Inspirations and filming locations that bought Suffolk to the big screen

Our idyllic haven of beautiful English countryside has inspired and captured many creative hearts, but did you know that Suffolk has been the star setting of many movies and TV shows?

Suffolk is fast becoming the new hot place to be when it comes to filming new movies and TV shows. This, of course, all has to do with the beautiful countryside with areas of outstanding natural beauty, our immaculate beaches of which there are plenty, or Suffolk’s wealth of ancient buildings and historical sites. Now, combine all of these with the wonderful key locations with a profound knowledge of the film industry and a £160,000 grant in 2016 to promote the film industry in our county and the exceptional Screen Suffolk was born.

In a recent report, it is stated that the organisation, dubbed Suffolk’s “one-stop” film service, generated a whopping £3.8m for Suffolk between 2016 and 2018. In its first two years, 336 days of filming were completed – a truly massive increase in filming compared to the estimated 30 days a year before Screen Suffolk was set up.

We believe that there is plenty more to come in the future too as Suffolk is brought further into the limelight and the eye of the film industry. There have even been rumours that the next film in the Marvel franchise will be shot in our beautiful county. So what else has been filmed here in Suffolk you ask? We have rounded up a few brilliant examples below, so why not add them to your Suffolk itinerary, visit these great locations and feel the magic of film come to life.

Injustice (2011) – Woodbridge

Injustice TV Show

This British 5-part psychological thriller stars James Purefoy as Will Travers, a barrister living in the Suffolk countryside and who is rapidly losing faith in the legal system. Writer and creator Anthony Horowitz, who also lives in the Suffolk, used the River Deben, Woodbridge, Felixstowe and Southwold as filming locations.

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003) – Sutton Hoo

Theoden wearing his helmet in Lord of  the Rings

During the director’s commentary on the extended cut of the Return of the King DVD, Peter Jackson and the designers discuss at the length how they wished for the design of the kingdom of Rohan to be consistent with Anglo-Saxon archaeology. The artistic advisors researched and studied artefacts found at Sutton Hoo to assist them in bringing Rohan to life. Does Théoden’s look slightly familiar at all to you?

Doctor Who (1978) – Snape

Green  men Doctor Who

In 1978 for 7 days the Village of Snape and its areas surrounding the river Alde was overrun by brightly green painted actors and actresses as it was transformed into the gaseous marshlands of the third moon of Delta Magna. The 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) of course flew in to save the day and Snape soon returned to its normal beauty.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) – Lavenham

Godrics Hollow otherwise known as Lavenham

Godric’s Hollow, a location that features in the books as the birthplace of Harry Potter was filmed on location in the extraordinary medieval village of Lavenham. Whilst both Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson did not actually visit the village for filming you can still recognise shots of the iconic guildhall though the footage has been edited to remove any of the more modern-day buildings.

Downton Abbey (2010-15) – Ipswich

In the trenches at the battle of the somme

The hugely successful period drama Downton Abbey attributes a lot of its success to the accuracy and attention to detail that every actor and member of the crew put into recreating the feeling of the era. When the show wanted to depict the awfulness of trench warfare in the Battle of the Somme they went to expert Taff Gillingham’s Farm just on the outskirts of Ipswich and his two purpose-built trenches, one British, one German and a carefully sculpted no man’s land.

Only Fools and Horses: Christmas Special “The Frog’s Legacy” (1987) – Framlingham

Del Boy Rodney and Uncle Albert

The 1987 Christmas Special of Only Fools and Horses sees the infamously funny characters of Del Boy and Rodney as they set out to find the hidden gold stolen by the deceased friend of their mothers Freddie “the Frog” Robdal. St Mary’s Church in Framlingham was used as part of the set for when Del finds out where Freddie is buried.

The Child in Time (2018) – Shingle Street

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch’s family drama, The Child in Time, focuses around Stephen Lewis, a successful writer of children’s books, is confronted with the unthinkable when his only child disappears in a supermarket. Stephen and his wife, Julie, quickly find themselves torn apart by the scale of their loss. This gripping drama was filmed in the small coastal hamlet of Shingle Street.

Yesterday (2019) – Various locations across SuffolkHimesh Patel and Ed Sheeran

The newest addition to the list comes in the form of Yesterday a British musical comedy film directed by Danny Boyle. The film focusses on struggling musician Jack Malik, who wakes up to discover that no one has ever heard of the Beatles. When he starts to play the band’s songs, he soon becomes a pop sensation. Screen Suffolk assisted in filming in various locations across Suffolk and also with casting including a cameo for Suffolk superstar Ed Sheeran.

The above round-up of filming locations in Suffolk is just the tip of the iceberg and with Screen Suffolk making our county a shining star there is so much more to come. So, whether you are a film superfan and want to go an immerse yourself in the set of your favourite narratives, or, you are looking to do a shoot in a Suffolk location, why not come and join us for a stay in one of our fabulous self-catering Granary Cottages or Accessible Stable Studios. Let Suffolk be your inspiration, but if you don’t know where to start dong forget to check out the rest of our blog.

We look forward to welcoming you.