As the fifth and final series of Poldark hits our screens, we're shining a spotlight on the BBC show's Bristol connections. It might be synonymous with the landscapes of Cornwall, but the production has been based in Bristol, as have a host of other hit TV shows.

As well as 18 sets at The Bottle Yard Studios, filming locations in the city have included interiors for four key houses – Poldark’s home in Cornwall (Nampara) and London lodgings, the Warleggans’ homes in Cornwall and London – as well as the Red Lion Pub, Sawle Kiddley and an impressive period scale replica of the House of Commons.

Follow in Poldark’s footsteps with our guide to some of the filming locations open to visitors.

Poldark series 4 - House of Commons set at The Bottle Yard Studios - credit BBC & Mammoth Screen
Image - Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark. Credit: BBC Mammoth Screen 

Bristol Old Vic

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. 

Located in King Street, Bristol Old Vic is the oldest continually-operating theatre in the English-speaking world. It has also featured in productions before, including ‘The Duchess’ – the Oscar and BAFTA winning drama based on Amanda Foreman's biography 'Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire', starring Keira Knightley.

As well as stunning productions, the theatre has a fascinating heritage exhibition and excellent café and bar.

Auditorium at Bristol Old Vic - credit Phillip Vile
Image credit: Philip Vile 

John Wesley's New Room

John Wesley's New Room was in series 2 of Poldark, first broadcast in October 2016. The Chapel was transformed into 'Bodmin Assizes Court' for the trial of Ross for alleged murder and wrecking.

The 18th century chapel is the oldest Methodist building in the world, welcoming people from across the globe, and it is regularly used as a set for period drama. More recently, a new museum has opened in the original building, telling the story of John and Charles Wesley, eighteenth-century Methodism and its relevance today.

Interior of The New Room in central Bristol - credit The New Room
Image credit: The New Room

St Nicholas Market

Another stunning Georgian location, St Nicholas Market is also a location you will have seen in more than one production.

In Poldark, the market area provides the exterior of Poldark’s London lodgings but it has also featured in Doctor Who (as Victorian London in the 2012 Christmas Special, The Snowmen) and in Being Human, the supernatural drama series about three people sharing a house in Bristol, struggling to come to terms with their paranormal alter-egos – also starring a certain Aidan Turner. It was also used a number of times in Skins.

The Rummer Hotel in St Nicholas Market
Image - St Nicholas Market

Ashton Court Estate

Once home to the Smyth family, Ashton Court Estate is now a historic park just 10 minutes from the centre of Bristol. Designed by Humphry Repton and covering 850 acres of woods and grasslands, some of Bristol’s most notable events and festivals take place here, including Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.

As well as being the country estate in Poldark, it has been a set in a number of productions, most recently in Ill Behaviour. It's also where Scumbag College took on Footlights Oxbridge in the iconic Young Ones University Challenge scene and was setting for the Afghan war and horse and carriage scenes in the feature length Sherlock episode, The Abominable Bride.

Aerial view of Ashton Court Estate  - Credit Jon Chamberlain
Image credit: Jon Chamberlain 

Berkeley Castle

Historic Berkeley Castle on the edge of the Cotswolds was a filming location for series two, three and four of Poldark. It provided the backdrop for a handful of scenes, varying from doubling up as Roscoff market when Poldark travels to France to a place of execution. Poldark is just one of many film and TV shows filmed here - The Other Boleyn Girl, Wolf Hall and Johnny English 3 are among the others. 

Berkeley Castle and grounds
Image credit: Berkeley Castle

Redcliffe Caves

Redcliffe Caves are actually manmade tunnels beneath the Redcliffe area of the city, which were used for interior shots of the tin mines. Dating back to the middle ages, they provided sand for glass making and for pottery, later used for storage of goods. The glass making kilns that once dominated this area are all gone with the exception of one, which has been transformed into the Kiln Restaurant at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel. The caves are only open to the public during special events such as Bristol Open Doors or Bristol Film Festival.

Interior of the Redcliffe Caves in the Redcliffe area of Bristol - credit Bristol Film Office
Image - Redcliffe Caves

The Bottle Yard Studios

Series one filmed for six months in 2014 on interior sets including The Red Lion pub and Poldark’s Cornish home. Series two returned in 2015 for a seven month shoot, building additional sets and basing full costume department on site, complete with sewing, dying and fitting rooms. Series three filmed from Sept 2016 – Feb 2017.

Series four production ran from Sept 2017 – Jan 2018, and the fifth and final series filmed from Sept 2018 – Feb 2019. By this time Poldark’s studio footprint had grown to a total of 18 sets across three studios, including five main interiors; Poldark’s ‘Nampara’ home in Cornwall and London lodgings, the Warleggans’ homes in Cornwall and London, Whitworth Vicarage and Sawle Kiddley. A period-correct scale replica of the House of Commons was also built for the final two series.

Poldark series 4 - House of Commons set at The Bottle Yard Studios - credit BBC & Mammoth Screen
Image - House of Commons set at The Bottle Yard Studios 

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