With breathtaking landscapes and more castles per square mile than anywhere in the world, Wales has always been a favourite with film producers looking for epic outdoor locations.
With that and the number of talented creatives in Wales, it’s no wonder they keep coming back.
80,000 people are working in the creative industries in Wales (as employees and freelancers)
Clwstwr Creative Industries Report 2020
Let’s look at just some of the feature films made on location here in Wales.
‘Wales is fast establishing itself as a place to develop and deliver the very best creative projects.’
Ed TalfanProducer of Havoc
#MadeInWales – From Batman to Bond
Batman came to Wales in 2012 when Henrhyd Falls in the Brecon Beacons National Park became the cover for the Batcave in the blockbuster The Dark Night Rises, starring Christian Bale. 2004 film King Arthur also filmed at the Beacons, Llandeusant to be exact.
Snowdonia National Park has been the star of many films, from action-packed blockbusters to fantasy tales, including Stardust, Highlander, The Legend of Tarzan, Willow, Wonder Woman 1984, Tomb Raider: Lara Croftandthe Cradle of Life, King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword and three Bond films – Quantum of Solace, The World is Not Enough and From Russia With Love.
The majestic landscape was used to represent Kazakhstan in the 1999 bond film The World is Not Enough and Cwm Dyli was the exterior of the oil pipeline.
More recently, in the Snowdonia foothills, Bodnant Garden became The Secret Garden for the 2020 film starring Julie Walters and Colin Firth, who said of the location ‘I found it spellbinding and wonderfully peaceful.’ What a recommendation.
Check out Lara Croft’s motorbike race at the Great Wall of China, or Pen Y Pass as we call it in Wales:
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It’s not the only high-speed action we’ve seen, the car chase in The Man from U.N.C.L.E was filmed in the forests and hills of Ceredigion’s Cambrian Mountains.
Continuing the James Bond theme, Die Another Day’s closing scene was filmed on Penbryn Beach in Cardigan Bay and First Knight starring Sean Connery visited Harlech, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Trawsfynydd.
Pembrokeshire’s Hollywood Trail
Pembrokeshire is such a popular location for film makers that the county has its own Hollywood Trail!
Harry Potter and Robin Hood have both paid a visit to Freshwater West Beach. Even though Shell Cottage has been taken down, you can still walk in the footsteps of Harry, Hermione, and Ron. Marloes Sands was used in Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart.
The Edge of Love, starring RWCMD Fellow and International Chair in Drama Matthew Rhys as Dylan Thomas, was spotted filming all over Wales in Tenby, Lampeter, Laugharne, New Quay, Betws-y-Coed, and Gwili Railway.
Lawrence of Arabia took advantage of the Merthyr Mawr sand dunes near Bridgend and The Libertine starring Johnny Depp was made at Tretower Court near Crickhowell. Captain America: The First Avenger features the Ministry of Defence training camp at Caerwent.
‘The Place to deliver the Very Best Creative Projects…’
Further north, Half Light starring Demi Moore was filmed on location on the Llŷn Peninsula. 2020 film Dolittle starring Robert Downey Jr. used the Menai Bridge, above, as a backdrop. Clash of the Titans also paid a visit to Anglesey’s Newborough forest.
Released in 2021, Infinite, starring Mark Wahlberg, shut off major roads in the centre of Cardiff for filming. Also, keep a look out for Netflix film Havoc, predominantly filmed around Cardiff recently starring Tom Hardy, who was spotted out and about in South Wales, as well as having a coffee in Gavin and Stacey’s hometown of Barry.
As more and more production companies base their headquarters here in Wales, there are more opportunities than ever for talented designers and set construction crew.