Top 15 films and TV series with Wales filming locations

Days out

Posted by Hannah on 5th January 2022

Lone Tree at Llyn Padarn, Llanberis, Snowdonia

Wales has long been one of the UK’s most popular filming locations, from Hollywood blockbusters to award-winning and cult television series. The Harry Potter cast have wandered (or rather, escaped to) the sands in Pembrokeshire and the TARDIS has found itself in Cardiff more than once, even though Cardiff could probably fit inside the TARDIS!

Some of Wales’ more dramatic landscapes, such as Snowdonia, have been used to portray exotic locations including China and Kazakhstan in popular franchises like James Bond and computer-game-character-turned-action-star, Lara Croft.

We’ve listed our top 15 films and TV series with filming locations in Wales to help you plan your visit. And when you've decided on which Wales filming locations you'd like to see up close and personal, find your perfect home away from home right here:

Browse all Wales cottages

Henrhyd Falls in the Brecon Beacons

The Dark Knight Rises, Brecon Beacons

Who would have thought that the Bat Cave in The Dark Knight Rises was in the Brecon Beacons in Wales? Fans can visit Henrhyd Falls in the Brecon Beacons National Park, which was used as the cover for the Batcave in the blockbuster starring Christian Bale. This is possibly one of the most successful film sets in Wales, with Christopher Nolan's epic noir raking in over $1billion worldwide. Here are some other well-known waterfalls in Wales.

Stay nearby: Heol Giedd, Cwmgiedd | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Captain America and Wonder Woman 1984, Caerwent, Monmouthshire and Swallow Falls, Snowdonia National Park

What do the Welsh landscape and multi-million-dollar movie franchises have in common? Marvel Studios and DC Films love them both.

During the filming of Captain America: The First Avenger back in 2010, the Ministry of Defence army training dept in Caerwent was used for most of the war scenes for Chris Evans’ World War II hero. The filming of this Marvel epic also coincided with Newport hosting the Ryder Cup, which saw superstars Samuel L Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones in attendance.

After the success of Wonder Woman in 2017, DC followed it up with a second instalment featuring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Kristen Wiig. The opening scenes were filmed in North Wales, at the spectacular Swallow Falls near Betws-y-Coed. The scene shows a young Diana Prince, before she became Wonder Woman, running through her childhood home of Themyscira, home of the Amazons. During the scene, you can clearly see the beautiful waterfalls as the camera pans up.

Stay nearby: Afon Retreat, Betws-y-Coed | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Sunrise in Snowdonia National Park, looking towards Pen y Pass

Tomb Raider: Lara Croft and the Cradle of Life, Snowdonia

Another one of the many action films shot in Wales, Snowdonia played a starring role in this epic sequel. Main filming locations included Pen Y Pass, Ffynnon Llugwy and the Alexandra Slate Quarry near Carmel, where a 100ft drop down a cliff was filmed. A motorbike race was filmed at Pen Y Pass, which posed as the Great Wall of China (with a little help from CGI).

Stay nearby: Bryn Llinos, Beddgelert | Sleeps 5 

Dinorwig Quarry, Llanberis

Willow, Llanberis, Snowdonia National Park

Just over a decade after the release of his revered Star Wars debut, George Lucas, in 1988, created a cult classic in the form of Willow. Following Warwick Davis’ eponymous hero and Val Kilmer’s iconic and loveable mercenary, Madmartigan, parts of this timeless movie were filmed in a disused slate quarry called Dinorwig Quarry, near Llanberis

It was used as the backdrop to Queen Bavmorda’s Nockmaar Castle, using the foot of Mount Snowdon to add to the gravitas. Disney+ is currently in the middle of making a reboot with Warwick Davis back in the titular role.

Stay nearby: Yr Onnen, Caernarfon | Sleeps 4

Snowdon Sunrise, Snowdonia National Park

The World Is Not Enough: Snowdonia

One of the most famous movies filmed in Wales, the limelight was on Snowdonia National Park (and Pierce Brosnan) for this 1999 Bond film. Snowdonia’s majestic landscape was used to represent Kazakhstan in the film and Cwm Dyli was the exterior of the oil pipeline in the film. A visit to Snowdonia is one of our top ten things to do in Wales even before you've shaken up your first Vesper Martini, so be sure to visit this stirring landscape.

Stay nearby: Canol, Conwy, North Wales | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Bond fans should also check out these James Bond filming locations across the UK.

Neath Abbey ruins

Merlin, Brecon Beacons and other locations

Spanning five seasons, Merlin had lots of scope to include some magical scenery in its portfolio. And what with the show dealing with sorcery and mystical forces, what better landscape to choose than the Welsh countryside, which is steeped in history and mystery?

Neath Abbey ruins were used as the castle of the ancient kings where the Round Table was rediscovered by King Arthur. The highest village in Wales, Trefil, was used for its seclusion and lack of background noise. Standing 1,342ft above sea level, its attractive scenery is also very adaptable, lending itself to myriad possibilities when it comes to scene-setting in TV and film.

Other notable locations used in Merlin include the Brecon Beacons National Park, Llanwonno Forest, Castell Coch, Caerphilly and Chepstow Castle.

Stay nearby: Ivy Cottage At Margam Country Park, Margam | Sleeps 5 + 1 dog

Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff

Doctor Who, Cardiff

There are many Dr Who filming locations in Wales - the country welcomed David Tennant and Billie Piper for various episodes of Doctor Who, including New Earth and The Sound of the Drums, which were filmed partly at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Other episodes were filmed at the otherworldly Southerndown Beach.

Stay nearby: Wye At Ty Gwyn, Usk | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Portmeirion, the scene of The Prisoner

The Prisoner, Portmeirion

Good things come to those who wait, and that is certainly the case with the colourful Italian Riviera-style village of Portmeirion in North Wales. Starting in 1926, it took architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis 50 years to complete it and thank goodness he did, as many successful TV shows have been filmed here including Doctor Who, Top Gear and Cold Feet.

Perhaps the most famous TV show to feature the Italianate architecture was The Prisoner, filmed here in 1966 and 1967. A huge hit in the UK, USA, France and Australia, The Prisoner was one of the most influential shows of the 60s and this little Welsh village with its Mediterranean feel provided the perfect backdrop for the seemingly dreamlike detention centre. There’s even an annual convention in honour of the show, held by the Six-of-One Prisoner Appreciation Society.

Stay nearby: Bryn Llinos, Beddgelert | Sleeps 5

Cardiff Bay in Cardiff, Wales

Torchwood, Cardiff

This sci-fi series was entirely based in the South Wales city of Cardiff. The makers of the series emphasised the city’s urban qualities and used various locations. The team’s headquarters in the first two series was beneath Roald Dahl Plas in Cardiff Bay. Other locations include Canal Park, Merthyr Road in Whitchurch and the Waterguard Pub.

Stay nearby: The Billiard Room, Abergavenny | Sleeps 4

Barry Island Beach in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales

Gavin and Stacey, South Wales

Of all the TV shows filmed in Wales, this is probably the most quotable and fun. If you're looking for Gavin and Stacey filming locations, look no further than Barry Island - much of the filming for the popular series took place in this seaside resort in the Vale of Glamorgan. There are many locations to visit including The Colcot Arms (home of Smithy’s quiz night), Island Leisure Amusement Arcade (where Nessa works) and Whitmore Bay (Barry Island Beach).

Stay nearby: Pebbles Cottage Gileston, Gileston | Sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

The Colcot Arms features in our guide to TV and film pubs you can actually drink in - find out which other famous watering holes you can visit.

Rhondda Welsh Valleys, Wales

Stella, South Wales

Comedy/drama series Stella is mainly filmed in the fictional village of Pontyberry in the South Wales Valleys, which is actually Ferndale, Rhondda. One of the most iconic Stella filming locations is Elm Street, the road on which Stella, played by Ruth Jones, lives.

Stay nearby: The Lodge House, Brecon Beacons | Sleeps 12 + 2 dogs

Pontsticill Reservoir near Merthyr Tydfil

The Pact, Merthyr Tydfil and Pontypool

For a crime thriller that often left audiences breathless, as well as featuring numerous breathtaking locations, probably meant it should have come with a health warning! But in all seriousness, the remarkable landscapes shown throughout this 2021 series were not mere supporting acts to this gripping tale of unexplained death and the crushing pressure of keeping a secret.

The Evans Brewery, where many of the characters work was, in fact, the Rhymney Brewery in Pontypool, and two separate woods around Merthyr Tydfil were also used, one near the Pontsticill Reservoir.

Stay nearby: Rectory Retreat, Mamhilad | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog

Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2, Pembrokeshire

One of the most well-recognised Harry Potter filming locations in Wales, Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire played a huge role in both of these films. In Part 1, Harry, Ron and Hermione escape to the beach from Malfoy Manor to Shell Cottage. This was actually built on the northern end of the beach but has since been taken down. Freshwater West appears again in Part 2. If you have little ones and they are Potterheads, this could be a great day out for the kids in Wales.

Stay nearby: 17 Freshwater Bay, Freshwater Bay | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog

With so many films in the franchise, there are plenty of epic filming locations to visit. Read our blog about more Harry Potter filming locations here.

Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales

Robin Hood, Pembrokeshire

A very popular Wales filming location, Freshwater West appeared again in the 2010 adaptation of Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe. The beach on the Pembrokeshire coast was used to depict the French invasion of southern England.

Stay nearby: West Grove Barn Oak, Hundleton | Sleeps 8 + 5 dogs

Marloes Sands in Pembrokeshire, Wales

Snow White and the Huntsman, Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire is one of the most popular film locations in Wales; Marloes Sands was used in Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart. Scenes filmed at the beach include Kristen and 80 others riding on horseback through the water.

Stay nearby: Marloes Court Farm, Marloes | Sleeps 6 

Discover Wales from the movies

With so many movies filmed in Wales, you can see the places you've fallen in love with on the screen in the flesh with a stay in one of our holiday cottages in Wales. If you're looking to discover the filming locations for a specific film or TV show or you just want a break in unforgettable Wales, check out our cottages below.

Browse all Wales cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.