About Time: the rom com filmed in Cornwall

Another movie release with a Cornish backdrop brings together two great talents of the movie world; Richard Curtis as Director and Bill Nighy as cast headliner. Shot on the south coast of Cornwall during the summer of 2012, About Time tells the tale of a time travelling quest for love, all set the beautiful backdrop of Gorran Haven. And romcom fans won’t be disappointed with the obligatory wedding scene - showing off St Michael Penkevil Church in spectacular style, it’s sure to have brides flocking to Cornwall.


At the age of 21, Tim Lake discovers he can travel in time. The night after another unsatisfactory New Year party, Tim’s father tells his son that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time. Tim can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life, so he decides to make his world a better place... by getting a girlfriend. Unfortunately that turns out not to be as easy as you might think. Moving from the Cornwall coast to London to train as a a lawyer, Tim finally meets the beautiful but insecure Mary. They fall in love, then time travel means he’s never met her at all, then they meet for the first time again, and again, but finally, after a lot of cunning time-travelling he wins her heart.

Tim then uses his power to create the perfect romantic proposal, to save his wedding from the worst best man speeches, to save his best friend from professional disaster and to get his pregnant wife to hospital in time for the birth of their daughter, despite an unfortunate traffic jam outside Abbey Road. But as his unusual life progresses, Tim finds out that his unique gift can’t save him from the sorrows that affect all families, everywhere. There are great limits to what time travel can achieve, and it can be dangerous too. “About Time” is a comedy about love and time travel which discovers that, in the end, making the most of life may not need time travel at all.

About Time film locations

Splitting its time between London and Cornwall, scenes were shot on the south Cornish coast in the summer of 2012. Here we take a look at the locations where the camera rolled.

Vault Beach, Gorran Haven

The father and son relationship between the characters played by Bill Nighy and Domhnall Gleeson is central to the film and many of the heart-warming moments they share take place on Vault Beach near Gorran Haven. Over 1km long and covered with golden sand, Vault Beach is pitched in the film as being at the foot of the Lake family’s idyllic home, but behind the camera trickery it is in fact eight miles from the house and is owned by the National Trust. Although somewhat hidden, with its nearest car park a 10 minute walk away at Lamedra via the South West Coast Path, it is popular in the summer. The westerly end of the beach which sits in the shelter of Dodman Point, is a favoured spot among naturists.

St Michael Penkevil Church

As all good romcoms have an obligatory wedding scene it’s unlikely to give anything away by revealing that St Michael Penkevil church was the location of choice as the two main characters, Tim and Mary, swapped marriage vows. Located in a small village near Truro and positioned within a wooded setting close to the Tregothnan Estate (of Tregothnan Tea fame), the 13th and 14th century church has long been renowned for its beauty and is no stranger to the cinema spotlight having starred in Rowan Atkinson’s comedy hit of 2005, Keeping Mum.


While St Michael Penkevil church provided the backdrop for the interior wedding scenes, the small fishing village of Portloe on The Roseland stepped in for the exterior shots. Comfortable in front of the camera, it has welcomed a number of actors in the last decade, not least Dawn French and Catherine Tate for the BBC comedy series Wild West. The 2006 comedy, Irish Jam was also filmed in the village and just a stone’s throw away, cameras rolled for Channel 4’s 1992 serialisation of Mary Wesley’s The Camomile Lawn. Favoured by location scouts for being unspoilt and traditional, Portloe is a popular contender for the title of most beautiful village in Cornwall.

Private residence

The film moves between London and Cornwall with the family home providing the south-west anchor where special occasions are played out. Being a private residence the impressive Grade II listed house isn’t available for behind the scene tours but the onscreen lifestyle portrayed within the four walls by the Lake family will having everyone wishing they owned the key to the front door.

St Austell Rugby Club

For 8 weeks during summer filming while its players had hung up their boots for the season, St Austell Rugby Club turned into a pop-up production office. It swapped scrum caps for make-up as it welcomed the About Time cast and crew and played host to the costume and catering departments. The stars of the film retreated to the site for time out between takes treating St Austell to a taste of Hollywood magic.

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