Travel guide to Summer in February

Walk in the footsteps of Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens, and see the beautiful Cornish setting from this tale of art, love and scandal

Summer in February, the screen adaption of Jonathan Smith’s novel, set in 1913 Cornwall, is based on the diaries of land manager Gilbert Evans. Starring Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) Dominic Cooper (Mamma Mia, An Education), and Emily Browning (Sleeping Beauty), the tale takes place in the bohemian years before the First World War, and follows painter Alfred Munnings as he becomes embroiled in an ill-fated love triangle.


The beautiful £5 million film is shot mainly in Lamorna, a small fishing village and cove near Penzance, complete with surrounding rugged cliffs, deserted beaches and lush green fields. Follow our top spots to visit from the movie…

Also featured in Channel 4’s Country House Rescue documentary, this centuries-old estate’s courtyard and library were used for filming Summer in February. It’s now a hotel which guests can stay at to fully immerse themselves in the history of the area.

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Scenes from the races in the film take place here at Downs Barn Farm, which was transformed into a track for filming. It’s possible to stay at the actual farm and explore the beautiful nearby St Loy cove and bordering nature-rich wild fields and woods.

Alfred Munning’s friend Gilbert Evans would take walks with fellow artist Florence Carter-Wood along sections of this 630-mile coastal path filled with heritage, wildlife and natural scenery. They would often enjoy the 5.3-mile path through Kemyel Crease Nature Reserve, past Victorian market gardens and Lamorna Cove from Lamorna towards Mousehole.

Named after the neighbouring Lamorna Cove, this boutique hotel sits atop the cliff near Land’s End. The cast of Summer in February stayed here, and enjoyed sweeping sea views, contemporary aquamarine couches and leather tub chairs, offset by chunky wooden floors.

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Artists from Newlyn Arts School came here to work. Abstract painter and sculptor Marlow Moss, whose works are housed in the Tate and Henry Moore Institute, lived here from 1942 until 1958. Today, visitors can hire the cottage and be inspired by the surrounding gardens and indulge in the local cider (from neighbouring Polgoon vineyard) as the great local artists would have done years ago.

Artist Florence Carter-Wood is buried at this historic church, which dates back to the 16th century. It was the only church in the area that would accept her body, after the scandal. On a stroll around the graveyards look out for Newlyn artists Thomas Cooper, Gotch Stanhope and Elizabeth Forbes, who are also buried in the grounds.

Gilbert and Florence would meet at this stone circle, dating back to the Bronze Age. Nineteen granite megaliths sit here – legend holds that they are maidens turned into stone, as punishment for dancing on a Sunday. Two other stones north east of the circle are believed to be the petrified pipers that played the music for them.

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Images courtesy of Phil Williams, Wiki Commons, Lamorna Cove


Summer in February is in cinemas now