The 10 best British TV show filming locations to visit

DOWNTON ABBEY, BERKSHIRE

The "real" Downton Abbey is actually Highclere Castle, nestled, not in Yorkshire like the TV show, but in peaceful, rolling countryside 100 kilometres west of London. Owners Lord and Lady Carnarvon open their grandiose home to the public for about 70 days a year. See where scenes from Downton (including its new movie spin-off) were shot and enjoy walks and picnics in the surrounding parkland shaped by the legendary landscape gardener, Lancelot "Capability" Brown. You can even stay on the Highclere estate in one of two historic lodges that are kitted out with mod cons. See highclerecastle.co.uk

POLDARK, CORNWALL

The "Poldark effect" has boosted visitor numbers in Britain's south-west corner, with fans eager to seek out the stunningly picturesque filming locations – not least Porthgwarra, where Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) spied heart-throb Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) taking a topless dip in this cove's crystal-clear waters. Another show to put Cornwall on the map is long-running comedy-drama Doc Martin with Martin Clunes. The quaint fishing town of Port Isaac doubles as the fictional Portwenn. See visitcornwall.com

SHERLOCK, LONDON

Benedict Cumberbatch's star turn as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's private detective inspired a new generation of Sherlockians. Many buzz around the British capital on guided tours, taking in locations from both the original stories and modern TV adaptations. One popular spot is Speedy's, a down-to-earth sandwich bar and cafe where Cumberbatch filmed scenes with Martin Freeman (Doctor Watson). It's close to Euston Square tube station – or a 20-minute walk from 221B Baker Street, where there's a Sherlock-themed museum at Holmes' fictional home. See visitlondon.com

INSPECTOR MORSE, OXFORD

Henley-On-Thames, United Kingdom - July 10, 2015: View across the River Thames towards The Angel Pub with people enjoying the sunshine, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, UK, Western Europe. SunSept29Ten - Traveller Ten - 10 of the best British TV locations - text Steve McKenna
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Oxford's honey-hued university buildings, leafy greens and charming pubs provided an engaging backdrop for Colin Dexter's novels and subsequent TV hit, which starred John Thaw as the Jaguar-driving cop and spawned two spin-offs, Lewis and Endeavour. Enjoy a pint at the cosy Morse Bar inside the dapper Randolph Hotel, where both Dexter – in real life – and Morse – in the books and on screen – have mulled over cases. Meanwhile, the wider Oxfordshire countryside, and quaint towns like Wallingford, Thame and Henley-on-Thames, attract fans of Midsomer Murders, which has been filmed in the area since 1997 (the 21st series is now in production). See experienceoxfordshire.org

GRANTCHESTER, CAMBRIDGESHIRE

A fisherman tries his luck along the banks of the River Cam at Granchester in Cambridgeshire, after heavy overnight frosts turned the county into a winter wonderland.   (Photo by Chris Radburn/PA Images via Getty Images) **Single Use Only**
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Tucked four kilometres south of Cambridge, Grantchester is the idyllic setting of an eponymous 1950s-era period drama that revolves around a vicar with a talent for sleuthing. It's filmed locally, and you may recognise Grantchester's village church, vicarage and thatched cottages, plus the bucolic meadows that hug the River Cam. It's possible to "punt" here on a boat from Cambridge and have cream tea at Grantchester's Orchard Tea Garden that the likes of Virginia Woolf and Bertrand Russell used to frequent. See visitcambridge.org

BROADCHURCH, DORSET

West Bay, Dorset, England, UK - April 23, 2017: View from the cliffs on the beach, with people on the beach and the River Brit on the right SunSept29Ten - Traveller Ten - 10 of the best British TV locations - text Steve McKenna
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The golden sandstone cliffs of West Bay played a central role in this haunting drama starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman. You can walk on the sand and shingle "Broadchurch" beach beneath the cliffs or hike up to the top on a trail that is part of the Jurassic Coast path, which skirts Dorset and neighbouring south-coast county, Devon. Refuel on fish and chips and ice-cream in West Bay village, also known as Bridport Harbour. See visit-dorset.com

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PEAKY BLINDERS, BIRMINGHAM

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - September 15:  Actors reenact part of an original Peaky Blinders plot line set between seasons 4 and 5 involving a Street brawl between different Birmingham street gangs breaks out in real time across multiple streets watched on by fans of the show during day 2 of The Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival 2019 at the Custard Factory on September 15, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns) **Single Use Only**
SunSept29Ten - Traveller Ten - 10 of the best British TV locations - text Steve McKenna
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Photo: Getty Images

Though many scenes were shot in Manchester and Liverpool, Birmingham is the heartbeat of this show, which traces the fortunes of a crime family led by Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy). Tours delve into fact and fiction and reveal the old haunts of the real-life Peaky Blinders that stalked the streets of Birmingham at the turn of the 20th century. In September fans in period attire and Peaky-style flat caps flocked to the first Legitimate Peaky Blinders Festival, co-curated by show creator Steven Knight in the artsy inner-city district of Digbeth. See visitbirmingham.com

DR WHO, CARDIFF

Cardiff, UK - September 18, 2011: The Norman Keep against a blue sky. Photographed at Cardiff Castle. SunSept29Ten - Traveller Ten - 10 of the best British TV locations - text Steve McKenna
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Cardiff Castle. Photo: iStock

You don't need a TARDIS to delve into the so-called Whoniverse. You just need to get to Cardiff. Dozens of filming locations for Doctor Who and its spin-off, Torchwood, are scattered in and around the Welsh capital, including landmarks like Cardiff Castle and the National Museum Cardiff. If you have wheels, take a scenic drive to Dunraven Bay, which stood in for Bad Wolf Bay, setting of some of Doctor Who's most moving moments. See visitcardiff.com

SHETLAND, SCOTLAND

Lerwick town center under blue sky, Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland, United Kingdom SunSept29Ten - Traveller Ten - 10 of the best British TV locations - text Steve McKenna
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Intrepid travellers fly (or take the ferry) to this remote archipelago off northern Scotland to spot cute Shetland ponies and for Up Helly Aa, a spectacular winter fire festival that pays homage to the islands' Viking heritage. Some tourists also come to the ruggedly beautiful Shetland Islands – and its main port town of Lerwick – to follow in the footsteps of Detective Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall), a creation of writer Ann Cleeves, who was recently in Australia to promote Wild Fire, the eighth and final Shetland novel. See shetland.org