After a dramatic trip to France (filmed at some decidedly English locations), Season 4 of Poldark takes us to London with scenes filmed at a popular location in the capital.
But fans of the show will be glad to hear that some favourite Poldark filming locations in Cornwall and the south west will return. The Botallack mines, Bodmin Moor and St Breward, Charlestown Harbour and St Agnes are still some of Poldark’s most popular Cornish filming locations and they’re not going anywhere.
Where Was Poldark Filmed?
Poldark filming in Cornwall, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire has turned into an event of its own – fans and locals have flocked to location shoots from Bodmin Moor to the Lizard Peninsula to catch a glimpse of Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Heida Reed and the rest of the cast.
As the saga moves forwards, get some new Poldark filming locations for 2018 as Ross heads to London. Poldark’s filming from London to Continental Europe. We also get the chance to see more of Cornish settings like Truro, Trenwith and the Nampara estate.
New Poldark Filming Locations for 2018
The county, and the nation’s, politics play a bigger part as time goes on, and the author saw another opportunity to blend historical fact with fiction.
Sir Francis Bassett and Viscount Falmouth were key political players in 1790s Cornwall, which at the time was mired in the system of rotten boroughs.
Poldark touched on the theme in Season 3, with George Warleggan edging into the fray.
As Season 4 begins, Ross finds himself becoming increasingly, if reluctantly, involved in politics as he tries to right the injustices affecting his tenants and friends.
“Francis Bassett and Lord Falmouth are also in [Season 4] and I think more and more this is what Winston Graham is doing. He’s building a drama and a narrative around these characters and having them interact with fictional characters and that is really exciting I think.”
And with these new plotlines come new settings – and new filming locations with a political slant. Just a couple of episodes into Series 4, Ross gives in to pressure from the county’s higher powers and takes a seat in Parliament.
“With the likes of George Warleggan (Jack Farthing) setting himself up in Westminster Ross realises that he needs to go to fight these kinds of people… but it can’t be done from Cornwall so Westminster is where he needs to be,” commented Aidan Turner on his character’s upheaval.
And so to the new Poldark London filming locations…
The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich is used for exterior shots around the Houses of Parliament. You might recognise it when you see it – this Christopher Wren complex has appeared everywhere.
Greenwich’s Naval College streets and courtyards pop up in the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, where Jack Sparrow chases around its blocks several times as he escapes across Georgian London. They’re also seen in Les Miserables and The Crown and have taken a futuristic turn in Thor: The Dark World.
You can visit this hugely popular filming location easily – it’s open to the public, and so are several of its buildings, which are also frequently seen onscreen.
The interior shots of Ross debating in Parliament were filmed on “a period-correct scale replica of the House of Commons,” as described by producer Michael Ray.
If you’re wondering, the chamber from Poldark’s day burned down in the 1830s. Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin replaced the old Palladian and Neo-Gothic building with the iconic Victorian Gothic complex which is so familiar to us.
Ross Poldark’s London House
Caroline Penvenen stays with her aunt in Hatton Garden, but the newly appointed MP doesn’t have a convenient townhouse of his own. In Winston Graham’s Poldark novels Ross takes rooms off the Strand near Covent Garden, which is known for its Georgian architecture and bustling market.
Appropriately, Ross Poldark’s London lodgings are filmed at Bristol’s St Nicholas Markets. The markets date back to the 1740s, putting them firmly in Poldark’s timeline. Today, the market’s passageways host a mixture of independent and chain retailers with multicultural street food from pies to Portuguese food.
Exterior shots of Ross’s lodging house were filmed in a gated alleyway to the north of the market area. You can’t enter, but if you turn off Corn Lane onto All Saint’s Lane you’ll see it opposite the Exchange Hall.
The Poldarks’ Gentlemen’s Club
Ignore the tone set by Geoffrey Charles’ poorly chosen crowd. The gentlemen’s club where Ross is invited to drink, gamble and mix with the London set is actually far from seedy – and far from the capital.
Poldark’s London club filming location is the sumptuous Kings Weston House on the outskirts of Bristol.
The 18th Century mansion was built on the site of an Elizabethan property. Vanbrugh designed the current house for Sir Robert Southwell, a friend of the Blaythwayt and Winter families of Dyrham Park – known to Poldark fans as the Warleggans’ house.
Don’t expect a sedate Sunday stroll in this park. Ross being Ross, you can expect to see some rather different events in the picturesque London setting.
Bowood House provides Poldark’s Hyde Park filming location. It’s situated in Wiltshire, closer to the show’s home territory, and is famed for its Capability Brown gardens including a vast lake (which, of course, mimics the Hyde Park)
The Georgian stately home belongs to the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne, whose family have lived there since the 1750s. They open the house, its Italianate gardens and landscaped grounds to the public for much of the year. And a hint for fans with a family in tow – there’s an adventure playground and soft play.
Is Poldark Filmed in Cornwall?
Winston Graham’s original Poldark books were deeply inspired by the county, capturing the spirit of Cornwall and leaning heavily on everything from its seafaring heritage to the mining industry. Even the characters’ names are taken from Cornish places (Demelza and Warleggan, for starters).
Mammoth Productions film some scenes in neighbouring counties, with several key filming locations dotted around Somerset and parts of Wiltshire.
But a lot of Poldark is filmed in Cornwall, including favourite settings like Nampara and the mines.
“Cornwall is completely different to anywhere else. I love Botallack mines – it’s one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever been on and probably ever will. There hasn’t been a set in Cornwall that I haven’t been blown away by – not literally thank goodness!”
Heida Reed, Elizabeth
Debbie Horsfield’s screenplays continue to make changes to streamline the essence of the original plots into something that carries the same impact onscreen. One of those changes is bringing the Carne brothers into the corn riots.
“… in the book it’s not Sam and Drake who are part of that and it isn’t actually Diego Martin either but it is characters we don’t really know and emotionally that doesn’t give such a punch to it. So that’s an example of something where the full emotional impact is needed so we change the storylines.”
The violent events are brought closer to home too. In the opening episode of Season Four, the friction builds at the docks – actually Charlestown harbour, not far from St Austell and a constant filming location since the first episodes.
Charlestown has appeared as Truro and Falmouth throughout the series, and even did a quick turn as the Scilly Isles.
Originally constructed by Charles Rashleigh in the late 18th Century (the era of Poldark) and later used by the local clay mining industry, the Historic Port of Charlestown is now owned by Square Sail.
Square Sail specialise in maritime filming and the harbour, complete with its own tall ships and a plethora of cannon, rowboats and ye olde barrels, is put to frequent use. You might have spotted it in everything from Doctor Who’s spooky mermaid episode to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.
The historic port is open to visitors if you want to walk in Aidan Turner’s footsteps. While you’re there, the Shipwreck Centre Charlestown sits just above the inner harbour if you want to find out more about sailing and shipwrecks of walk the tunnels used in the old mining days.
Poldark’s filming locations for Wheal Leisure return, as Ross’s mine continues to teeter between success and failure. Filming took place at Wheal Owles, perched high on the cliffside at Botallack in late September 2017.
Redcliffe Caves returned for a dramatic mining scene early in Season 4. They aren’t as treacherous as they appear onscreen though, Gloucester-based MTFX Special Effects added the water which threatens the mine and its workers.
In reality, the manmade caves were dug into the red sandstone near Bristol’s Floating Harbour. They’re not often open to the public unfortunately.
In October 2017, Eleanor Tomlinson and Aidan Turner filmed in Porthcurno, which is the regular location for Nampara Cove, after shooting at Park Head in September 2017.
The hidden beaches of Porthcurno are surrounded by cliffs – when Ross and Demelza aren’t strolling below, the clifftops are best know as the home of the open air Minack Theatre.
Holywell is yet another National Trust beach location that appears in Poldark. The sand dunes of Holywell Bay were used for Poldark’s beach scenes, also in September 2017 – look out for shots of Demelza and Hugh Armitage on the beach.
Its waves make the bay ideal for surfing, and the bay is home to surf schools and surf lifesaving courses, and of course it’s yet another scenic spot and photo opportunity.
Kynance Cove is also used as Nampara land, surrounded by rock faces with low tide revealing hidden sea caves.
It has also made an appearance in another Aidan Turner show, And Then There Were None. The 2015 Agatha Christie adaptation turns the idyllic setting into the backdrop for a chilling series of murders – a far cry from the welcoming shores of the Poldarks’ own shores.
On the Lizard Peninsula, past Helston on some of the farthest reaches of the county, you’ll find Mullion Cove. The sea sweeps into the cove below but it’s actually the nearby cliffs at Predannack Wollas which get the most screen time.
Predannack Wollas is the filming location for many of Poldark’s riding scenes, where they represent the coastal path that connects Nampara with the other estates, mines and villages. In real life, the route is known for its pretty wildflowers, which dot the long grass.
Many of Poldark’s earlier Truro scenes were filmed in Corsham in Wiltshire, centring on the Town Hall.
Look out for Elizabeth and Ross together and the moment when Ross rescues Demelza from a fight while she’s dressed as a boy in the first episode.
Although Corsham pops up in establishing shots now and again, these were all filmed in 2014 – other towns have taken over street scene duties since then.
Frome stands in for Truro from Season 2 onwards, lending its winding cobbled streets to Poldark’s Truro. One location, the sloping Gentle Street, dates back to the 7th Century.
It’s given a historical makeover to accentuate its quaint cobbled charm, and in a nice touch its former pub building has been taken back in time with fresh 18th Century pub signage.
Bath Street and Christchurch Street East feature in Season 4, with filming taking place in November 2017.
The Somerset town of Wells has been a popular Truro substitute too, with two shoots in 2017. Some late Season 3 filming took place in February, with the cast and crew returning at the end of November 2017 to start work on Season 4.
Most of the filming centres around the Warleggan Bank.
Truro Assembly Rooms
In Series 1, Ross has recently returned from America to find his old life in tatters – he attends a ball at Truro Assembly Rooms but feels completely at odds with his peers and leaves in a self-destructive mood.
Georgian assembly rooms still stand in Bath, but Poldark’s Assembly Rooms scenes were actually filmed in a mansion a few minutes away from the town. The Palladian building was once a private stately home but is now part of Prior Park College, a Roman Catholic school.
One glance at its grounds and Palladian bridge beyond the mansion building hints at their designer, the celebrated landscape gardener Capability Brown. They’re not highlighted in the Poldark episode, but this National Trust-operated landscape garden has plenty of atmosphere from the era and is open to visitors throughout the year.
Wells Town Hall in Somerset provided the exterior filming location for the Warleggan Bank – look out for it from Season 3 onwards. It dates back to 1779, placing it firmly in the days of Poldark where the Warleggans could have been proud of their bank’s contemporary architecture.
One other aspect of Poldark’s Warleggan Bank filming location is rather appropriate in an unexpected way. Wells Town Hall stands on Market Place, named after the location of the town’s original market, so the wooden market stalls seen onscreen actually brought this location’s own past back to life.
If you want to check it out in person then take note, the Poldark team made a couple of other changes too.
The Warleggan lettering is an obvious addition. In fact, the area above the portico bearing name is usually surrounded by carved balustrades and the lower floor of the façade is lines with glass-paned doors. Onscreen, they’re covered to look like flat stone surfaces.
Old Meeting House
The arrival of the Methodist Carne brothers brings the series a new setting to match Sam and Drake’s passion for their faith.
The Poldark Old Meeting House location is Leigh Chancel in Wiltshire. The Chancel is all that remains of this 13th Century church (much like its onscreen counterpart, with Winston Graham’s books explaining that the Old Meeting House is set up in a similar location).
Holcombe Old Church in Somerset has been used for most of Poldark’s church scenes. This little country church once at the heart of a village, but after the Black Death destroyed the community, the remaining villagers moved away.
With the location manager meeting with the Associate Priest of Coleford with Holcombe to check over a few details, although a few points of historical accuracy were compromised to made to simplify matters for the viewer.
Dwight and Caroline’s Wedding
Caroline and Dwight’s wedding was filmed at St Winwaloe Church in Gunwalloe on the Lizard Peninsula, near the other filming locations of Predannack Wollas and Mullion Cove.
St Winwaloe was born into a Cornish family in the 6th Century, and later returned to the county – a fitting saint for a series that pays homage to Cornwall’s heritage. The church as we see it onscreen is a combination of ancient beginnings, a Norman tower, Tudor oak carvings and a few Victorian embellishments.
The real Sawle, Cornwall, is St Agnes near Redruth. Like Winston Graham’s creations St Ann’s and Sawle, which lie on the edge of the Nampara estate, St Agnes is an old fishing town on the north coast.
St Agnes is said to have inspired Poldark’s creator and it’s easy to see the similarities – there’s even a Stippy Stappy Lane, a place which is occasionally glimpsed onscreen but is a frequent setting in the novels.
Penberth’s hamlet is used as the cottages on the edge of the village. Rosina’s house is here, as is the cottage given by Ross to the ill-fated miner and his wife in the first series – in other words, the characters who cause the most trouble for Dwight Enys. Two seasons later, the filming location returns when the Drake and Sam Carne take up residence.
You can visit the area for a scenic walk if you don’t mind an uneven path – it’s yet another scenic National Trust spot.
Bodmin is featured heavily when Ross is tried for pillaging a wrecked Warleggan ship. The show has filmed in the Bodmin area but never in the town itself – several different locations stood in for the courtroom and surrounding streets.
Ross Poldark’s courtroom location was actually nothing of the sort. Those sombre wooden pews and distinctive panelling belong to John Wesley’s Chapel in Bristol, which were built by the Methodist founder. The New Room is still put to everyday use (when it’s not guest starring in period dramas).
Exterior shots were filmed outside The Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester.
If you want a more relaxed visit to Poldark’s version of Bodmin than Ross, Demelza and Francis experienced then you might be interested to know you can stay overnight on the delightful campus in the Cotswolds.
Bodmin Assembly Rooms
Berkeley Castle is used as Bodmin Assembly Rooms. Look out for this Norman castle’s Long Drawing Room onscreen, its stone walls revealing its age.
The Berkeley family still live here almost a thousand years after taking it on – you can visit this sprawling Norman castle to explore for yourself and find out more about the family’s unique Saxon lineage.
This Gloucester filming location is popular with film crews, with a shoot for the upcoming Johnny English 3 movie taking place just a couple of months before the Poldark team descended to film Season 4 scenes.
Quimper Prison in France
In Series 3, one fateful decision has thrown Dwight Enys into the war against France and subsequently into a prisoner of war camp in Brittany. Ross’s dramatic rescue attempt will go on to have far-reaching consequences too, making this setting a prominent one.
Quimper really was a dreaded prison in the 1790s. Winston Graham’s books reference the Duke of Wellington’s sister, who was a prisoner for just under a year, and historical accounts are just as grim as you’d imagine.
The Poldark French prison location is the rather more pleasant Bishop’s Palace – another filming location in Wells, Somerset.
Like Quimper it has connections to the Church, giving it architecture that convinces us that this bishop’s palace near a cathedral is the monastery-turned-nightmare.
“I can confirm that they did film here, and used the undercroft, the entrance, the chapel and gardens. Parts of the Palace were recognisable and bits weren’t,”
commented Operations Manager George Le Roy
It’s open to the public, so you can explore its medieval moat, drawbridge and ramparts for yourself. But you might soon forget about the grim location it portrays, thanks to its colourful gardens and modern tea room.
The town in Revolutionary France which Ross’s rescue team navigate is actually a familiar location playing a dual role. Producer Michael Ray got straight to the point: “Berkley Castle in Gloucestershire was transformed into a guillotine-happy port town”.
While the interior appears in the guise of Bodmin Assembly Rooms, the exterior’s historic stone walls provided the perfect setting for the crew’s fraught escape.