It’s not just about the feuds and romances. The Poldark filming locations are one of the best bits of the series, setting the scene perfectly – usually with the help of flickering candlelight.
Cornwall’s finest onscreen residents live in truly sumptuous homes, ranging from Georgian splendour to medieval manors. Find out which of their real life counterparts is minutes away from a smuggler’s haven and which National Trust location has earned an unusual accolade.
A few of the grand houses used in Poldark are open to the public, if you want to step into the 18th Century for yourself. We can’t guarantee Ross and Demelza will be there to greet you though.
Where is Nampara?
Nampara House in Poldark is placed on Cornwall’s north coast in Winston Graham’s original novels, somewhere around the St Agnes area.
The beaches around St Agnes are seen onscreen as part of Ross and Demelza’s estate (along with several National Trust beauty spots on the Lizard Peninsula) but their onscreen house is further inland.
Interiors and Nampara’s courtyard are shot at Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios.
The main Nampara filming location is privately owned. Though the farmhouse isn’t open to visitors, you can visit the local town of St Breward on the edge of Bodmin Moor.
It’s also just a few minutes’ drive from Jamaica Inn. The smugglers’ paradise was made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s novel, and visitors will find items from the author’s life as well as the inn’s dark past at the museum there.
The inn itself is fully functioning with two bars, food service and haunted bedrooms for brave overnight travellers.
The Warleggans’ Town House
The Warleggan house Poldark location is in fact Dyrham Park. This 17th Century stately home is situated between Bristol and Bath, and from the Tudor era to the mid-20th Century, the house was the home of the Blaythwayts.
As lawyers and merchants they turned over generous profits. Like Ross Poldark’s rival, their financial success brought status and a route into politics which secured their social position. The current house was built when the first of Dyrham Park’s Blaythwayts married the heiress to the estate, and invested in transforming it from a Tudor manor to an imposing Georgian mansion.
Fortunately for fans of the Warleggan House filming location and its elegant stylings, the property was given to the National Trust in the mid-20th Century and opens to the public regularly.
The apartment of Mr Blaythwayt, the original owner, is laid out as it would have appeared in the 17th Century. Even better if you’re seeking a taste of life in a bygone era – you can smell and sample hot chocolate made to an original recipe in this immersive step back in time.
Great Chalfield Manor near Bath is Poldark’s Killewarren filming location. If it looks familiar, you might have spotted it in The Other Boleyn Girl or Wolf Hall – this house is popular with film productions.
In Winston Graham’s novels, the Penvenens have lived at Killewarren for centuries so it’s easy to see why this 15th Century house was chosen as Caroline Penvenen’s home.
Built in 1465 by a wealthy businessman, Great Chalfield Manor is a charming, sprawling medieval manor. Inside, the stone walls of the Great Hall are covered by a tapestry while the dining room is a cosy wood-panelled affair, with cast fireplaces throughout.
This National Trust property is still home to the donor family tenants, the Floyds, but visitors can see the house by guided tour and explore the Arts and Crafts gardens which surround it (visit in February to catch its snowdrops).
Where is Tehidy House?
Sir Francis Basset’s grand country house, Tehidy, features increasingly often as Ross Poldark and George Warleggan move into the historical figure’s political circle.
Tehidy House is real and is situated in Illogan on Cornwall’s north coast. It was once the seat of the respected Bassets, and the manor was founded on the family’s copper mining fortune in the 1730s – well within the realms of Poldark’s narrative. And as depicted in the books and BBC series, it would have been one of the grandest homes in the county.
Unfortunately this stately building isn’t accessible to the public though – it has been converted into flats after a stint as a hospital, while the grounds became a Country Park.
The Poldark Tehidy House location, Leigh Court, is one of the show’s non-Cornish locations though it’s relatively close to the studios used for interior shots. Set in smart grounds with an elegant interior to match, this Bristol filming location makes a more than passable Tehidy for fans of the original Poldark books.
Leigh Court featured prominently in the Doctor Who Christmas special 2015, The Husbands of River Song, with Alex Kingston and Peter Capaldi taking part in a top secret shoot over several days.
Where is Trenwith Filmed in Poldark?
Trerice near Newquay is said to have inspired Winston Graham’s original Trenwith. Built by Cornwall’s grand Arundell family (approximately equivalent to the Chynoweths), the house is now run by the National Trust and open to the public.
It doesn’t appear onscreen though. Another Elizabethan manor plays the part.
The current Poldark Trenwith filming location is Chavenage House in the Cotswolds, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Trerice (and Trenwith, of course).
On the front façade, the many-paned windows are a signature detail of the Poldark residence. A similar window is the standout feature of Trerice’s own great hall (it holds over 500 individual panes of glass, if you’re wondering).
So little had to be changed for filming that visitors can almost step right into a scene from the series. Chavenage’s the tapestries date back to the 17th Century and its rooms are set out with heavy carved-wood furniture from its four-century history.
The Lowsley-Williams family manage their own visitor services, when they’re not enjoying all the novelties of filming. Visitors with an interest in the English Civil War might be interested to find they’re walking in Oliver Cromwell’s footsteps as well as Poldark’s.
Sir Hugh Bodrugan’s House
The Bodrugans really were a prominent Cornish family with heraldry dating back to the 13th Century. Daphne du Maurier featured the family in her novel, The House on the Strand, but we know them best as the boisterous gentry with a soft spot for Demelza.
Horton Court in South Gloucestershire is first seen as Poldark’s Magistrates Court for the trial of Jim Carter. Later on, the same building was used as Sir Hugh Bodrugan’s home for exterior shots.
You might recognise it from another BBC drama though. The Living and the Dead featured the house prominently as Shepzoy House, where Colin Morgan and Charlotte Spencer’s unsuspecting landowners found themselves with a spooky mystery to solve.
The manor is not just the oldest of Poldark’s houses, it’s the oldest roofed National Trust property. Most of Horton Court dates back to the 16th Century but it was actually built around a 12th Century Norman hall which still stands.
Horton Court is currently closed to the public for restoration works, but this National Trust property will eventually open its doors again. For the first time, the Tudor part of the house will be opened as well as the hall and gardens as soon as the project is complete.