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Where was The War of The Worlds filmed? Locations in HG Wells' adaptation revealed

What locations were used to resemble Woking and London in the three-part series?

Harry Melling in The War of the Worlds
BBC/Mammoth Screen
Published: Sunday, 1st December 2019 at 9:10 pm

Sci-fi fans eager for a first look at BBC One’s latest adaptation of HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds have had to be patient, but the show is finally here – around two-and-a-half years after it was first announced.


The series, which stars Eleanor Tomlinson, Rafe Spall, Robert Carlyle and Rupert Graves, will unfold over the next three Sundays as Britain is hit by an alien invasion that threatens life across the nation.

One question which may well be on viewers’ minds as they watch the deadly Martians attack Edwardian England is what locations were used in filming – and we’re here to answer that query.

Where is the War of the Worlds set?

In the original book, the bulk of the action takes place in Woking in Surrey – where Wells was based at the time of writing – and in various places throughout London. And although the series is ostensibly based in the same locations, most of the filming was actually carried out elsewhere.

Which locations were used?

Andrew Bainbridge, the locations manager for the three-part series, explained to that most of the shooting of London locations was done in Liverpool – and he said that the city is often his first choice for filming.

He said: “The film office here [in Liverpool] is exceptional for putting you in the right places and getting in touch with the right people. Steven Spielberg always likes to film in Britain if he can – I would always come to Merseyside if I could!

“The city is such a wealth of fantastic locations supported so well by the film office!”

Peter Harness, who wrote the series, added that Liverpool offered all the landscapes that the team needed – a view backed up by director Craig Viveiros, who listed the city’s benefits as, “the sort of architecture you have in close proximity, and being able to close it off to shoot - to dress it, to bring the horse and carts in.”

Liverpool was not suitable for all of the shoot, however, and some of the locations were rather difficult to come by. The alien capsule scenes were shot at Ainsdale Nature Reserve, which was chosen after a lengthy search for a Martian landing site – with Bainbridge explaining that the site was the only one in the entire country to say yes.


Viveiros said of the nature reserve, “We were very responsible! And it was somewhere where the heather actually needed to be burnt, so they were welcoming us.”

Meanwhile the village of Great Budworth in Cheshire moonlighted as Woking for the series – and according to Bainbridge this presented the biggest challenge.

Speaking to, he said: “The most challenging part of the shoot was in Great Budworth – the village. We filmed there when it was very nice – pre-Martian attack. And then... post-Martian attack.

“The challenge there was to bring all the villagers onside. We were going to be there for three weeks. We had to completely close the village traffic. That was quite a number!”


The War of The Worlds airs 9pm on Sundays (starts 17th November) on BBC One.


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