Wales At The Movies

May 22, 2024
Fergus Wilkie

Top 10 Movie Shots in North Wales

North Wales is renowned for its stunning landscapes, rich history, and enchanting castles, making it an ideal location for filmmakers. The region’s dramatic scenery has provided the backdrop for many memorable movie scenes. Here are the top 10 movie shots captured in North Wales.

1. “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” (2017) – Snowdonia National Park

Guy Ritchie’s epic retelling of the Arthurian legend utilised the breathtaking landscapes of Snowdonia National Park. The rugged mountains and serene lakes provided the perfect mythical setting. One of the most iconic shots features Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) pulling the sword from the stone against the backdrop of the mist-covered peaks of Snowdonia, highlighting the mystical and ancient feel of the region.

2. “Tomb Raider” (2018) – Llyn Gwynant

The reboot of the “Tomb Raider” franchise starring Alicia Vikander features several scenes shot in North Wales. Llyn Gwynant, a glacially formed lake in the heart of Snowdonia, stands out with its picturesque surroundings. The lake’s serene waters and lush green hills create a striking contrast to the action-packed sequences, adding depth and beauty to the film’s visual storytelling.

3. “Clash of the Titans” (2010) – Dinorwig Quarry

Dinorwig Quarry, near Llanberis, provided the otherworldly landscape for the 2010 remake of “Clash of the Titans.” The quarry’s jagged rocks and expansive, desolate terrain were perfect for depicting the harsh, mythical world of ancient Greece. One notable shot includes Perseus (Sam Worthington) and his companions traversing the rugged landscape, capturing the quarry’s eerie beauty.

4. “The World Is Not Enough” (1999) – Penrhyn Castle

This James Bond film features Penrhyn Castle as one of its key locations. The imposing 19th-century neo-Norman castle near Bangor serves as the lair of the villain Renard (Robert Carlyle). The film’s iconic shot of Bond (Pierce Brosnan) approaching the castle’s grand entrance perfectly captures the grandeur and historical significance of Penrhyn Castle, adding a touch of sophistication to the film’s visual narrative.

5. “The Secret Garden” (2020) – Bodnant Garden

Bodnant Garden, located in the Conwy Valley, is a key location in the 2020 adaptation of “The Secret Garden.” The garden’s lush, vibrant flora and beautifully maintained landscapes provide a magical setting for the story. One of the film’s most enchanting shots features the protagonists discovering the hidden garden, with Bodnant Garden’s rich colors and intricate designs bringing the scene to life.

6. “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012) – Brecon Beacons

While technically just outside North Wales, the Brecon Beacons played a significant role in the epic conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The stark, dramatic landscapes were used to depict the prison pit where Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) must climb to escape. The rugged terrain and sweeping vistas provide a sense of isolation and challenge, enhancing the film’s intense and climactic moments.

7. “Willow” (1988) – Betws-y-Coed

The fantasy film “Willow,” directed by Ron Howard, includes scenes shot in the picturesque village of Betws-y-Coed. The village’s charming stone bridges, rushing rivers, and surrounding forests create a fantastical setting perfect for this adventure. A memorable shot includes Willow (Warwick Davis) navigating the enchanting woodland, with Betws-y-Coed’s natural beauty enhancing the film’s magical atmosphere.

8. “The Eagle” (2011) – Beddgelert Forest

“The Eagle,” a historical epic set in Roman Britain, utilised Beddgelert Forest for its dramatic and atmospheric scenes. The dense, misty forest serves as the perfect backdrop for the film’s tense and mysterious moments. One particularly striking shot features the film’s protagonists, Marcus (Channing Tatum) and Esca (Jamie Bell), making their way through the forest, with the towering trees and thick fog adding to the film’s suspenseful ambiance.

9. “Hinterland” (2013-2016) – Aberystwyth

Although a TV series, “Hinterland” (or “Y Gwyll” in Welsh) deserves a mention for its cinematic quality and stunning use of the Welsh landscape. Filmed around Aberystwyth and the surrounding countryside, the series captures the stark beauty of the region. One of the show’s most iconic shots features the brooding detective DCI Tom Mathias (Richard Harrington) standing on a cliff, with the rugged coastline and churning sea emphasising the show’s dark and atmospheric tone.

10. “Macbeth” (2015) – Sychnant Pass

The 2015 adaptation of “Macbeth,” starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, used Sychnant Pass in Conwy as a filming location. The pass’s dramatic, windswept landscapes provided the perfect setting for the film’s intense and brooding scenes. One particularly memorable shot features Macbeth and Banquo (Paddy Considine) encountering the witches amidst the stark beauty of Sychnant Pass, with the rugged terrain and swirling mist enhancing the film’s ominous and foreboding atmosphere.


North Wales, with its diverse landscapes and rich heritage, has provided some of the most iconic movie shots in cinema history. From the mystical peaks of Snowdonia to the enchanting gardens of Bodnant, the region’s natural beauty and historical landmarks offer filmmakers a stunning backdrop to bring their stories to life. Whether it’s the epic battles of “King Arthur” or the dark intrigue of “Hinterland,” North Wales continues to captivate audiences around the world.

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