Top movie locations
On the Hollywood trail in Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire is a county as much famed for its use as a Hollywood movie location as it is revered for its beauty.
With its panoramic views, unspoilt beaches and dramatic coastline, it’s no wonder the county has provided the perfect location for film and TV directors.
If you’re a film & TV buff, or if you were unaware of our silver screen connections, follow our trail around the county and tread in the footsteps of Hollywood stars…
St Catherine’s Island, Tenby is the latest location to be used, this time for the BBC award-winning TV show Sherlock. The flag of Sherlock’s arch-enemy Moriarty was seen flying over the old fort.
The island or ‘Sherrinford’ (to give it it’s Sherlock name) was used as the secure location for the Sherlock’s forgotten sister, Euros.
The island began life as a military defence against the French and was completed in 1870. Today St Catherine’s Island is closed to visitors… unless you’re Sherlock Holmes.
Sam Claflin returned to Pembrokeshire this time with Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy and Jeremy Irons to film the comedy Their Finest. Set in the 1940’s it tells the story of filmmakers trying to make a patriotic film about Dunkirk, to boost morale during the Blitz.
You before me
Movie stars Sam Claflin, Emilia Clarke and Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom of Harry Potter fame) arrived in Pembroke to film the adaptation of Jojo Moyes best-selling novel ‘You before Me’
Filming took place all along Main Street in the town, within Pembroke Castle itself and along the millpond. The final film including the trailer features stunning aerial shots of Pembroke Castle.
Under Milk Wood
The latest film version of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood was filmed in the harbour village of Solva.
Marking the centenary of the poet’s birth, the play will enjoy its second big-screen outing.
Welshman Rhys Ifans takes the lead as First Voice in the play filmed in English and Welsh, directed by Kevin Allen – brother of Keith.
Under Milk Wood is set in the fictional Welsh seaside town of Llareggub (‘bugger all’ spelt backwards).
In 1972, Richard Burton starred in the first screen version of Thomas’ ‘play for voices’, with Elizabeth Taylor, Peter O’Toole and Vivien Leigh in support, shot on location in Lower Town Fishguard.
Forty-two years on, the radio drama, first performed in 1954, invited locals to sign up as film extras, so you may spot a few faces you encountered here while on your holiday!
Freshwater West was the backdrop to Sir Ridley Scott’s battle scenes for his version of Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett.
Film crews took residence in local hotels in the summer of 2009 and spent five weeks filming.
A cast and crew of more than 800, including 450 extras, took to the beach to film epic battle scenes for the Universal Pictures production. There were also 130 horses making an appearance, which had been stabled nearby, and a medieval settlement comprising of thatched huts, traditional coracles and makeshift shelters were constructed.
Freshwater West also became a temporary home to Harry Potter and the beautiful Shell Cottage, which attracted hoards of Potter fans, eager to catch a glimpse of their much-loved stars.
Built among the sand dunes of the popular surfing beach, Shell Cottage emerged as if by magic, as part of the final instalment in the multi-million pound Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
Some fans were lucky enough to get autographs from some of the stars, including Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe.
Snow White and The Huntsman
The sweeping vista of Marloes Sands was chosen as the site for some dramatic battle scenes in Snow White and the Huntsman Universal Pictures’ vision of the Snow White fairytale, starring Kristen Stewart, of Twilight fame, and Australian actor Chris Hemsworth.
A crew of hundreds set up camp above the cliffs of the beach and anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the action could easily get a bird’s eye view on the coast path. Filming saw up to 80 horses and riders, in armour and costume, charge up and down the beach.
In the film, Kristen and her entourage, in a dramatic swirl of sand, head for the castle of the wicked queen (played by Charlize Theron) but the extravagant fairytale towers were added by computer to the conveniently flat-topped Gateholm Island, which stands just yards off the headland.
Marloes Sands was also a location used in the 1968 film The Lion in Winter, which starred Peter O’Toole, Katharine Hepburn and Anthony Hopkins.
The Edge of Love
In 2007, Hollywood stars were spotted in Tenby as Sienna Miller and Keira Knightley arrived in the popular family resort to film another Dylan Thomas movie.
The Edge of Love focused on a reputed love triangle between the poet, his wife Caitlin and his childhood friend Vera Phillips. Miller played the part of the free-spirited Caitlin, while Knightley was Vera. Welshman Matthew Rhys took on the role of Dylan, while Vera’s eventual husband, William Killick, was played by Cillian Murphy.
Barafundle Bay regularly voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in Wales, if not the world, was used as the main setting for 2010 film Third Star, featuring Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, written by Pembrokeshire-born, Vaughan Sivell.
In the plot, after celebrating his 29th and, as everyone including himself knows, last birthday, James, a young man terminally ill with cancer, sets out on one last hiking trip with his three best friends, Davy, Bill and Miles. Their destination is James’s favourite beach at Barafundle.
Over the decades, Pembrokeshire has proven its star quality and has been graced by actors including Helena Bonham Carter, Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Gregory Peck, Anthony Hopkins, Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton.
So, there you have it, Pembrokeshire is a true blockbuster. Now get out there and follow in the footsteps of your favourite Hollywood actors. Planning to visit a movie location? Search for accommodation close to your chosen film set or visit them all.