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There’s no need to travel all the way to Hollywood; cinephiles buckle up for some great places to visit in Suffolk.
In this, the seventh movie instalment of the Harry Potter series, Harry, Ron and Hermione are faced with the challenge of stopping Lord Voldemort from achieving immortality and reaping havoc on the world of wizardry. They must stop him, whilst simultaneously keeping Harry hidden from the death eaters that are surrounding Hogwarts in search of him.
A crucial point in the story takes place in the Village of Lavenham, which is known to all Potter fans as Godric’s Hollow. In this scene Harry and Hermione visit Godric’s Hollow on Christmas Eve to find Bathilda Bagshot, in the hope that she possesses the Sword of Gryffindor, which is to be used to destroy Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes (used to gain immortality). Bathilda takes the pair to the now abandoned ruins of his parent’s former home, where they discover Bathila is actually being controlled by Voldemort. (Got all that? Phew)
Harry’s parents’ home is in fact the De Vere house, located in Lavenham Village, and is still liveable. The building was previously the home of John De Vere, who’s family were one of the richest in Britain in the Medieval era, and today, the De Vere house is a Grade-1 listed property. The house has also been on the market for a little under £1m in recent years.
John De Vere’s Former Home
The cast never actually set foot in Lavenham, the village was filmed and then the cast were superimposed after shooting their scenes in a studio. After all the filming in Suffolk was complete, Computer Generated Graphics (CGI) were used to create the derelict effect of Harry’s former home and other alterations to the village.
In this the first of two Lara Croft films starring Angelina Jolie, the beloved Elveden Hall was the stage for the interior of Croft Manor. In this film, Lara is on a quest to retrieve two halves of an ancient artefact, which she doesn’t want falling into the wrong hands as it has the power to control time.
In arguably the most impressive sequence in the film, Lara Croft defends her home from the armed intruders headed by Mr Manford Powell, trying to obtain the ancient McGuffin artefact. The break-in results in a remarkable aerial bungee ballet shoot-out, where Lara Croft is swinging from her bungee cord taking down all in her path, in a scene that lasts over seven-minutes
In 1863, Maharajah Duleep Singh purchased Elveden Hall and renovated the interior to resemble the fine Mughal palaces he was accustomed to. This distinctive design remains intact to this day, and draws other films because of its beautiful interior.
Other Hollywood blockbusters have chosen to shoot at Elvenden Hall, due to it’s incredible interior. Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” has its famous Masquerade Ball scene filmed in the hall. More recently, Ridley Scott’s film, “All The Money In The World” was shot here during which the property was dressed to replicate a Moroccan Palace.
RAF Base Mildenhall
For this, the 20th movie in the 007 franchise, James Bond is played by Pierce Brosnan. In this saga Bond is in a battle to prevent media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) from starting World War III. Carver began his evil plans by secretly starting a conflict between China and the UK, which he does by re-navigating the HMS Devonshire ship into Chinese held waters where a conflict subsequently arises.
After the conflict, Bond retrieves a device which he believes has been used to alter the course of the HMS Devonshire. His suspicions are then confirmed when he lands at a US air base, in the south China sea, to have the device looked at. This two-minute scene actually took place at the Royal Air Force Mildenhall, Forest Heath, Suffolk, and the air base was even dressed with fake palm trees to create the illusion.
The RAF Mildenahall was heavily used during World War II and for most of the duration it was used for the deployment of the RAF Bombers command. The site was even attacked multiple times by the German’s during the war, but was never out of commission for more than a single day.
In the present day, the air base is used by the United States Air Force as part of their 100th Air Refuelling Wing and other operational activities.
For this biographical drama, “The Theory of Everything”, starring Eddie Redmayne, tells the story of the astonishing life of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. The film focuses on the relationships he had with his wives, his battle with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and his incredible scientific career and achievements.
As the majority of the film takes place in small area, the production team decided to film on site, and by doing so they were able to take advantage of all the amazing architecture in the area. Ely Cathedral was among the beautiful buildings featured and appears on multiple occasions showing off its Romanesque beauty.
Ely Cathedral also played a pivotal role in the making of hit movie, “The King’s Speech”. The inside of the cathedral was transformed into the interior of West Minster Abbey to replicate the time of the coronation of King George VI.
The present building was actually constructed in 1093 and it wasn’t until 1109 that it officially became a cathedral. The landmarks total area is 46,000sqft and it has exactly 288 steps up to the west tower, attracting around 250,000 visitors per year to the cathedral.
This biographical drama shows the life of the literary giant Iris Murdoch, who is played by Kate Winslet as her younger self and Judi Dench in her later years, both of which received Oscar nominations for their roles. The film follows Iris through her marriage, career and battle with Alzheimer’s.
One of the most heart touching scenes of the film was shot on Southwold beach. The cast and crew had actually spent most of the summer filming in Southwold and Aldeburgh, the former location where Iris Murdoch herself had enjoyed visiting.
Interestingly, Southwold was recorded in the Domesday Book (a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales) as having had a prosperous fishing port in the 11th century and the same harbour is still in operation to this day.
We hope you enjoyed our star-studded tour around Suffolk. Stay tuned for more UK film location articles coming soon.
Suffolk is a beautiful county with fantastic countryside, a great coastline, plenty of places to visit, and a climate which offers some of the driest weather in England - a perfect location!
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