Just like Sanditon and Poldark before it, The Pale Horse – the latest BBC flagship drama with a primetime Sunday slot – was filmed on set at The Bottle Yard Studios and on location in Bristol, with support from Bristol Film Office.

The two-part series has been adapted by Sarah Phelps from the Agatha Christie novel of the same name and follows Mark Easterbrook, played by Rufus Sewell, as he tries to uncover the mystery of a list of names found in the shoe of a dead woman. The story is set in the capital during the 1960s and Bristol locations have been recast as London landmarks.

Here's our guide to the areas of Bristol where The Pale Horse was filmed, so you can head into our UNESCO City of Film and discover them for yourself.  

Rufus Sewell & Henry Lloyd Hughes on set at The Bottle Yard Studios (image courtesy Mammoth Screen, Agatha Christie Ltd, BBC)

Image credit: Mammoth Screen, Agatha Christie Ltd, BBC

Arnos Vale Cemetery

With its classical buildings, historic monuments, sweeping leafy drives and woodland landscapes, Bristol's atmospheric Victorian garden cemetery was chosen as a recurring backdrop in this Agatha Christie mystery. You may have already seen it featured in other TV shows such as Sherlock, much of which was also filmed here in the city.  

The cemetery is open to explore year-round, with the option of going on a self-guided wander or joining a fascinating themed tour. Stop in at the café for organic coffee, gourmet food, cake and locally brewed beers.

Arnos Vale Cemetery

Image credit: Arnos Vale Cemetery

Ashton Court Estate

Just 10 minutes outside the city centre you can enter the Ashton Court Estate, an 850-acre haven of woods, grassland and deer park. Together with the historic mansion, this vast green space has been used by production teams on a variety of high-profile shows, from Antiques Roadshow and The Young Ones to Poldark. It’s featured prominently in The Pale Horse.

While you’re visiting, there's a chance to stretch your legs, have a game of pitch and putt, ride the miniature railway or even brave the mountain biking trails. Then once you’re done exploring, fill up on delicious treats at the Courtyard Café, housed inside the mansion’s former stables.

Ashton Court mansion

Image credit: Ashton Court Estate

St Nicholas Market

Dating all the way back to 1743, St Nicholas Market remains Bristol’s most popular market today, home to a warren of intriguing shops and globe-spanning street food outlets. Properties overlooking the market were brought to life as period police station interiors for The Pale Horse and it’s also appeared in shows like Doctor Who, Skins and more recently, The Trial of Christine Keeler.

There's a variety of outdoor markets that fill Corn Street and Wine Street alongside St Nick's most days, plus you can carry on shopping round the Old City's charming permanent stores such as Stanfords and the Original Bristol Blue Glass outlet shop. 

Police station in The Pale Horse, filmed in properties overlooking St Nicholas Market

Image credit: Bristol Film Office

Queen Square

Not far from St Nicholas Market and a stone’s throw from the Harbourside is another charming piece of Georgian Bristol – Queen Square. The picturesque park is surrounded by cobbled streets and magnificent townhouses, which make it the perfect double for a Chelsea apartment block in The Pale Horse.

Time your visit for a sunny day when Queen Square is ideal for picnicking and people watching. Head out of the park from any corner and you’re also greeted with great places to eat and drink, from feel-good food at café Friska to floating restaurants on Welsh Back to the pubs and bars of King Street, where historic theatre Bristol Old Vic and its restaurant 1766 also stands.

Statue of William III in Queen Square

Image credit: Tamany Baker 

Clifton Village

In the upmarket shopping suburb of Clifton Village, another row of stunning Georgian houses on West Mall was used as the iconic King’s Road. From here, you’re in easy reach of an eclectic selection of shops and boutiques, as well as first-class restaurants and cafés.  

Clifton Suspension Bridge is also just minutes away – taking in the view of Brunel’s masterpiece and the Avon Gorge below is a must when you’re in the area. Visit the Observatory for a unique perspective from the Camera Obscura and the cliffside viewing platform, or admire the bridge with a drink in hand on The White Lion Bar terrace.

Filming The Pale Horse in Clifton

Image credit: Tony Miles

Frogmore Street

From Chelsea to the East End, Frogmore Street in the city centre was one of the areas chosen to serve as a grittier backdrop. A top spot for nightlife, this street winds past the O2 Academy, The Hatchet Inn – the oldest pub in Bristol, and gay bars the Queenshilling and OMG.

It’s perhaps best known for a piece of street art though – Banksy’s Well-Hung Lover, which you can get a view of by heading up the steps to Park Street. Below the piece you can also see a myriad of murals painted by other street artists. A seamless cover up job was done for The Pale Horse set, so you won’t spy this on screen!

View of Banksy's Well-Hung Lover from Park Street

Image credit: Destination Bristol

Denmark Street

Nearby Denmark Street stands in for the Soho district in the series. Fittingly for representing an area known for its theatre and live entertainment, the Bristol Hippodrome is just around the corner, often welcoming West End shows and musicals on its stage. If you fancy having your mind boggled by magicians, Smoke and Mirrors – the UK’s only boutique magic theatre and pub – is also here.

Interior at Smoke and Mirrors magic theatre and boutique pub

Image credit: Smoke and Mirrors

The first episode of The Pale Horse is available to watch on BBC iPlayer and the second episode airs on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday 16 February. It will be available on Amazon Prime Video from 12 March.

Bristol UNESCO City of Film 2020 showreel from Bristol UNESCO City of Film on Vimeo.

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Where to find The Pale Horse filming locations in Bristol

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