• St Michael’s Mount
  • Kynance Cove
  • St Ives

Famous Film and Television Locations in Cornwall

With its rich and varied landscape, along with a scattering of picturesque villages, Cornwall makes the perfect backdrop for films and television programmes.  The county has starred in a lot of productions over the years and you are bound to spot a familiar-looking beach or street during your Cornish holidays.

Here is the Cornish Escapes guide to location spotting in Cornwall.


We could write a whole article just about the locations used in the latest BBC TV adaptation of Winston Graham’s Cornish Poldark novels. From Church Cove in Gunwalloe to Levant Mine in the far west to sweeping Holywell Bay near Newquay, the Poldark crew filmed all over Cornwall. Unspoilt harbour Charlestown played Truro’s port, while Cap’n Ross’ home, Nampara, is found in St Breward near Bodmin Moor.

The earlier adaptation of Poldark in the 1970s made great use of the rugged western landscape, choosing places like Pendeen, Botallack and St Just for location filming. 

Aidan Turner, who plays the most recent Ross Poldark, didn’t have to travel far for his other 2015 screen adaptation. And Then There Were None (2015) features scenes filmed in Mullion Cove, Kynance Cove and Holywell Bay.

Doc Martin

“Portwenn” from ITV’s much-loved Doc Martin doesn’t need any introduction. The doctor’s adopted Cornish home is played by historic fishing village Port Isaac. The last time Port Isaac was this busy was during the pilchard boom, as thousands of Doc Martin fans flock to the village in search of landmarks like the school or the surgery.

Other locations include the church in Altarnun, the inn in St Breward and the wards of the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske.

Port Isaac also played itself in the recent Fisherman’s Friends movies, which tell the real-life story of the group of local sea shanty singers who suddenly found themselves famous.

House of the Dragon

So far, Cornwall has played itself, even if a few geographic liberties have been taken. HBO’s House of the Dragon, 2022’s prequel series to the mighty Game of Thrones, chose to use one of Cornwall’s most dramatic landmarks.

St Michael’s Mount became High Tide, the ancestral seat of the Velaryon dynasty. The tidal island with its medieval church and castle needed very little set or CGI to make it look imposing. You can also see beautiful Kynance Cove in the background of the Velaryon camp.

As you can imagine, the Mount has starred in numerous other films and TV programmes, including Johnny English, the 1979 Dracula and popular 1980s series, Robin of Sherwood.


Full of action-packed adventure, with plenty of swashing and buckling, ITV’s Hornblower was must-see television in the late 1990s. It starred Ioan Gruffudd as the dashing Royal Naval officer from C S Forester’s popular novels, set around the Napoleonic Wars.

The adaptation made the most of Cornwall’s period settings, including Falmouth and nearby Pendennis Point. The crew also filmed in Plymouth’s historic Barbican district.

Falmouth made a more surprising appearance in Brad Pitt’s 2013 zombie thriller, World War Z. Residents were invited to apply to be undead extras in the movie. It’s not the only zombie movie filmed in Cornwall: Carland Cross Wind Farm features in 28 Days Later.

About Time

Moving on from zombies… The 2012 rom-com About Time makes the most of Cornwall’s prettiest settings. Bill Nighy and Domhnall Gleeson play father and son in this Richard Curtis movie, filmed largely around Gorran Haven and the beautiful beaches in the area.

There’s a heartbreakingly lovely wedding in St Michael Penkivel church and unspoilt fishing village Portloe also makes a few appearances. You’ll also spot Portloe in the 1992 version of  Mary Wesley’s The Camomile Lawn. If you want to see Cornwall at its most gentle and picturesque, About Time captures this softer side.

Summer in February

Summer in February is another romantic film, this time based on the true-life story of a group of Newlyn artists. The movie focuses on the love triangle between artists Alfred Munnings, Florence Carter-Wood and Gilbert Evans and stars Dominic Cooper, Emily Browning and Dan Stevens.

A lot of filming took place in the actual locations, such as Lamorna, Mousehole and Porthcurno, as well as Trereife House (near Penzance) and Prussia Cove. Remote and beautiful Prussia Cove was also one of the main locations for Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith’s 2004 film, Ladies in Lavender.

Summer in February is yet another production on Holywell Bay’s long location CV, which even includes a James Bond film, Die Another Day

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Pirates of the Atlantic? Could take on. The fourth part of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, On Stranger Tides, features scenes shot in Cornish Escapes’ very own St Ives. We think that the gleaming sands and turquoise waters of St Ives make the perfect stand-ins for unspoilt Caribbean shores.

St Ives also appears in Ladies in Lavender and the 1995 surfing movie, Blue Juice.  Barnoon Cemetery and The Sloop Inn both feature prominently in Raise the Titanic, although some would say that is nothing to boast about. The TV movie adaptation of Lelant-born author Rosamund Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers was filmed here in 1995.

Find Your Perfect Cornish Location

Where will your Cornish story take place? We have a wonderful choice of holiday homes in Cornwall, in many of the locations we have mentioned in this article, such as St Ives, Mount’s Bay and Newquay.

Take a look at our selection of Cornwall holiday homes and find your own new favourite location.

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