Watching Christmas films on television is one of the best ways to get into the festive spirit. But why not go one step further and visit some of the filming locations featured in the movies?
To make it easier to decide which movie location to visit this festive season, we’ve compiled a report on the best Christmas film locations to visit in the UK, ranked by popularity on-screen and off.
All of the locations on this special Christmas list have appeared in festive films and are accessible to visitors, either openly or through the paid entry. The venues range from villages and neighbourhoods to tourist attractions and historic sites.
|Position||Film||Location||Year||Rating on IMDB||Rating on Rotten Tomatoes||Reviews on TripAdvisor||Hashtags on Instagram||TOTAL SORE (out of 100)|
|1||The Snowman||Brighton Pier||1982||8.2||80%||8,720+||345,000+||78|
|2||Last Christmas||Covent Garden||2019||6.5||46%||25,100+||1,520,900+||74|
|3||Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire||Hogwarts Great Hall at Harry Potter Studio Tour||2005||7.7||88%||45,500+||3,460+||69|
|4||Love Actually||Notting Hill||2003||7.6||64%||2,890+||1,581,200+||67|
|6||Bridget Jones' Diary||Snowshill||2001||6.8||80%||1,530+||16,340+||52|
|8||Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey||Elm Hill, Norwich||2020||6.4||89%||640+||9,150+||46|
|9||The Holiday||Shere, Surrey||2006||6.9||50%||3,740+||4,140+||43|
|10||Father Christmas is Back||Birdsall House||2021||4.5||0%||0||1,590+||12|
Methodology: To assess the Christmas film locations and rank them in order of popularity, the report assigned a total score based on movie ratings from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, plus the number of Tripadvisor reviews and Instagram hashtags the physical locations have generated.
Here are the top ten Christmas film locations to visit in the UK this festive season:
1. Brighton Pier – featured in The Snowman
Brighton Pier and other south coast attractions appear in the animated classic The Snowman. Films don’t get much more Christmassy than this one, which follows the story of a young boy who builds a snowman that magically comes to life and takes him ‘walking in the air’ above the snowy countryside to see Father Christmas. This film location did so well because the film was the best-rated Christmas movie on IMDB and Brighton Pier is an exceptionally popular tourist attraction that has many quality reviews on Tripadvisor.
2. Covent Garden – featured in Last Christmas
Last Christmas tells the story of a young woman plagued by bad decisions, who meets a love interest who seems too good to be true. Set in and around Covent Garden in London, the lead character even works in a year-round Christmas shop in the covered market. The movie gets mixed reviews from critics and doesn’t score particularly well on rating sites with only 46% from Rotten Tomatoes. But whatever you think of this film, there’s no denying the popularity of Covent Garden as a visitor attraction, especially at Christmas time when it’s adorned with festive decorations. This location is incredibly popular and has, to date, generated 1,520,955 Instagram hashtags.
3. Hogwarts Great Hall – featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Although not strictly a Christmas film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire features several festive scenes and the impressive Great Hall at Hogwarts is the setting for the epic Yule Ball. It’s not actually a real place but a replica of the Great Hall can be seen as part of the Harry Potter Studio Tour. The run-up to Christmas is the absolute best time to visit when the hall is decked in traditional festive decorations, similar to how it appeared in the film. The quality of the film and its popularity as a tourist attraction, which has resulted in 45,501 reviews on Tripadvisor, ensured a high placing for this magical movie location.
4. Notting Hill – featured in Love Actually
This romantic comedy has been a Christmas favourite since its release in 2003. The film follows the lives of eight couples as they navigate trysts in their relationships in the lead-up to Christmas Day. It’s one of the highest-rated films by IMDB on our list with a score of 7.6. The film has become synonymous with the Notting Hill area of London, where many of the famous scenes were shot. This has helped contribute to the huge number of Instagram hashtags the location has generated to date – 1,581,218 and counting.
5. Paddington Station – featured in Paddington
With a whopping 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, Paddington is the best-rated film on our list. While it’s not a Christmas film, the magical feel-good caper has become a perennial favourite on festive TV schedules. The story of the Peruvian bear who winds up with a family in London is an amusing and touching film that pleased critics and audiences alike. One of the central scenes takes place at Paddington Station, one of London’s biggest train stations, which has so far generated 43,673 Instagram hashtags.
6. Snowshill – featured in Bridget Jones’ Diary
This quintessential Cotswolds village received a bump in visitors after an appearance in the 2001 romantic comedy Bridget Jones’ Diary. The movie opens in Snowshill with Bridget turning up at her parent’s house on a wintry New Year’s Day. Many people now stop for a photo outside the village church or one of the quaint houses that appear in the film, making it a popular Christmas film location.
7. Coventry Cathedral – featured in Nativity!
Nativity! is one of the UK’s favourite Christmas films, mainly shot in and around Coventry. The film follows the story of a primary school teacher who must put on a showstopper of a nativity worthy of a Hollywood audience. The sentimental comedy culminates in a performance at Coventry Cathedral ruins. Regardless of the film’s appeal, the cathedral is a wonderful, historic site popular with visitors during the festive season.
8. Elm Hill, Norwich – featured in Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
This picturesque area of Norwich features heavily in the magical Christmas film Jingle Jangle, starring Forest Whitaker and Hugh Bonneville. It’s a highly acclaimed film with a rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes thanks to its exuberant spirit, impressive special effects and uplifting message. Snowy Elm Hill provides a backdrop for the adventure and its cobbled streets, multi-coloured houses and quaint shops ensure it’s a hit with visitors on Instagram.
9. Shere – featured in The Holiday
On paper, The Holiday should have become a much-loved Christmas film to rival Love Actually. It featured some of Hollywood’s biggest names and has some memorable moments. But the film never quite resonated with audiences or critics. As a result, it received relatively low ratings. It did, however, put the village of Shere in the spotlight and many people visit to see the charming backdrop where the snowy scenes were filmed.
10. Birdsall House – featured in Father Christmas Is Back
Okay, so this film featuring Elizabeth Hurley and Kelsey Grammer turned out to be a bit of a turkey but Birdsall House, where many of the scenes were set, is a beautiful place to visit. It scored so low because the film is not highly recommended and Birdsall House is not often visited. But the beautiful country house surrounded by glorious Yorkshire countryside is a popular wedding venue and private guided tours of the property are available.
And if you want to extend your Christmas experience in London or in the UK, take a look at our magical Christmas tours to visit popular locations in Britain and make unforgettable memories.