The beautiful Lake District has been the backdrop to many a blockbuster over the years. From cult classics, to romantic tales and children’s favourites. If you’re a movie buff with a passion for exploration, then there are some fantastic spots in the Lakes that you can visit, and follow in the footsteps of your favourite characters.
Thirlmere, where Dale Head Hall is situated, has been in plenty of films, including Star wars VII The Force Awakens. We even had a Bollywood film made on our grounds a few years ago!
Here are some of the most well-known films and their Lake District locations:
Star Wars VII The Force Awakens
The biggest blockbuster to have been part filmed in the Lake District was, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which uses the magnificent Derwentwater and Thirlmere (shame they CGI'd Dale Head Hall out!) as the backdrops for some truly epic fighter ship battle scenes.
In the film, when Rey arrives in the Lake District (The lakeside setting of Maz Kanata's Castle on Takodana) for the first time she utters, “I didn’t know there was so much green in the whole galaxy” - a reaction that lovers of the Lake District can surely share.
Withnail and I
Withnail & I (1987) is one of the most defining, cult British films of the 1980s. Celebrated for its exceptionally well-known and much recited script, and based on the story of two down-on-their-luck actors (Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann) in the late 1960s.
Much of the film is set in the Lake District, at Sleddale Hall (Crow Crag in the film) near Shap; which is still one of the most visited film locations in the UK. Picnic cinema host outdoor screenings of Withnail and I at Sleddale Hall, several times a year.
There are many renowned locations in Windermere and Ambleside that can be spotted in the recent two Peter Rabbit films. There are also several scenes that were filmed just across the road from Dale Head Hall!
As the steam-powered train chase picks up in Paddington 2, you will see the trains power through the Cumbrian countryside around Ullswater.
Check out all the amazing Lake District steam trains, for your own Padding-esq adventure
This 1970s cult classic, sees A deaf, dumb and blind kid become a master pinball player and the centre of a religious cult. Filming at the beginning and end of the movie was done in the Borrowdale valley, overlooking Derwent Water; and near Haystacks, overlooking Buttermere.
The life of children’s literary icon Beatrix Potter is captured perfectly in the 2006 film, Miss Potter, starring Renée Zellweger. The film beautifully highlights Miss Potter’s love of the Cumbrian landscape, its farming traditions and wild places.
Filming for "Miss Potter" took place at Loughrigg Terrace and Loughrigg Tarn, Grasmere and Yew Tree Farm, Coniston (which was actually owned by Potter in the 1930s).
Brief Encounter (1945). This classic film follows a man and a woman who fall in love at a train station and has become a classic British romantic drama. Middle Fell Bridge at Langdale is used as one of the scenes.
The French Lieutenant’s Woman
28 Days Later
Where would you run to in the event of apocalypse? Cumbria would surely be high on many people’s list...
Following on from a zombie pandemic, the film’s main characters escape to a cottage in the area around Ennerdale Lake, seen clearly in a panoramic sweep during the final scene.
Snow White and the Huntsman
The magical scenery of the Lake District is perfect for the enchanted landscape of a Snow White fairy-tale. Blea Tarn and the Langdale Pikes are used as a wilderness backdrop; while Cathedral Cave in Little Langdale stars as the entrance to a hidden safe-haven for fairies and other woodland magical creatures.
Swallows and Amazons
There have been two films now, based on the famous children’s adventure series by Arthur Ransome. Swallows and Amazons follows the unexpected adventures of a family of children who are on holiday in the Lake District. In the most recent version, much of the filming took place on Coniston Water, where Ransome himself first learned to sail, and where the children set sail for ‘Wild Cat Island’. The Wild Cat Island scenes were filmed on Peel Island. The the film’s world premier was held at Theatre By the Lake in Keswick.