As every Whovian knows, the Time Lord’s adventures in space and time mostly take place in Wales. Since Doctor Who’s rebirth in 2005, Cardiff and the Welsh countryside have doubled for everywhere from London to cyberspace.
Doctor Who Experience – the props and costume museum in Cardiff Bay – is due to close this summer, but that’s not the only place where you can see a piece of the action.
1. Millennium Centre
Where? Roald Dahl Plaza, Cardiff Bay
Home to the Wales National Opera, the Millennium Centre has appeared in numerous episodes ranging from the hospital in “New Earth” to the tour booking facility in “The Girl Who Waited”. In addition to viewing opera, ballet or musicals, groups of 10-plus can arrange a one-hour guided where Doctor Who gets a frequent mention (£5pp).
The Roald Dahl Plaza will be recognisable to Torchwood fans as it is the site of the Rift and Torchwood Three, the headquarters of which are located in Mermaid Quay.
Where? Cardiff Bay
Home to the Welsh Parliament, Senedd appeared in “The Lazarus Experiment”. Designed by the Richard Rodgers Partnership to incorporate excellent environmental credentials, the hot air from the debating chamber is literally used to power the natural ventilation. Admission is free.
3. The Millennium Stadium
Where? Near Cardiff Central train station
The Millennium Stadium (currently called the Principality Stadium after its sponsors) appears in a number of episodes. It’s where the Daleks made their comeback in the episode “Dalek”. Its car park is used as Stormcage, the facility where River Song is held. Stadium tours: adults £12.50, under 16s £9, under 5s free.
4. National Museum of Wales
Where? Cardiff city centre
The National Museum of Wales stood in for the Musée D’Orsay in Paris in “Vincent and the Doctor”, the International Gallery in “Planet of the Dead” and featured in “The Big Bang”, the finale to series five. The museum displays an extensive collection of art, as well as engaging archaeological, zoological and geological exhibits. Admission is free.
5. Caerphilly Castle
Built in the 13th century by one of Henry III’s most powerful barons, Gilbert de Clare, the magnificent Caerphilly Castle corridors doubled as a monastery in ”The Rebel Flesh” and “The Almost People”. It has also featured in “The End of Time”, “The Eternity Trap”, “The Vampires of Venice”, “Lost in Time” and “The Power of Three”. Admission: adult £7.95, under 16s £5.20, under fives free.
Nearby Cwm Ifor Farm, Morgan Jones Park and White Cross Inn have been used as filming locations for “Journey’s End” and “Countrycide” respectively. cadw.wales.gov.uk
6. Margam Country Park
Where? Near Port Talbot
This 850-acre country estate has a deer herd, an orangery, adventure playgrounds, a farm trail, a narrow-gauge railway and a mock castle. It’s also hosted some climactic Doctor Who episodes including “The Big Bang”, “The Pandorica Opens” and “The Sontaran”. Entry to the park is free unless there’s a special event.
7. Southerndown Beach
Where? Vale of Glamorgan
Southerndown is one of the largest beaches in South Wales, featuring impressive rocky formations. This beach doubled as the significant “Bad Wolf Bay”, where the Doctor says his final farewell to Rose in “Doomsday” and “Journey’s End”. It also doubles as Alfava Metraxis in “The Time of Angels”.
9. St Fagans National History Museum
Where? The outskirts of Cardiff
St Fagans National History Museum was used for the village in “Human Traces” and “The Family of Blood”. At St Fagans, buildings have been relocated to the museum from all over Wales. It is possible to visit anything from an Iron Age Village to a Miners’ Welfare Building. Admission is free.
10. Tredegar House
Tredegar House interiors have stood in for Versailles in “The Girl in the Fireplace”, Sir Robert’s house in “Tooth and Claw”, the school in “Human Nature” and “Family of Blood”. Tours frequently mention its use as a Doctor Who location. Nearby Magor Brewery also double as Cybermen factory floors in “The Age of Steel”. Admission to the house: adult £9.20, child £4.60.
11. Park & Dare Theatre
Where? Treorchy, Rhondda Fawr valley
This theatre has its roots in the cultural life of miners as it was built as a Working Man’s Institute in 1892. Expanded before WW1 to include a large cinema and theatre, it still hosts over 500 performances a year. Park & Dare has been invaded by the Daleks for “Daleks in Manhattan” and “Evolution of the Daleks”. It’s one of the few theatres where a Dalek has blown up on stage.
12. Dryffyn Gardens
Where? Near Cardiff
Dyffryn Gardens is seven miles from Cardiff. Both the house and its gardens have featured in many episodes. The house appears as the hospital and Donna’s bedroom in “The Forest of the Dead” and Reinette’s bedroom in “The Girl in the Fireplace”. The gardens starred as those of Versailles in the latter and in “The Girl Who Waited”. Admission: adult £9.60, child £4.80.
13. National Botanic Garden of Wales
Where? Llanarthne, Camarthenshire
The dome in the National Botanic Garden of Wales served as the Hydroponics Centre in “The Waters of Mars”. The dome, designed by Norman Foster and Partners, is the largest single span glasshouse in the world. Admission: adult £10.50, child £4.95.
14. Rhondda Heritage Park
Where? Rhondda Valleys
“The Doctor’s Daughter” told the story of a war-torn dystopia and a race bred underground to fight. The episode was shot at Rhondda Heritage Park where you can explore the history of the mining communities of Rhondda Valleys. Admission: adults £3.95, child £2.75. It’s closed on Sundays.
For more information on film and TV locations in Wales, go to visitwales.com
Do you know of any other filming locations in South Wales? Let us know in the comments box below
Radio Times Travel short breaks