Cornwall on Film

    Behind the scenes of Poldark.

    Lights, Camera, Cornwall!

    In recent years, it's not been difficult to catch a glimpse of Cornwall on the small screen. There's been Poldark, Doc Martin, and Delicious, plus repeats of Wycliffe on some more obscure channel. The recent Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon sees Cornish locations such as Kynance Cove, Holywell Bay and St Michael’s Mount transformed into Westorion landscapes.

    Cornish directors have also burst onto the scene, with Mark Jenkin bringing attention to Cornwall’s heritage while showcasing Cornwall’s historic landscapes through ‘Enys Men’ and ‘Bait’. All these programmes act as great adverts for the county, showing its scenery off behind the drama being played out in the foreground.

    Cornwall is no stranger to the big screen, either. Back in the day, Cornwall was used as a location for James Bond's Die Another Day when Piers Brosnan was in the role of 007. More recently, Port Isaac was the setting for not one, but two Fisherman's Friends movies.

    Discover more about Cornwall's film & TV connections below.

    Dozmary Pool, Bodmin
    Intertwined with the tale of King Arthur, Dozmary Pool has frequently served as the backdrop for cinematic retellings of the legend.

    The Big Screen

    On the big screen, Cornwall has been seen in the 'Fisherman's Friend's' films, telling the true tale of a group of Cornish fishermen who were signed by Universal Records and achieved a top 10 hit with their debut album of traditional sea shanties. And, 'The Kid who would be King', a modern take on the King Arthur story, with scenes shot amidst the rugged beauty of Bodmin Moor. A location closely linked to the legend of King Arthur, notably Dozmary Pool, where the Lady of the Lake bestowed Excalibur upon King Arthur and where the sword was later cast after the last battle of Camlann.

    Richard Curtis’ 2013 film, ‘About Time’, was filmed mainly down on the Roseland peninsula, captivating viewers and leaving them longing not only for the heartfelt love story but also for the breathtaking beauty of Cornwall. As was ‘Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children’, Tim Burton's time-travelling fantasy, although in this, Cornwall became Wales with a whole village built at Portholland.

    It wasn’t the first time Cornwall has been relocated to another part of the world, in ‘Die Another Day’ James Bond turns up in an Icelandic diamond mine, which was actually the Eden Project while Holywell Bay was transformed into a dramatic North Korean battleground for the film’s opening sequence. Back in the 1920s Alfred Hitchcock filmed his last silent film 'The Manxman' in Polperro, even though the film was supposedly set on the Isle of Man.

    Filmmakers have always been drawn to Cornwall's irresistible seaside locations.

    Fan Favourites

    In the mid-20th century Polperro was actually used for several films, now mostly forgotten. ‘Miranda’ was the tale of a mermaid who trapped a fisherman in an underwater cavern until he agreed to show her London, ‘The Great Behemoth’ an early monster movie, and ‘Another Time, Another Place’, Sean Connery’s first film in which he had a starring role as a British journalist who begins an affair with an American reporter, doomed by the circumstances of war.

    Just down the coast, the historic harbour of Charlestown has become a haven for film crews. It often features in Poldark posing as an 18th century Truro Harbour due to its historical architecture and collection of old ships, but has also been seen in Dr Who and Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Older viewers may also remember it being used in the 'Onedin Line'.

    Poldark was filmed all over Cornwall, offering viewers a glimpse of the county’s rural and coastal beauty as Ross Poldark dramatically gallops across its landscapes. From the southern shores of Gunwalloe and Penberth Cove to the northern cliffs of St Agnes Head, and not forgetting the iconic Botallack Mine on the Tin Coast, where much of the mining activity in the series takes place. The show captures the diverse and stunning scenery of Cornwall, whilst telling an important story of Cornwall's mining heritage.

    And we can't forget fan-favourite Doc Martin, which was mainly filmed on Cornwall’s north coast in Port Isaac, otherwise known as Portwenn in the series, showcasing their narrow winding streets, traditional stone cottages and stunning sea views. The show wrapped in 2022 after ten seasons. In south-east Cornwall,, Sky’s Delicious, starring Dawn French, is centred on Pentillie Castle on the banks of the Tamar Valley. South-east Cornwall has made a return to our screens with the recent 'Death in Paradise' spin-off, 'Beyond Paradise', which see's Kris Marshall reprise his role as D.I. Humphrey Goodman. The story is set in the fictional town of Shipton Abbott, which we know and love as Looe. They also try to tell another fib in that Shipton Abbott is in Devon, but don't be fooled!

    Cornwall's old towns and villages provide the perfect backdrop for historic dramas.


    In the far west, the rugged coastline has been used to good effect in Poldark and was also the setting for the brutal ‘Straw Dogs’ in 1971. Yet, it has also been used to portray a softer, gentler side of Cornwall in films like ‘Ladies in Lavender’ which showcased the idyllic coastal village of Cadgwith alongside St Ives and the quaint Prussia Cove. ‘Summer in February’, was set against Lamorna Cove but also saw most scenes shot nearby at Prussia Cove.

    The TV movie adaptation of ‘The Shell Seekers’ also made use of the west coast including Lamorna Cove and Marazion. ‘Shell Seekers’ was adapted from a novel by Rosamunde Pilcher, and over the past 25 years many of her other novels have been adapted for television and filmed in Cornwall.

    And let us not forget our younger visitors. CBeebies favourite 'Andy's Adventures' often takes place in a much-changed Eden Project, and 80s kids may remember St Antony Lighthouse from Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock. And the recent new children’s series ‘Fred and Pete’s Treasure Tales’ which follows two Cornish friends, and local presenters, Fred and Pete, brings light to a wide variety of local customs, legends and curiosities around Cornwall.

    With its endless coastline, idyllic, historic villages coupled with picturesque countryside and rolling valleys, Cornwall continues to captivate audiences and creators alike. Whether you’re a casual viewer or a die-hard fan of film and TV in Cornwall, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to experience these stunning locations up close. Explore our favourite film settings and delve deeper into their stories with a film and TV tour, or a self-guided exploration of the locations mentioned above. Discover the captivating landscapes that have enchanted audiences and immerse yourself in the cinematic history that makes Cornwall an unforgettable destination for film enthusiasts.

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