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TV and film locations in Hampshire - visit the real Downton Abbey and more!

Hampshire is filled with beautiful and varied scenery, from the rugged moors and woodlands of the New Forest, to the historic architecture of Winchester and the coastlines around Portsmouth and Southampton. It’s no wonder that so many films and TV series have chosen to have this county in their backdrop. Lee-on-Solent was subject to the dog fights of 2017 epic Dunkirk, and family favourite of the early 80s Worzel Gummidge was filmed around the Stockbridge and Kings Somborne area.

There are hundreds of TV and film locations in Hampshire, but I’ve chosen a selection of my favourites by area. I’ve also included some information on things to do and places to eat whilst you’re there, to help you make the most of your visit. Why not have a staycation in Hampshire and tick some of these locations off your list?

November 2, 2022


Highclere Castle - the legendary Downton Abbey

The most iconic TV and film location in Hampshire for me is Highclere Castle, namely for the international hit that is Downton Abbey. You can visit the house and grounds at certain times of the year, and there are many Downton Abbey snippets during the tour of the house. I loved recognising spots like Lady Mary’s bedroom, and could just imagine Mrs Patmore and Daisy cooking away in the kitchens. I would definitely recommend the afternoon tea here, and sampling the Highclere Castle gin at the outdoor bar in summer.
If you’re not a Downton fan, you may also recognise the gardens from films such as The Secret Garden (1987), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Eyes Wide Shut.

Winchester Cathedral - royal connections

Let’s continue our tour of TV and film locations in Hampshire, in the former capital city of England. It will come as no surprise that Winchester Cathedral makes a beautiful backdrop, and it was chosen to double as the Vatican City in Tom Hanks’ movie The Da Vinci Code. Filming for Netflix’s The Crown also took place here, for both Charles and Diana’s wedding and Lord Mountbatten’s funeral. The Winchester College area was used for some of Hugh Jackman’s scenes in Les Miserables.
Whilst in Winchester you could also visit The Great Hall, home of King Arthur’s Round Table and used for the BBC’s Wolf Hall. There’s a great selection of independent shops, restaurants and bars in Winchester too – grab a luxury hot chocolate from Flat White’s Coffee, or The Square to keep you warm whilst you explore.

Aldershot and Farnborough

Hampshire’s military areas provide a popular base for Hollywood filming. You may have seen Aldershot’s barracks in Bond films Die Another Day, and Quantum of Solace. The latter also features scenes at Farnborough airport. The airport also appears in Leonardo DiCaprio’s film Inception, where Saito’s helicopter lands down onto the modern airfield. Farnborough airport is host to an international air show, a huge showcase of aircraft which entertains over 200,000 people.


Hawley is a small village in north-eastern Hampshire, almost on the Surrey border, which I hadn’t heard of until researching this article. I need to add it to my list of places to visit, because there are a few good movies which have been filmed here.There’s Hawley Lake, which features in the opening scenes of Sahara, and Hawley Woods which you’ll see in a woodland scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Yet another Bond film features here; Die Another Day managed to turn Hawley Bear Pit into the North-South Korean border. Nearby Minley Manor was used as a film location for the fantasy movie Stardust.
If you’re visiting Hawley Woods, you can get refreshments at Coffee Shop on the Green. You’re also pretty close to the aforementioned locations of Aldershot, Farnborough Airport and Blackbushe Airport where racing film Rush was filmed.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard - Look Down!

Let’s move from the north, all the way to the south of Hampshire to Portsmouth. The historic dockyard is worth a visit at any time; and is free to wander around with payment only required when going inside one of the ships. The Mary Rose is a great attraction for anyone interested in Tudor or maritime history, as one of our most well-known shipwrecks. You can also go aboard HMS Victory; best known as Nelson’s flagship in the Battle of Trafalgar.

If you venture to Dock No.9 specifically, you are looking at the dock used in the opening scenes of Les Miserables. Picture the prisoners pulling on the ropes whilst singing to ‘Look Down’. HMS Westminster was used as a location for (yes another) Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.
There are plenty of restaurants and bars in the vicinity, and Gunwharf Quays is a short walk away with even more options plus a host of outlet stores.

River Hamble - Howard's Way

The River Hamble is most notably known for being the location of Howard’s Way, a TV series which ran from 1985-1990. You could visit the yachting village of Hamble to soak up the scenery. Nearby is Old Bursledon where you’ll find the Elephant Boatyard and Jolly Sailor pub which were regularly seen on the programme.
One of the most popular things to do in Hamble is to take the ‘little pink ferry’ which runs between Hamble and Warsash. There are also a number of companies running boat trips there which offer beautiful river cruises, or you can take part in paddle-boarding if you prefer to be more active. There’s a selection of cafes and restaurants once you’ve finished exploring.

And finally... Basingstoke

And finally, my home-town of Basingstoke does get a mention. The award-winning (or maybe not) Pride & Prejudice and Zombies was filmed at Basing House. And in Only Fools and Horses, it is mentioned that Rodney attended an art college in Basingstoke for just three weeks before being expelled for smoking cannabis. What a claim to fame!

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November 2, 2022