Did you know most of Poldark isn’t filmed in Cornwall?
It’s true that Cornwall contributes some pretty spectacular vistas (we’ve also written a guide to the main Cornish locations and the beaches in series two), but it can’t take all the credit for Poldark’s lovely locations.
In fact, the production is based at Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios (where Sherlock is shot), so many of them are in Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. Here’s where to find them.
This market town on the eastern edge of the Mendip Hills made its Poldark debut in series two. Gentle Street doubled as Truro and visitors will also recognise St John’s Church. With its winding cobbled alleys and historic buildings, wandering around the centre feels like stepping back in time. Visitors also come for the artisan and independent shops, thriving arts scene and Frome Independent, a monthly mini-festival.
For more information: discoverfrome.co.uk
John Wesley’s Chapel
When Ross Poldark faced the hangman’s noose in court in series two, he was actually in an 18th century chapel: The New Room in Bristol.
The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, built this chapel shortly after arriving in Bristol in 1739, which makes The New Room the oldest Methodist building in the world. It was also used as a meeting house, school and dispensary for medicine. It’s open Mondays to Saturdays, 10am-4pm.
For more information: newroombristol.org.uk
Great Chalfield Manor
This 15th century manor house near Bradford on Avon has been used for a variety of locations, including a party in the Great Hall and scenes in the gardens and grounds. It’s not the first time Great Chalfield has starred in a drama. It also appeared in Wolf Hall as Austin Friars, the home of Thomas Cromwell, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and The Other Boleyn Girl.
It was built by a wealthy businessman and is famous for its Arts & Crafts-style garden. In 1943, the manor was handed over to the National Trust but the grandson of the last owner still lives there with his family. Entrance to the house is by guided tour only.
In the first series, the town hall and high street of the historic market town of Corsham doubled as 18th century Truro. Nearby Neston Estate had a cameo in series two.
For more information on Great Chalfield: nationaltrust.org.uk/great-chalfield-manor-and-garden
Sheldon Manor near Chippenham dates back to the 12th century and apparently is Wiltshire’s oldest inhabited manor house. In Poldark, it doubles for Werry House, which is described in the books as “the largest and more disreputable” of the six country houses that make up high society in Poldark’s triangle of Cornwall. It’s the home of Sir Hugh Bodrugan, who “sprawled and belched like a lecherous volcano while Constance Lady Bodrugan, his stepmother, who was young enough to be his daughter, bred dogs and fed dogs and talked dogs most of her waking hours.”
It’s privately owned and not open to the public but you can get married there.
And in Gloucestershire…
This Cotswold manor in Tebury is transformed into Trenwith, the home of Poldark’s father. It dates from Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Visitors will recognise the Great Hall (where Ross learned that Elizabeth would marry his cousin) and the Oak Room. The crew changed the wallpaper, added period curtains and put up a 30-candle chandelier. It’s only open to the public during the summer months.
For more information: chavenage.com
In the first episode of series two, Bodmin Assembly Rooms doubled as the drawing room at Berkeley Castle. Its other claim to fame is that this is where King Edward II was imprisoned and murdered in 1327, before the Berkeley family reconstructed it in the late 12th century. They have lived here ever since.
As well as the castle and the gardens, there’s a tropical butterfly house with 42 exotic species and the world’s largest moth. It’s open from Sunday to Wednesday until the end of October, 11am-5pm.
For more information: berkeley-castle.com
Royal Agricultural University
Bodmin Square can be found at the RAU in Cirencester, which was transformed into a Cornish market place with stalls and a local pub. The college was built in 1845, making it the first agricultural college in the English-speaking world.
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