The county of Leicestershire, as well as being home to HA&W’s offices, has hosted some greats of television and cinema.
From Belvoir Castle to Loughborough’s Great Central Railway, here’s a rundown of some of the classic films and TV shows at least partly filmed on location in and around Leicestershire.
1. The Da Vinci Code, Belvoir Castle
Dan Brown’s 2003 thriller, The Da Vinci Code, was an international phenomenon and bestseller. The second book to feature the adventures of Harvard University “symbologist” Robert Langdon, the book has spawned three further sequels.
On film, Oscar-winning director Ron Howard has brought three Dan Brown books to the big screen, each starring Tom Hanks in the role of Langdon.
Cast and crew descended on Belvoir Castle in 2005.
Situated in North East Leicestershire, the castle was first built following the Norman Conquest of 1066. It has since been rebuilt numerous times and it was the early-19th century, Grade-I listed building that featured in the film.
With the help of some digital effects, the area became Castel Gandolfo in the Lazio region of Italy, the summer residence of the Pope.
Belvoir Castle has also stood in for Windsor Castle in the Netflix series, The Crown.
2. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Bradgate Park
Just nine miles from the HA&W office is the beautiful Bradgate Park. A public park in Charnwood Forest, the 830-acre site features gently sloping walkways as well as wild and rocky hillsides dotted with ancient oak trees, perfect for exploring.
The landscape proved to be the perfect backdrop for Robin Hood’s adventures in the 1991 blockbuster, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
The much-loved film – often disregarded by critics – stars Kevin Costner in the title role. The film co-stars Morgan Freeman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and the scene-stealing – and BAFTA-winning – performance of Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Enjoy the bombastic escapism and keep an eye out for Leicestershire’s Bradgate Park and Old John Tower in the background.
3. Rush, Donington Park
Ron Howard makes a second appearance on our list with this 2013 film exploring the rivalry between Formula 1 greats James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 World Championship.
Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Snow White and the Huntsman) stars as charismatic and self-confident Hunt alongside Daniel Brühl’s portrayal of the quiet and exacting Austrian.
As well as archive footage of both stars in action, the film used original cars from the drivers’ careers at international race circuits including Brands Hatch, Snetterton, and Nurburgring, the latter of which was used by the filmmakers to stage a recreation of Lauda’s 1976 crash.
Filming also took place at Leicestershire’s Donington Park.
4. The Hours, Loughborough Great Central Station
Loughborough’s Great Central Station has appeared in numerous films and TV series, including Cemetery Junction, Shadowlands, and Enigma.
The Hours, a 2002 drama directed by Stephen Daldry stars Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman amongst an ensemble supporting cast.
Based on Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel of the same name, the story follows three women of different generations as their lives are affected by Virginia Woolf’s novel, Mrs Dalloway.
From 2000’s New York to 1950s California, we travel to 1920s England and Virginia Woolf herself, struggling to finish her novel as she battles mental illness.
Kidman (starring as Woolf) filmed scenes at Loughborough Station in June 2001.
The film received nine Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. Nicole Kidman won the Oscar for Best Actress.
5. The Young Victoria, Belvoir Castle
Before Julian Fellowes created Downton Abbey, he wrote the screenplay for the British period drama The Young Victoria.
The film – starring Emily Blunt in the title role – follows the early life and reign of Queen Victoria, and her marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Producers on the film include both Martin Scorsese and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. Miranda Richardson, Mark Strong, and Jim Broadbent also star.
Interiors for the film were shot at Belvoir Castle. The Elizabeth Saloon features as the quarters of Queen Victoria’s mother, while Victoria’s Palace bedroom was filmed using both the Chinese Bedroom and the Tapestry Room.
Queen Victoria herself visited the castle on many occasions, staying in the King’s Room. This, too, features in the film, serving as the honeymoon suite.
The grounds of Belvoir also feature prominently, as they do in both Young Sherlock Holmes and 1991’s King Ralph, starring John Goodman.