Poldark wouldn’t be Poldark without its glistening blue waters, its craggy cliffs and its sweeping expanses of romantic Cornish countryside.
The BBC drama takes us right back to the turbulent years of the late 18th century, with Cornwall as the timeless backdrop to plenty of topless bathing and horseback riding. The show also takes us to the Capital as Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) goes to Westminster.
But where exactly are all the different filming locations in Cornwall, Bristol – and beyond?
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Here’s what you need to know
Where was the theatre scene filmed in series 5?
Bristol Old Vic “has a starring role in the series five opening episode,” producer Michael Ray has revealed, when Ross and his friends decide to spend an evening at the theatre in London.
This Grade 1 listed building was built in 1766 on King Street in Bristol, and is the oldest continually-operating theatre in the English-speaking world.
Where are the Westminster scenes in Poldark filmed?
Now Poldark is an MP, the Westminster area of London has been recreated with the help of Greenwich Naval College, which you’ll have almost certainly seen on screen before: it has been used as a filming location for Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Mummy Returns, The Avengers, Lara Croft Tomb Raider, Pirates of the Caribbean, Les Miserables, and Thor: The Dark World.
But the actual House of Commons scenes were filmed in a period scale replica built in the show’s Bristol studio…
Where are Poldark’s interior scenes filmed?
Poldark has been based at Bristol-based filming studio The Bottle Yard ever since the first series filmed in 2014. Major interior sets were built at the studio, as well as the production offices, costume, construction and props departments.
By series five, the Studios had built up a total of 18 sets. These included the interiors of four key houses: the Poldarks’ Nampara home in Cornwall, his London lodgings, and the Warleggans’ homes in Cornwall and London.
There were also sets for the Red Lion Pub and Sawle Kiddley.
With Poldark coming to a close, these sets have now been dismantled. But Aidan Turner says he’s taken an important piece of furniture to use in his own home: “I sent a text to Karen Thrussell, our executive producer, asking if I could possibly have the kitchen table and benches from Nampara as it is this beautiful, vintage French table, and they said yes, so I am very excited to put them in my house.
“That will be a cool memento because it was at the middle of all of the big scenes we had in Nampara and where a lot of things went down.”
Where are Ross Poldark’s London lodgings?
Ross Poldark’s lodgings in London may look pretty legit, but the exterior was actually filmed in Bristol – in St Nicholas Market.
We also see some of London’s Hyde Park in the series, but it’s not actually Hyde Park. Instead, producers used the grounds of Bowood House, a Georgian country house in Wiltshire with an extensive park and garden.
The London gambling and dining club was filmed at Kings Weston House, a grand historic building in Bristol.
Where is Ross Poldark’s cottage at Nampara filmed?
Scenes featuring the exterior of Ross Poldark’s rustic Nampara cottage are shot on Bodmin Moor, along with many other horseback scenes. The actual building that stands in for his cottage is located near St Breward.
Bodmin Moor is also the site of the miners’ cottages, and is home to Dr Dwight Enys’s original cottage and Poldark Way.
Where are the Nampara Valley scenes filmed?
The fictional Nampara Valley, part of the Poldark family estate, is filmed using St Agnes Head. Here, old engine houses perched on the cliff edge give a sense of the scale of Cornwall’s mining heyday.
Naturally, the area has also been used for those classic horse-riding scenes.
Where is Trenwith mansion filmed?
At the grander end of the scale is the Poldarks’ ancestral home at Trenwith, where George now lives with son Valentine.
Producers opted to use Chavenage House in Tetbury, Wiltshire. The Elizabethan mansion is now the family home of David Lowsley-Williams, but all signs of modern living (light switches, cables, radiators…) had to be covered up; gravel was removed from the driveway and the wallpaper and curtains were switched out.
Where are Poldark’s Truro and Falmouth scenes filmed?
Producers have made good use of Charlestown, near St Austell. It stands in for Poldark’s version of Truro, and also – with its tall ships and old-fashioned appearance – plays the role of Falmouth.
Where are Poldark’s mining scenes filmed?
The TV series shines a a light on Cornwall’s mining heritage, with Ross’s mine Wheal Grace.
These scenes were filmed at the National Trust’s Botallack mine, part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. The engine houses, situated between the town of St Just in Penwith and the village of Pendeen, were built in the mid-1800s at the height of the Cornish mining boom.
Also featured on the show is Levant Mine and Beam Engine. This National Trust owned mine is well preserved and restored, and houses the only existing working steam beam engine (as featured in series two when Ross and Francis debate the merits of the machine’s inventor, engineer Richard Trevithick). Levant appears on screen as Tressiders Rolling Mill, where the copper from the Poldark mine goes to be processed, while the roofs of the ruined engine-houses were recreated digitally with the help of the visual effects team.
Redcliffe Caves in Bristol were used for interior shots of the tin mines. These manmade tunnels beneath the Redcliffe area of the city were excavated during the middle ages to provide sand for glass making and for pottery, and they were later expanded and used for storage of trade goods.
Additionally, a mine interior set was built at The Bottle Yard Studio – with the walls crafted out of moulded polystyrene.
Where are Poldark’s beach and cove scenes filmed?
Aidan Turner’s Ross Poldark is particularly fond of clifftops and beaches. That’s understandable when you consider Cornwall’s gorgeous seaside locations.
With a huge expanse of golden sand and grass tufted dunes, Holywell Bay has made several appearances – with encounters between Ross, Demelza and George Warleggan, and horseback races between Dwight and Caroline. You may also have stopped its iconic twin-peaked Gull Rock, which sits just off shore.
Also featuring heavily is Porthcurno, which stands in for Nampara Cove. Here, producers found a beach with soft white sand, turquoise water and high cliffs on both sides.
You may remember Porthgwarra from that classic scene when Ross took a swim in the crystal clear water – while Demelza spies from the cliff tops. A peaceful spot with plenty of wildflowers and birdlife, Porthgwarra is at the heart of the St Aubyn Estates and is also home to the tunnel where Ross stored his boat.
The team also took a trip to Kynance Cove, which is one of Cornwall’s most famous beaches and proves great aerial shots and clifftop riding scenes.
Where are Poldark’s clifftop scenes filmed?
Talking of clifftops: nearby to Porthgwarra is Gwennap Head, a headland with panoramic vistas across the Penwith peninsula. This is the scene for many a romantic horseback ride.
Producers also made use of the windswept headland at Predannack Wollas, the cliff tops at Park Head near Porthcothan, and Levlizzick in North Cornwall.
Where was Poldark filmed in the West Country?
In Bristol, filming locations include Colston Hall, All Saints Court, Tailor’s Court, Leigh Court, Ashton Hill Plantation, Ashton Court Grounds & House and Redland Church.
Further afield, other West Country locations you’ll see on screen include Chavenage House (Gloucestershire), Frome’s narrow cobbled Gentle Street and Bath Street, Bowood House, Great Chalfield Manor and Neston Park (Wiltshire).
In the small cathedral city of Wells in Somerset, the town hall was transformed into Warleggan Bank, and The Market Place became Penniless Porch.
The area of Black Rock in Somerset doubles up as the fictional village of Sawle, while St Andrews Church in Holcombe becomes Sawle Church.