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Shakespeare in Love

Film and TV locations in Norfolk

Our beautiful county is no stranger to Hollywood, TV cameras and the bright lights. Gwyneth Paltrow and Keira Knightley both brought psazz and glamour to Holkham, Julie Christie, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor elsewhere in the county, and James Bond has fought international baddies in north Norfolk, er… paddy fields. Oh, and, of course, Alan Partridge had the slowest ever high-speed chase on record, from Norwich to Cromer.

Plus, in 2020 the star-laden The Personal Life of David Copperfield filmed in King's Lynn.

Screen Norfolk: filmed in Norfolk

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but gives you some of our top film and TV locations…

A few of Norfolk's film and TV locations...

Holkham beach

Holkham beach

Shakespeare in Love with Gwyneth Paltrow, Annihilation with Natalie Portman, The Eagle Has Landed

Holkham Hall

Holkham Hall and Estate

The Duchess with Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes, Dean Spanley with Peter O'Toole, All The King's Men with David Jason

Norman castle and cathedral


Stardust with Claire Danes, Marvel's Avengers with Robert Downey jnr, Tulip Fever with Judi Dench

Blickling at night

Blickling Hall

The Wicked Lady with Margaret Lockwood and James Mason

Norfolk Broads

Norfolk Broads

Masqueraded as Vietnamese paddy fields in Full Metal Jacket

Cley sunset

Cley Marshes

The Conspirator with Elizabeth Taylor and The Duchess with Keira Knightley


Cromer Pier

The denouement of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa with Steve Coogan

King's Lynn at night

King's Lynn

Revolution with Al Pacino and Nastassja Kinski and Dickens adaptations

Heydon village


Cock & Bull Story with Steve Coogan and Monty Python's Village Idiots


All The King's Men with David Jason told the true story of the Sandringham Battalion who disppeared at Gallipoli
Captain Mainwaring statue


Classic BBC comedy Dad's Army with Arthur Lowe, Clive Dunn, Ian Le Mesurier and Ian Lavender


Julia with Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave - Winterton played the part of Cape Cod

Blickling Hall - The Wicked Lady

The Wicked Lady (1945), a full-blooded historical romp starring James Mason and Margaret Lockwood in the eponymous role as a husband-stealing, poisoning, highway robber-cum-Lady of the Manor, was filmed at the National Trust Jacobean property. The film scandalised American audiences with Miss Lockwood’s low-cut décolletage.

Blickling - a wonder of Norfolk

The Broads - Full Metal Jacket

Full Metal Jacket

Do you think the Norfolk Broads look like Asian paddy fields? No, nor us. Still, Stanley Kubrick did when he needed a location for a US Army helicopter shooting up the ‘Vietnamese countryside’ in Full Metal Jacket (1987).

45 Years (2015), starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, also made good use of the Broads (also see Norwich).

Only in the Go-Between though (see Heydon) did a lead character actually get in the water… at Hickling Broad.

Explore the Broads

Burnham Deepdale - James Bond

James Bond in Norfolk

Farmland in the village was transformed into a North Korean paddy field for the Bond film Die Another Day (2002), starring Pierce Brosnan as 007. So what is about film directors thinking Norfolk’s stunning countryside looks like Communist paddy fields?

Explore north Norfolk

Cley-next-the-Sea - Conspirator

Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor filmed scenes for Conspirator (1949) at Cley Windmill. The film also starred Robert Taylor and Honor Blackman.

Almost sixty years later the marshes were used for The Duchess (2008) with Keira Knightley.

Explore north Norfolk

Cromer Pier - Alpha Papa

Alpha Papa

Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (2015), after a low-speed car ‘chase’ from Norwich to Sheringham, comes to a thrilling conclusion in a shoot-out on Cromer Pier.

Cromer Pier - a wonder of Norfolk

Gorleston-on-Sea - new Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis film

In May 2018 more than 6000 people gathered on the fine sands of Gorleston-on-Sea's beach to be extras in Danny Boyle's Beatles-inspired movie Yesterday.

Boyle, who won a Best Director Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire in 2009, has made a film about a man who wakes up one day to discover he is the only person in the world who is aware of The Fab Four. 

The extras were there to play an audience for a rooftop performance at the Pier Hotel by the film's leading character Jack, played by Himesh Patel.

The film, written by Richard Curtis, features Lily James and Ed Sheeran.

'I loved Gorleston, which is a town I did not know,' said Danny. 'You encounter one of Britain's most remarkable beaches and I am amazed that no-one seems to know about it. It's one of the great secrets of England, Gorleston beach. It's beautiful.'

Watch the trailer to Yesterday

Danny Boyle films new movie with Richard Curtis and 5000 extras on Gorleston beach

Heydon - Monty Python, Cock & Bull Story

This charming, cul-de-sac village has long been attractive to film makers.

Heydon Hall has featured in A Cock and Bull Story (2005) with Steve Coogan and Gillian Anderson and The Grotesque (1995) with Alan Bates and Sting, which also shot at Norwich’s Guildhall and Bethel Street as well as Halvergate Marshes.

The picturesque village green featured in Joseph Losey’s The Go-Between (see also Melton Constable) and in Monty Python’s village idiot sketch.

Holkham - The Duchess, Shakespeare in Love

The Duchess at Holkham

Holkham Hall is arguably Norfolk’s most significant film location. The 18th century Palladian house has been used for The Duchess (2008), starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes, All The King’s Men (1999) with David Jason, and Dean Spanley (2008) with Peter O’Toole and Sam Neill.

The nearby beach has seen its fair share of filming too… The Eagle Has Landed (1976) with Michael Caine, Shakespeare in Love (1999) with Gwyneth Paltrow, and Annihilation (2018) with Natalie Portman.

Hollywood comes to Holkham

Norfolk's top beaches

King's Lynn - The Personal Life of David Copperfield, Revolution, Out Of Africa

The Personal Life of David Copperfield

Quiet and unassuming King’s Lynn became vibrant and violent eighteenth century New York for the film Revolution (1985), starring Al Pacino, Nastassja Kinski and Donald Sutherland, with King's Street transformed. Directed by Hugh Hudson, the film proved to be a massive flop.

There must be something Dickensian about the location too – both Martin Chuzzlewit and David Copperfield, with Bob Hoskins and Nicholas Lyndhurst, have been filmed here for TV.

In 2020 King’s Lynn features in a Dickens’ adaptation, Armando Iannucci’s The Personal Life of David Copperfield, with a starry cast including Tilda Swinton, Dev Patel, Hugh Laurie, Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie, Peter Capaldi and Paddington himself… Ben Whishaw.

The Personal Life of David Copperfield

Other scenes for the film were shot on the beach at Weybourne.

Film producers Lionsgate said, "King’s Lynn, itself once an important port, stood in for the Great Yarmouth dockside – the first time a feature film had so extensively used the town since 'Revolution'."

Cinematographer Zac Nicholson said, "We see [the Norfolk setting] on our way to the real heart of the film. Towards the end we get very... claustrophobic. I wanted to contrast that Norfolk landscape, stretching on forever, with the slightly intense close emotions."

Legendary British film-makers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s One Of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942) made use of the town too, as well as locations in The Wash and Fens, and Operation Crossbow (1965), with Sophie Loren, filmed in Purfleet Street.

Nearby Castle Rising was used in Out Of Africa (1985), which starred Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, with the castle being turned into a Danish castle.

Explore King's Lynn

Norfolk castles

Langham - The Dambusters

While we wait for Peter ‘Lord of the Rings’ Jackson’s remake, we can watch the second world war film The Dambusters (1954) and try to spot the now-deserted Langham airfield, between Langham and Cockthorpe in north Norfolk. The classic tale of Barnes Wallis’ Bouncing Bomb, starring Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave, also featured King’s Lynn and The Wash, which doubled as the Dutch coast.

Funnily enough, we always like to joke that the land you can see from Hunstanton cliffs across The Wash is Holland…

Little Walsingham - The Glorious 39

Wartime thriller Glorious 39 (2009), directed by Stephen Poliakoff, made use of Little Walsingham Abbey and Little Walsingham House and starred, get this, Eddie Redmayne, David Tennant, Christopher Lee, Bill Nighy, Jenny Agutter, Julie Christie, Hugh Bonneville and Romola Garai. Phew! Other locations were St Nicholas Church at Salthouse and Holkham Hall.

Lynford Hall - 'Allo 'Allo, You Rang My Lord?

The cast and crew of 1980s hit comedy ‘Allo ‘Allo didn’t get out of the BBC studios very often, but when they did they came to Norfolk. Lynford Hall in the Brecks was one location, as was nearby Denver Mill and Beeston. Lynford Hall was also used in two other Jimmy Perry and David Croft series, Dad’s Army (see Thetford and Weybourne) and You Rang My Lord?

Explore Brecks & Thetford Forest

Melton Constable - The Go-Between

The Go-Between

17th century Melton Constable Hall provided the central shooting location and production headquarters for The Go-Between (1971), Joseph Losey and Harold Pinter’s adaptation of L.P.Hartley’s 1953 novel, starring Julie Christie and Alan Bates. Norfolk forms the backdrop for a long hot summer in the shape also of Norwich, Hanworth, Heydon, Hickling and Thornage.

Muckleburgh - Partners in Crime

Partners in Crime

The BBC’s Agatha Christie spy drama Partners in Crime (2015) featured husband and wife team Tommy (David Walliams) and Tuppence Beresford (Jessica Raine) as amateur sleuths foiling dastardly plots in 1950s Cold War Britain.

Muckleburgh Military Collection

Norwich - Marvel's Avengers, 45 Years, Stardust and more!

Stardust filmed in Elm Hill

As Alan Partridge lives in Norwich, it’s only right his major film breakthrough in Alpha Papa (2015) was actually filmed in the city, on the Dereham Road (singing along to Roachford) and St Peter’s Street, outside City Hall. And after a campaign supported by, literally, tens of people, the call to premiere the film at ‘Anglia Square not Leicester Square’ was won! Anglia Square being in Norwich, and having a cinema. You see what they did there? What do you mean Alan Partridge’s not real?

Norman Foster’s futuristic Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia played the Upstate New York HQ of Marvel’s Avengers in Age of Ultron (2015) starring Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans, Ant-Man (2015) with Paul Rudd and Spiderman: Homecoming (2017) with Tom Holland.

Elm Hill was an important location in the fantasy adventure Stardust (2007), starring Clare Danes, Robert de Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Sienna Miller. With the addition of a thatched awning, The Briton's Arms coffee shop was transformed into 'The Slaughtered Prince'.

Elm Hill has also appeared in Monty Python’s And Now For Something Completely Different and in one episode of the BBC’s 1980s antiques drama Lovejoy with Ian McShane.

The interior of Norwich’s Norman cathedral was turned into a medieval castle in the fairytale adventure Jack the Giant Slayer (2013). Directed by Bryan Singer, it starred Ewan McGregor, Ian McShane and Bill Nighy. The cathedral has also appeared in Dean Spanley (2008) with Peter O’Toole and Sam Neill, The Go-Between (The Maid’s Head Hotel, Cathedral, Tombland and Thorpe Station) and more recently Tulip Fever (2016), a period drama set in 17th century Amsterdam during The Tulip Wars and starring Judi Dench, Christoph Waltz and Cara Delevingne.

Explore Norwich

Cathedral's top 12 must-sees

45 Years with Charlotte Rampling

The city didn’t have to come to a standstill for 45 Years (2015), starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay: the filming was done secretly so those ‘extras’ outside Jarrolds’ Department Store are genuine shoppers! Other city locations were London Street, St Benedict’s, the Royal Arcade and the Assembly Rooms.

Andrew Haigh’s rave-reviewed drama about an ageing couple whose marriage hits the rocks also featured the Norfolk Broads. Rampling and Courtenay jointly won the best acting prize at the Berlin Film Festival.

Sandringham - All The King's Men

All The King's Men with David Jason

It’s unlikely that the Royal Family’s private home would be used as a film or TV location, but the BBC’s All The Kings Men (1999), with David Jason and Dame Maggie Smith, was different – it tells the story of a group of world war one volunteers from the Sandringham estate, led by estate manager Captain Frank Beck, who joined the Norfolk Regiment and inexplicably disappeared in Gallipoli in 1915.

You can learn more about the story at the Sandringham Museum.

The TV drama was also shot at Blickling, Cromer, West Newton, Sheringham, Burnham Deepdale and Holkham.

Swaffham - Kingdom

Swaffham doubled as the fictional town of Market Shipborough in ITV’s Kingdom (2007-9). The series starred Stephen Fry as county solicitor Peter Kingdom. Oakleigh House was used as his office - while the Greyhound Pub was transformed into The Startled Duck. Peter Kingdom was often seen driving his Alvis TE21 around the town’s famous buttercross. Just don’t get us started on the Norfolk accents… Mummerset more like!

Thetford - Dad's Army

Captain Mainwaring

Most of the external scenes from Dad's Army, the original, classic BBC comedy, not the awful recent film remake, were filmed in and around Thetford. Thetford Guildhall was used as Walmington-on-Sea Town Hall and the series frequently used Nether Row, Newtown and Old Bury Road.

During the making of the episodes, the cast and crew stayed at the The Bell Hotel and The Anchor Hotel (now demolished). Nearby Stanford Battle Area (STANTA) was used extensively for the action sequences.

Dad's Army Museum

Walpole St Andrew - Atonement

Streets of this small village near King’s Lynn were turned into a second world war Dunkirk for the film Atonement (2007) – it was here Robbie (James McAvoy) discovers the bodies of the murdered schoolgirls (from the Sandra Reynolds Model Agency in Norwich and, don’t worry, very much still alive).

Also starring Keira Knightley, it was based on a book by Ian McEwan, a graduate of the Creating Writing course at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

The Walpoles

Wells-next-the-Sea - A Warning to the Curious

If a stranger appears from nowhere and says to you, ‘No diggin’ ‘ere’, you’d best move.. smartish. That’s the message we get from A Warning To The Curious (1972), a BBC Christmas ghost film based on a M.R.James’ story about the search for an Anglo-Saxon crown and filmed at Wells, as well as Holkham, Happisburgh and Waxham. No, really, the north Norfolk coast is much more inviting than this…

But if you insist on being scared, look it up on You Tube. 


Weybourne - Dad's Army, A Warning to the Curious

Weybourne railway station has been a popular film/TV location for many years. It is perhaps best known as Walmington-on-Sea in the classic Dad’s Army episode The Royal Train. It also featured as Arcady in the TV series Love on a Branch Line (1994) starring Leslie Phillips and Maria Aitkin, in A Warning To the Curious (see above), and in Stephen Poliakoff’s The Lost Prince (2003).

Heritage railways in Norfolk

Winterton-on-Sea - Julia

Who knew Winterton could pass for Cape Cod? Well, it does in Julia (1977), starring Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave. Furthermore, it went on to win three Oscars, for Best Supporting Actress (Redgrave), Best Supporting Actor (Jason Robards) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Alvin Sargent).

Norfolk's top beaches