Have you ever watched your favourite show and been blown away by the scenery? Or maybe you’ve vowed to book your next holiday to that beautiful beach you’ve seen on the big screen?
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, then you’re amongst thousands of tourists that have travelled specifically to a destination to seek out the places they’ve seen in movies and TV series.
Known as set-jetting, or a location vacation, this trend is sharply on the rise with cult TV shows such as Game of Thrones and Poldark attracting hordes of loyal fans to visit their filming locations.
Here in Dorset, the magnificent Jurassic Coast and unspoilt countryside attracts scores of film crews who come to take advantage of the county’s incredible backdrop. Read on for our top set-jetting picks – lights, camera, action!
The setting of the series stole the show; with writer Chris Chibnall deliberately using the local landscape to inform the drama. “Broadchurch was a love letter to the scenery of the Jurassic Coast” says Chris, “... the cliffs, the sea, the beach were all key elements of the story”.
Fans of the drama, affectionately termed ‘Broadies’, can see the police station, the newsagents, the pier and of course, iconic golden cliffs that became synonymous with the series.
Far From the Madding Crowd
Dorset’s rustic setting formed the backdrop for the 2015 film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd.
Hardy famously took his inspiration from Dorset’s wide, sweeping scenery, much of which remains unchanged to this day. In fact, actress Carey Mulligan who played Bathsheba Everdene remarked at how they “were in this sort of perfect portrait landscape of Hardy”, when they were filming.
Hardy setjetters to Dorset can visit Sherborne, which was turned into the market town of Casterbridge, Mapperton House which became Everdene Farm, Durdle Door where Sargeant Troy swam out to sea and the cliffs at West Bay where Gabriel Oak lost his flock of sheep.
In 2017, Hollywood descended on Swanage and Weymouth to film ‘Dunkirk’, Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed film about WW2’s ‘Operation Dynamo’.
Film buffs embarking on a ‘Dunkirk’ themed trip to Dorset would undoubtedly have to ride on the Swanage Railway to follow in Harry Styles’ footsteps and wander round Weymouth’s picturesque old harbour, where the Moonstone set off on its plucky rescue mission.
The poignant shot of the chalk cliffs at Studland where the soldiers got their first view of home can be recreated by booking a Jurassic Coast Cruise from Swanage Pier.
On Chesil Beach
Where better to film an adaption of Ian McEwan’s ‘On Chesil Beach’ than on Chesil Beach itself?
This sad tale of two newlyweds on their ill-fated honeymoon to Dorset plays out on the wild and windswept shingle bank of Chesil Beach, the dramatic location setting the tone for the tense scenes between the couple.
Contrary to its moody depiction in the film, Chesil Beach is breathtakingly beautiful and is a popular spot for fishing and wildlife watching. Setjetters should visit the eastern end of the beach at the Chesil Beach Visitor Centre where most of the shooting took place.
After you’ve climbed the bank and taken in the atmosphere, there are some great places to stop for a bite to eat including the Taste Café, Billy Winters and the Crab House Café, all within easy walking distance.
Lyme Regis is the latest place in Dorset to make it onto the big screen.
Released in late 2020, ‘Ammonite’ is a feature film about world famous fossil collector and paleontologist Mary Anning, and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea. The pair develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever.
Fans of Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, who play the main characters, can enjoy a fossil themed break to Lyme Regis and walk along the same very beach that Mary Anning discovered her first Ichthyosaur fossil.
Make sure you join a fossil walk from the Lyme Regis Museum and who knows - you could discover a fossilised ammonite of your own!