If you’ve ever wondered why a certain spot in the New Forest seems strangely familiar then it’s probably for this simple reason – you’ve seen it on screen!
The magical New Forest has starred in some of Hollywood’s most popular films, as well as a host of British TV faves as well. Here are some of the best...
It’s 30 years since the campsite and surrounding area at Fritham starred in the blockbusting 1991 movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. More than 50 per cent of the film’s exterior shots were done in the New Forest, standing in for Sherwood Forest, with Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman galloping on horseback through what is now a beautiful 4.5mile walk.
This Elizabethan beauty near Fordingbridge has appeared several times on the silver and small screens. It starred in the 1977 TV adaption of Children of the New Forest and in 1982, was used for the BBC adaption of The Barchester Chronicles starring Alan Rickman and also for The Woodlanders film in 1997, starring Emily Woof and Rufus Sewell.
Fawley Power Station
The final part of the power station disappeared last year when its iconic chimney was spectacularly blown up but you can still catch it in all its concrete glory in several movies and TV shows.
The disused power station provided both internal and external scenes where it doubled as a Moroccan security facility for Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation where Tom Cruise dives into a giant water-cooled server and holds his breath for six minutes.
In 2017 Fawley Power Station made its appearance in an opening sequence of the most famous movie franchise of all time Solo: A Star Wars Story. The movie’s opener showed a high-speed chase between Han Solo and Qi’ra, filmed at the station in 2017 where the cast were spotted along with props, costumes and even Stormtroopers strutting their stuff!
It was an extremely busy year for Fawley as the TV show Spies was based there and it also appeared in the ITV Endeavour episode, Harvest, where it stood in for an Oxfordshire nuclear power station.
The Georgian town and its rural surroundings featured in the entire second series of ITV detective drama Unforgotten, starring Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar, in 2018. The town’s Angel and Blue Pig in Lymington was used as the detectives’ HQ, with other parts of the town and locations in the Forest used in the storyline.
That same year Lymington featured in A Year in the New Forest, the four-part Channel 4 TV series which focussed on life in this unique National Park.
Those with long memories may also remember the town (and many other New Forest locations) appearing in the Worzel Gummidge Christmas Special ‘A Cup O’ Tea and a Slice O’ Cake’, starring Jon Pertwee as the mischievous scarecrow.
Rhinefield House Hotel
Smash-hit Netflix drama The Crown came to Rhinefield near Brockenhurst for three days for its Season 3 in 2018, where it stood in for the Royal Family’s Scottish home, Balmoral.
Some furniture and other items were swapped out to re-create the 1970s although most of the filming, starring Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth and Helena Bonham-Carter as her sister, Princess Margaret, were done outside around the hotel’s pool.
One of the unsung stars of the 1966 multi-Oscar-winning movie A Man for All Seasons, about the tragic life of Tudor courtier, Sir Thomas Moore, was the Beaulieu River. In one memorable scene, King Henry VIII, played by actor Robert Shaw, sails up the ‘River Thames’ in a glamorous barge and jumps out into one of Beaulieu’s reed beds in what was supposed to be ‘Chelsea’.
To make things more confusing still, he leaps over a low garden wall into Moore’s garden and the location does a quick change to Oxfordshire, where the house used as Moore’s was located. Prop builders constructed a temporary wall beside the river to allow for continuity.
The river has also starred as Miami’s waterfront in The Infiltrator as well as in an episode of Walks With My Dog, featuring chef James Martin.
Nearby Palace House has also had its own shot at stardom. The 2005 film Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, starring Joan Plowright, an episode of Most Haunted and episodes from the TV series The Avengers were shot in the grounds.
Other New Forest locations spotted on screen include...Barton On Sea, star of the 2016 Cadbury’s Christmas advert, which was filmed in Byron Road, famous for its community light decorations, Lyndhurst, which welcomed The Undateables and featured Bolton’s Bench and the High Street, Lepe Lighthouse and estate beach which doubled for a US beach in the Channel 4 comedy, Catastrophe, starring Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan.
New Milton’s St Mary Magdalene Church featured in the 1980 BBC comedy series Potter, starring Dad’s Army’s Arthur Lowe and last, but certainly not least, Ringwood Leisure Centre appeared as the fictional Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre in BBC comedy The Brittas Empire. Cast members kindly returned to the town in 2017 to re-open the refurbished building.