As Seen on the Big Screen

The Best Lake District Film Locations

The Lake District has played host to a number of big screen productions, from fantasy and family films to classic comedies and chillers. Take a look at our Lakes’ film location guide to follow in their footsteps.

Withnail and I

The film: Bruce Robinson’s 60s-set comedy drama is a classic tale of misadventure featuring two out of work actors heading on holiday to the Lake District “by mistake”. With an acerbic script bursting with memorable lines and a fantastic performance by Richard E Grant the cult of Withnail has blossomed over the years.

The scene: Withnail and I (known as Marwood in the script) spend most of the film trying to enjoy their holiday in Uncle Monty’s ramshackle farmhouse in the Lake District, battling inclement weather, the locals and an assortment of other challenges.

The setting: Sleddale Hall, the Crow Crag holiday cottage in the film, fell into even more disrepair following filming – eventually selling at auction in 2009. Located in the Wet Sleddale valley above a reservoir, it’s possible to take a leisurely stroll around the area, crossing the stone bridge where Withnail attempted fishing with a shotgun, before a slight up-hill walk to the hall.

© Arrow Films

Miss Potter

© 2006 Momentum Pictures

The film: The charming tales of Beatrix Potter were greatly influenced by the beauty of the Lake District. With such stunning inspiration, it’s not really surprising that film producers eventually decided to make a biopic about her life and love of the Lakes.

The scene: Though her move to the Lakes is only a relatively small part of the film, Miss Potter makes great use of its Cumbrian locations and the effect they had on the young author through childhood holidays and in her later life.

The setting: Beatrix Potter spent many of her holidays on the shores of Derwentwater, sketching locations that would influence The Tales of Benjamin Bunny, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and more. In your own holiday cottage in the Lakes you can visit the lake, gaze over its twinkling waters and share the sweeping views that remain unchanged a century later.

28 Days Later

The film: Long before he choreographed the incredible 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, Danny Boyle choreographed something far more terrifying in London: a zombie outbreak and its aftermath. Using digital cameras, and filming in the city’s quietest moments, 28 Days Later offered some truly unnerving and wholly memorable moments of terror.

The scene: The survivors of the outbreak head north for the quiet, solitude and safety of the Lake District. Eventually they find shelter in a farmhouse on the banks of a remote lake.

The setting: Ennerdale Water is remote even by Lake District standards. The region’s most westerly lake is surrounded by some of its tallest hills, so whilst you may not encounter many with other hikers, you will see some seriously amazing views.

© 2003 Fox Searchlight

Snow White and The Huntsman

© 2011 Universal Studios

The film: A star-studded, live action re-tooling of one of the World’s most famous and beloved fairy tales, Snow White and The Huntsman offered some incredibly effective imagery and some amazing production design.

The scene: Various sequences were shot of Snow White, The Huntsman and the Seven Dwarves traversing fairy tale landscapes.

The setting: Whilst many of the film’s shots were achieved with computer effects, there was little enhancement required to the Lake District locations that featured in the film. Blea Tarn, the sweeping hills of the Langdales and the breath-taking Cathedral cavern at Cathedral Quarries all remain largely unchanged on screen.

Swallows and Amazons

The film: Both the 1974 and 2015 versions of Arthur Ransome’s classic tale of a summer of adventure were filmed in and around the Lakes – including the key locations of Wildcat and Cormorant Islands.

The scene: The children of the Blackett and Walker families use their boats – the Swallow and Amazon of the title – to complete a series of challenges to see who will become leader in their quest to take down Captain Flint.

The setting: Thanks to its inspiration for Swallows and Amazons, Lake Windermere has provided a key location in thousands of readers’ childhoods, so it’s hardly surprising to find it so popular with families today. For a true exploration of the magic of childhood, incorporating some truly enchanting natural scenery, a holiday in the Lake District and a visit to Windermere are truly essential.

© StudioCanal

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