Oscar Week - Kent on screen
The 90th Academy Awards have wrapped for another year, and the great and good of Hollywood are polishing their Oscars...but we have one question - where was the award for best film location?
Kent has long been a magnet for film crews, and the county's gorgeous castles, villages, sea and sky have had starring roles in numerous box office hits. So in recognition of our lovely county's star quality, we've pulled together a list of our favourite filming locations in the Garden of England that you can visit for a spot of ‘set-jetting’.
2018 has certainly been Gary Oldman’s year, after scooping the Best Actor Oscar for his powerhouse performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. Perhaps it’s no surprise that key scenes from the film were shot at Churchill’s former home, Chartwell, in rural Kent. Why not visit the estate (also featured in The Crown)?
While the action for Christopher Nolan’s heart-stopping depiction of the infamous evacuation was shot mainly on location in France, you can visit the very place where Operation Dynamo was masterminded in the Secret Wartime Tunnels beneath Dover Castle.
The Princess Bride
Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love this film? Pirates, giants, miracles, monsters, true love! And did you know that Inigo and Count Rugen’s final duel – and possibly one of the most famous lines in cinema history – was filmed in the Baron’s Hall of gorgeous Penshurst Place? Say it with us… “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
When it comes to tales about the Tudors, Kent is the go to location for big and small screen adaptations. Leeds Castle, Penshurst Place and Dover Castle have all had starring roles in the likes of The Other Boleyn Girl and the much-lauded miniseries Wolf Hall. Even the last of the Plantagenets, Richard III, came to Kent for The Hollow Crown series in 2016 (and we heard that venue staff were very keen to work on the day dreamboat Benedict Cumberbatch was filming scenes...)
Since the landscape provided inspiration for Charles Dickens himself, the misty, mysterious marshes across Swale were obvious location choices for key scenes in the 2012 big screen adaptation of this classic novel. Film buffs can book a break in a luxury shepherd’s hut on Elmley Nature Reserve and soak up the scenery.
The Name’s Bond…
Ian Fleming reportedly took James Bond’s famous 007 tag from the number of the London to Dover coach, and lived for some time in the coastal hidden gem St Margaret's Bay (pictured). In a nod to the super spy’s creator, many Bond films have been shot on Kent’s shores - Sir Hugo Drax’s Moonraker plant was filmed at Kingsdown, the Port of Dover appeared in Diamonds are Forever, and the speedboat chase in The World Is Not Enough was partially shot at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. It's enough to leave you shaken...
Call the Midwife
Speaking of the Dockyard, the immense visitor attraction has been welcoming film crews and stars to its historic buildings and cobbled alleyways for decades. Victoria and Abdul, Les Miserables, Suffragette, Victor Frankenstein, Mr Holmes are just a few of the flicks to have featured the Dockyard but perhaps most famous is the hit TV series Call The Midwife, which has made the attraction its home. Visitors can even take special themed tours of the key filming locations.
The Darling Buds of May
A small screen outing but one that won the nation’s heart – much loved TV series The Darling Buds of May captured Kent’s rural splendour in the 1990s, and made a million families yearn for a slice of idyllic country life. Luckily, you can still visit the famous farm where the series was shot – it’s as beautiful as ever, and you can even stay the night in self-catering or charming B&B accommodation.
Pride and Prejudice
Groombridge Place provided a beautiful backdrop for the lavish 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel, as the 17th-century moated manor was chosen to be Longbourn, the Bennet’s family home. Visitors today can walk through the gorgeous gardens or take a trip along the river, and imagine they're in their very own Austen adaptation (gowns, bonnets and parasols optional)..