Britain – the movie star
Britain is playing a starring role in several new movie releases coming up in the second half of 2018. Bring your own lights, camera and action and head to the destinations that have either inspired the story or feature as a film location.
Robin Hood: Origins – release date: 1 September 2018
According to legend, heroic Robin Hood was a highly-skilled archer and swordsman who robbed from the rich to give to the poor. Robin Hood: Origins aims to give a new spin on the legend, starring Taron Egerton as Robin Hood, Jamie Foxx as Little John, Eve Hewson as Maid Marian and Jamie Dornan as Will Scarlett. Filming mainly took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, but Robin Hood’s original stomping ground was Sherwood Forest and the city of Nottingham in Nottinghamshire, England, which are both places to have on your must-visit list if you’re a fan of the forest-dwelling outlaw!
Sherwood Forest is the setting for the annual Robin Hood Festival in early August – a medieval gala of entertainment, food and drink, activities, and live-action re-enactments. 2018 will be the festival’s 34th year and, this summer, the forest welcomes the opening of a visitor centre aimed at providing a contemporary perspective into this legendary landscape. It’s a brilliant place to explore either on foot or by bike and don’t forget to visit Robin's famous hideaway, the Major Oak. Elsewhere, between 7 July – 30 September, you can really up your Robin-inspired Insta-game with snaps of a cool sculpture trail coming to the city; Hoodwinked: a twist on the tale, will be a contemporary take on the traditional stories of the legendary outlaw.
Not yet had your fill of Robin Hood experiences? Then head to the city’s Robin Hood Experience for the full interactive journey to the time of the legendary outlaw. The attraction aims to bring to life the sounds, sights and smells of medieval Nottingham – you can even stand trial before the Sheriff of Nottingham! A perfect accompaniment to the experience is a visit to Nottingham Castle, currently undergoing an ambitious transformation due for completion in 2020. In less than two years, the site will welcome a new, interactive Robin Hood Gallery, visitor centre and a Rebellion Gallery – showcasing the city’s rebellious history – will open in the Ducal Palace, plus a year-round events programme will be introduced. Don’t leave without having a selfie with the Robin Hood statue outside the castle. Or, explore the city and its history with Robin Hood himself, on the Robin Hood Town Tour. Join expert of Nottinghamshire history Ezekial Bone to discover how simple ballads over 700 years old grew into one of the greatest stories ever told. There are also several Robin Hood-themed events throughout the year, including the Robin Hood Festival (27 August – 2 September), the Robin Hood Pageant (usually held in March), the Robin Hood Beer Festival (17-20 October) and even the Robin Hood Half Marathon (29 September)!
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – release date: November 2018
The second instalment of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series follows the adventures of Newt Scamander, with London used as one of the key filming locations. Highgate Cemetery was reportedly used to depict the Catacombs of Paris and it’s easy to see why; this north London cemetery is a wonderful example of Victorian gothic design. Take a tour of the extravagant memorials that sit among a calm enclave of trees and local wildlife, its East Cemetery well-known as Karl Marx’s final resting place, as well as other prominent figures, while its West Cemetery boasts incredible architectural features and can only be visited by guided tour. Another must for Fantastic Beasts fans is to book onto the Fantastic Beasts - Where to Find Them in London tour, run by London Guided Walks, which takes you to “explore how these fantastic beasts are entwined in our Muggle world”.
Outside of London, Lacock Abbey, found in the pretty Cotswolds village of Lacock, was used to portray Hogwarts. Like Hogwarts, Lacock Abbey was built with a blend of quirky architectural styles. This former nunnery is a fascinating site, with its medieval rooms and cloister court, plus close by is the Fox Talbot Museum, that records the achievements of former Lacock resident William Henry Fox Talbot, a big name in the invention of photography.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was also filmed in the same studio as the Harry Potter series, where you can visit Warner Bros. Studios Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. This unique behind-the-scenes experience immerses you into the world of filmmaking and features authentic sets, props and costumes from the most successful film series of all time. The first film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise was also filmed in the north-west England city of Liverpool using locations such as St George's Hall, with its spectacular tunnel-vaulted ceiling and gorgeous mosaic floor, and the magnificent Cunard Building (now home to the British Music Experience).
Mary Poppins Returns – release date: 21 December
It's been 53 years since the original Mary Poppins popped onto our screens with her magical bag and flying umbrella. And, this year, she's back – played by Emily Blunt – to visit the grown-up Banks children in this Disney musical sequel, which takes the action forward to London in 1935. Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke (who starred in the original film) also feature in the cast. All the original movie was filmed at California’s Burbank Studios, but this time around, iconic London sites were used as filming locations.
Perhaps the most recognisable is St Paul’s Cathedral, one of the most impressive examples of cathedral architecture in the country and not to be missed. Another filming location was by Buckingham Palace – its magnificent state rooms are open to visitors for ten weeks each summer – and outside the Bank of England. While this isn’t open to tours, check out its fascinating Bank of England Museum, which is. And, once you’ve seen the film at the end of this year, you can visit all of these filming locations and get some behind-the-scenes stories on a new Brit Movies Mary Poppins tour, launching in 2019.
Bohemian Rhapsody – release date: 28 October 2018
Fans of rock band Queen will love this film coming out in autumn this year, which tells the tale of their meteoric rise and revolutionary sound, up until their appearance at Live Aid in 1985, as well as touching on the life of their extraordinary frontman Freddie Mercury.
Although the We Will Rock You musical based on Queen’s epic songs isn’t currently touring the UK, there are a few rock tours that Queen fans can embark on to get their fix of Freddie and the band. London Rock Tours runs a half-day tour in the capital that’s fully focused on Queen, taking you to the places where they were formed, recorded and lived. You’ll visit the sites and locations that played a significant part in the band’s history, as well as where some of their videos were shot and the site of the last-ever Queen performance.
Alternative walking tours that include Queen sites along with other historic sites of some of Britain’s most famous rock ‘n’ roll bands, include Rock Walk and Classic Rock Legends tour. You can also walk to Freddie Mercury’s final home, Garden Lodge Mansion in the upmarket neighbourhood of Kensington. Although it remains a private home you can read some of the letters that people have written in memory of Freddie and posted on the wall.
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com