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Dramatic fells, glittering lakes, wooded valleys… The Lake District is a landscape that commands the eye, so there’s little wonder that it’s featured in so many films. Here’s our list of some of the most popular motion pictures in which the Lakes has played a starring role.


Stars Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

The lush, wooded planet of Takadona in the hit film, Stars Wars: the Force Awakens, draws its visual locations from several places in the Lakes.

At one point, you can see a digitally altered landscape which merges an enlarged Derwent Water with Bassenthwaite Lake, in a view from above from Watendlath Fell; if you’re quick, you’ll also spot X-wings soaring across the waters of Thirlmere. Most noticeably, the castle of Maz Kanata has been digitally superimposed onto the real-life Derwent Water, and as the Millennium Falcon arrives there, the fells of Maiden Moor and Cat Bells are clearly visible in the background.

It’s rumoured that scenes from the upcoming sequel, Stars Wars: The Last Jedi, were also filmed here. Be sure to keep an eye out for disturbances in the force, if you’re visiting.

Withnail and I (1987)

This gritty and witty 80s cult classic, recounting the devil may care adventures of two debauched London actors down on their luck, who “come on holiday by mistake” in the 1960s.

One of the most visited film locations to track down is Sleddale Hall, an ancient hilltop farmhouse, known as Crow Crag in the film, where the depressed duo stay their disastrous trip.  The scene in which Withnail attempts to go fishing with a shotgun was filmed under a nearby bridge across the River Lowther. A few miles away, man-made Haweswater Reservoir is where Withnail defiantly proclaims to the world: “I’m gonna be a star!”

To find out more about following in the footsteps of Withnail, check out BFI’s article, ‘In search of the Withnail & I locations 30 years on’.


Swallows and Amazons (2016)

Where else could the  adaption of Arthur Ransome’s 20th century literary classic, Swallows and Amazons, be filmed than in the beautiful region in which it was originally set?

Coniston Water, where Ransome actually first learned to sail, provided a perfect and fitting location for filming scenes from this much-loved children’s tale. Peel Island was chosen to portray Wild Cat Island, which each of the two tribes of child adventurers claims as their own.

To mark the significance of the part the area played in shaping the story, the film’s world premier was held over at the Theatre By the Lake at Derwent Water in Borrowdale.


Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

The magical scenery of the Lake District is a perfect match for the enchanted dramatic and enchanted landscape of a fairytale, so it’s no wonder this blockbuster, starring Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron, chose to shoot here.

Keep your eyes out for Blea Tarn and the Langdale Pikes in the background while the courageous protagonist and her dwarf entourage trek through the wilderness on her journey to reclaim the throne. Cathedral Cave in Little Langdale is yet another iconic Lakes location used, portraying as the entrance to a hidden idyll that acts as a safe haven for fairies and other whimsical creatures.

Theron and Stewart stayed in Windermere during filming and the cast apparently popped into the Waterage Inn in Ambleside for a drink one evening, to the amazement of locals.


Miss Potter (2006)

Starring Renée Zellwegger, this tribute to Beatrix Potter used many Lake District locations linked to the author. The beautiful Loughrigg Tarn, Coniston and Derwentwater all feature in the film, and Yew tree Farm, which was actually owned by Potter in the 1930s, was used for scenes depicting her beloved, famous cottage, Hill Top Farm.

Want to discover more of the locations associated with the author? Be as adventurous as Peter Rabbit, and take the Beatrix Potter Lakeland Tour, which includes a cruise across the shining waters of Lake Windermere.


28 Days Later (2002)

The Lake District is often described as an unforgettable place to escape to, but, for the characters in director Danny Boyle’s cult horror starring Cillian Murphy and Naomie Harris, this has an all too literal meaning.

After their gory experiences following on from a zombie pandemic, the film’s main characters flee to a cottage sanctuary in the area around Ennerdale Lake, seen clearly in a sweeping shot during the final scene.


Crimson Peak (2015)

Although it was shot entirely in the U.S.A, much of the terrifying events of Guillermo del Toro’s gothic romance are set in 19th century Cumbria.

Sir Thomas Sharpe, the dashing foreigner with dark secrets whisks his new, American, heiress bride back to his ancestral home, Allerdale Hall, a decaying manor house that’s slowly sinking into the blood-red clay of the Sharpe family mines below.

Thankfully for the residents of Allerdale, this haunted horror house isn’t really brooding on any real-life Cumbrian hillsides.


 

 

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