscape offered the obvious setting for this epic depiction of Britannia with Cwm Porth in Ystradfellte and Llyn y Fan Fach in Llanddeusant providing the backdrop for meadow and waterfall settings, and coastal scenes shot at the iconic Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula. Nash Point in Marcross and Henrhyd Falls in Coelbren were also used as locations throughout the series.
Gavin and Stacey, 2007 til 2019
This much-loved BBC comedy drama put Barry so firmly on the map that local guides offer amusing coach tours of many of the locations featured in the series. Essential stops include Trinity Street where Stacey and her family live, Marco’s Café where Stacey gets a job and St Peter’s Church in Peterston-Super-Ely, where Nessa and Dave nearly get married.
Read about the Gavin and Stacey locations in Wales.
BBC and Netflix joint psychological thriller Requiem sees a woman investigating the disappearance of a child in the fictional Welsh village of Penllynith, and much of filming took place in real-life Welsh locations of Newport, Pembrokeshire and Dolgellau in Eryri (Snowdonia).
Requiem creator and writer Kris Mrksa felt Wales offered the perfect dramatic setting, saying: “When I visited Wales, I fell in love with the place. It has a mystical feel, and the history there is very palpable. There is a druidic vibe there, too. (Characters) Matilda and Hal are quickly drawn into that world and enmeshed in it. The Welsh town becomes a character in its own right.”
Journey’s End, 2017
Set over four days during WWI, this feature-length version of the play by RC Sheriff stars Paul Bettany and Sam Clafin and uses a litany of Welsh locations as evocative wartime backdrops.
National Trust property, Tredegar House in Newport was transformed into a military base for the film. With 90 acres of parkland surrounding the grand 17th-century house, the expanse of green proved the ideal choice for the garrison scenes. Pinewood Studios, Cardiff, Old Beaupre Castle, Cowbridge and Neath Abbey also stand in for northern France throughout the film.
Being Human, 2011 til 2013
The first two series of BBC3’s Being Human were set in Bristol, but in the third series, the four protagonists moved to a former B&B called Honolulu Heights on Coast View Road in Barry Island. In reality, this is an ordinary house on the corner of Cannon Street. The Maerdy Hotel in Pencoed stands in for the Barry Grand Hotel, where Hal and Tom get jobs in the fifth series.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 2011
The Harry Potter films used incredible locations all over the UK - however they came to Wales to film what was probably the saddest scene in the whole series. The design team for the seventh instalment of the Harry Potter saga recreated Shell Cottage, Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour’s Cornish home, in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Complete with three-storey attic, shell-tiled roof and crooked chimneys, it was built on the sandy dunes behind Freshwater West beach in April 2009 and deconstructed after filming finished. There is still a shrine to Dobby the House Elf, but please protect the beach and leave no trace if you visit to pay your respects.
As well as being used to film Harry Potter, Freshwater West beach is a great spot for watching experienced surfers, although the strong waves and rip currents means it's not so good for swimming. The wide, sandy beach has plenty of space to run around and rockpools to explore. The National Trust owned beach has dunes that form part of a legally protected conservation area, so you can expect to see plenty of wildlife and flora.
Merlin, 2008 til 2012
While Chateau de Pierrefonds in France was chosen to represent Camelot in this BBC medieval fantasy inspired by the legends of King Arthur, other interior and exterior sequences were filmed in beautiful locations all over Wales. Merlin filming locations in Wales included Cosmeston Medieval Village, the Brecon Beacons National Park, Castell Coch and Caerphilly, Chepstow and Raglan castles.
Torchwood, 2006 til 2011
Another show using Cardiff filming locations, however it's Cardiff Bay taking a starring role in this BBC series. The Hub, Torchwood’s secret headquarters, is located underground in Roald Dahl Plass, beneath William Pye’s stainless steel Water Tower sculpture. The Wales Millennium Centre often appears as a backdrop. In Torchwood: Miracle Day, Gwen Cooper lives at The Old Rectory on Rhossili Bay, a cottage owned by the National Trust.
Robin Hood, 2010
In June 2009, another crew set up on Freshwater West – this time, to film an epic battle sequence for Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, in which horsemen with pennants gallop along the water’s edge. Apparently, Russell Crowe loved it here so much that instead of being helicoptered back to his London hotel after filming, he opted to camp on the sand for several nights. Wild camping isn't actually allowed on the beach, but there are several campsites in Pembrokeshire where you can sleep under canvas.
Clash of the Titans, 2010
If you're looking for fantasy film locations in Wales, the Harriet Hole in Dinorwic Slate Quarry was used to film parts of Clash of the Titans. This former slate quarry, the second largest in Wales, also appeared in Willow (1988) and Street Fighter (1994). It’s home to the National Slate Museum. Dinorwic is now part of the Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales, and an intriguing place to explore.
The Edge of Love, 2008
Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller and Matthew Rhys star in this film set in London and Wales and based loosely on events in the life of the poet Dylan Thomas. Key scenes were filmed in the charming seaside town of New Quay during 2007. The unit also spent time in Cardigan, Tenby, Laugharne, Betws-y-Coed, Swansea and Cardiff, and stayed at Ty Mawr Mansion in Cilcennin, Lampeter.
Die Another Day, 2002
Penbryn Beach in Ceredigion serves as a stand-in for North Korea in the 20th Bond film, directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Pierce Brosnan. The celebrities may have long since moved on but this beautiful beach, owned by the National Trust, is still a great spot for the other kind of stargazing – it’s almost completely unspoilt by light pollution.