Made up of the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, East Anglia is a most beautiful part of the country. Tucked away to the east, its flat, green spaces roll on for miles. Given its beauty, it’s not surprising that so many films and TV shows have been shot here over the years.
From the fantasy series of Harry Potter to the Second World War comedies Dad’s Army and ‘Allo ‘Allo, our quintessential landscapes play an important and recognisable part in some of our most treasured productions. Even James Bond has visited the region.
Read on to discover some favourite filming locations in Suffolk, Norfolk and beyond.
Harry Potter & Lovejoy in Lavenham
Wizards and antiques meet in this picturesque medieval village
Inhabited by an infant Harry Potter and scene of his parents’ death, the small community of Godric’s Hollow is in fact Lavenham in Suffolk. Although featured in the films Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Parts 1 & 2 none of the cast actually filmed in the town. Instead, the houses themselves were caught on camera, before Daniel Radcliffe and co were superimposed into the scenes. In this way, the town’s guildhall became the derelict home of Harry’s parents, while nearby de Vere House was used as his birthplace. It has now become one of the most photographed doorways in the UK!
Harry Potter is not the only famous character to visit Lavenham. The titular character of Stanley Kubrick’s period drama Barry Lyndon had his leg amputated in an inn following a duel. That inn was also the Tudor-built guildhall.
No article about Lavenham is complete without mention of one of Suffolk’s fondest exports, the loveable rogue and antiques dealer, Lovejoy. Played by Ian McShane, the actor filmed many scenes in the town. From the timber framed buildings to the attractive marketplace, Lavenham is backdrop to countless Lovejoy escapades. As an interesting piece of pub trivia, the final ever episode of the popular series was titled ‘Last Tango in Lavenham’.
Long Melford – Home of antiques shops and Mr Toad
Local halls serve as home to interesting characters
Throughout the late eighties and early nineties, Lovejoy’s Morris Minor was seen throughout East Anglia. Other local backdrops included Newmarket, Clare, and Bury St Edmunds. Two of the more iconic locations are Belchamp Hall, just inside the Essex border, which doubled as Felsham Hall, Lady Jane’s stately home; and the Bull Hotel and many antiques shops of Long Melford, which all feature heavily in the show.
Long Melford had been caught on camera many years before though. In Michael Reeves’s classic film Witchfinder General, the Magistrate’s House was in fact Long Melford’s Kentwell Hall. The hall, which is found north of Sudbury, was also used in Terry Gillian’s 2005 children’s film Wind in the Willows, as the eponymous Toad Hall, home of the reckless Mr Toad.
World War II comedies in Thetford
Norfolk transformed into the towns of Walmington-on-Sea and Nouvion
Moving north into Norfolk, Thetford and nearby Mundford were both important sites for fans of the wartime comedy series of Dad’s Army and ‘Allo ‘Allo.
Despite the choice of Yorkshire town, Bridlington as the fictional Walmington-on-Sea in the most recent film, the original home of the platoon was Thetford. Iconic locations include the guildhall, which became the town hall and the Palace Cinema which featured in a couple of episodes.
Even today, the show’s legacy lives on in the town. Thetford has a charming museum dedicated to the show, and a statue of Captain Mainwaring, situated close to the River Little Ouse.
The firing practice seen in the episode ‘Wake up Walmington’ was filmed at Lynford Hall in Munford. This was also the setting for another of David Croft’s creations – ‘Allo ‘Allo. In the show, the hall’s courtyard area can be recognised as the town’s square, and includes the exterior of Rene’s Café.
The front of the building was shot as the entrance to Herr Flick’s Gestapo headquarters.
Framlingham, Ely and Other filming locations
Kings, Queens and spies spotted around East Anglia
Further afield, Elveden Hall in Suffolk has been used for scenes in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and the James Bond film The Living Daylights. To the east, Framlingham is the setting for the BBC4 comedy Detectorists. Starring Toby Jones and The Office’s Mackenzie Crook, the programme centres on the exploits of two metal detectorists, their lives and loves. The show won a BAFTA in 2015.
Found 10 miles northeast of Ipswich, the former RAF base Bentwaters Park in Rendlesham has also been used in many film and TV shows. Thanks to its 1.4 mile runway and multiple bomb proof hangers, it’s a wonderful setting for car shows. Top Gear and its most recent incarnation The Grand Tour have both filmed on the base, as have the actors in the film Fast & Furious 6. The location has also been used for the TV shows, Dog Borstal, Derren Brown: Apocalypse, and Space Cadets – a show that convinced 12 members of the public they were going into space, even though they never actually left the ground!
Finally, one of East Anglia’s most famous filming locations is that of Ely Cathedral. Originally built in 1803, the Cathedral which is known as the ‘ship of the fens’ has been featured in many films and TV series, including The Theory of Everything, Macbeth, The King’s Speech, The Crown and Granchester.
East Anglia as a place to live
Whether you’re an antiques dealer or an aspiring wizard, East Anglia has many beautiful homes that will grab your attention. At David Burr, we’re experts in assisting clients relocate within Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. Visit our property pages to view our latest properties.
Fast & Furious 6 from Universal Pictures