On location in the West Country

New with Toad Hall Cottages

Well the sun’s not been quite so hot but we’ve managed to stay dry all week and we’re looking forward to a long weekend of relaxation. The property team have been busy again with three new holiday cottages on our books, just to confuse you even more. Beautiful, rural retreat The Linhay offers cosy living in the heart of the South Hams while No.1 The Meadows provides guests with stunning views of Salcombe Estuary. Finally, newly refurbished Blue Skies in Noss Mayo offers lavish comfort in a contemporary style making it the perfect year round get away.

Mr Toad on location!

We were all a bit excited last week when we discovered Owl City’s latest music video was recently filmed in beautiful Hope Cove, just down the road from us and home to 9 of our favourite holiday cottages – our IT manager was particularly excited, almost falling off his chair, when his son made an appearance towards the end of the video, if this blog makes it live the chances are he’s failed in his bid to retire from work early and live off the royalties.

Inspired by seeing the South Hams in the spotlight, we decided to do some research into other examples of the area’s gloriously diverse landscape captured in film – we didn’t have to look far! Having ensured me that he spent the past decade writing autocue for Jonathan Ross’s film review show, Mr Toad was allowed to whittle down the extensive list to his 5 favourite blockbusters filmed in the West Country.

And so it goes…

Alice in Wonderland, 2010 – Starring (deep breath) Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas, Alan Rickman, Barbara Windsor, Stephen Fry and Mia Wasikowska!

Alice in Wonderland, the 18th highest grossing film of all time, directed by Tim Burton, was largely shot in various locations across Devon and Cornwall. The beautiful National Trust property, Anthony House, in Torpoint was heavily featured, as were parts of the wonderfully pristine, former Georgian port of Charleston in Cornwall.

To go on the star trail and step into Underland, why not try one our fine selection of holiday cottages in Looe and Polperro, a perfect hub for both locations.

Sense and Sensibility, 1995 – Starring Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman (again!), Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant

The multi-award winning screen adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel was filmed at a number of locations in Devon, most notably at another National Trust property. This time the stunning country-estate of Saltram House became Norland Park, home to the Dashwood girls. Other locations included the picturesque castle village of Berry Pomeroy and 14th century Compton Castle, both just a stones throw from the fascinating South Hams market town of Totnes. The cobbled streets of Plymouth’s Barbican also featured and the imposing Montacute House in South Somerset was used for several scenes.

Take a trip back in time and pick up the country-estate trail in South Devon from the comfort of any of our wonderful country cottages in the area.

The Eden Project starred in Die Another Day

Die Another Day, 2002 – Starring Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Judy Dench, John Cleese and Madonna (Yes really!)

Cornwall’s dramatic landscape and excellent surfing beaches made it the obvious choice as a setting for substantial parts of the 20th Bond film. The opening scenes saw professional surfer Laird Hamilton take to the waves as Brosnan’s stunt double in a surf sequence filmed near Newquay, North Cornwall, while baddy Gustav Graves’s dodgy diamond mine was in fact the world’s largest greenhouse, the Eden Project, just outside historic St. Austell, Cornwall.

To take to the waves or to gawp in awe at the sheer size of the Eden Project’s biome’s try any of these Cornish hideaways.

The French Lieutenants Woman, 1981 – Starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons

Before filming Out of Africa in Kenya, Meryl Streep enjoyed England’s more forgiving climate when starring in the Oscar nominated adaptation of John Fowles’s romantic drama, shot on location in and around Lyme Regis, Dorset. Having relocated from London, Fowles’s first Dorset home was an isolated farm house which provided inspiration for the The Dairy setting in his novel. He moved again, this time just along the road to Lyme Regis where the rest of the story was played out.

Now part of Dorset’s hugely important World Heritage Site, visitors can retrace Victorian footsteps in historic towns like Lyme Regis, or turn the clock back even further with an adventure along the Jurassic Coast. We have a selection of quality holiday cottages that span East Devon and South West Dorset for that perfect hub.

Wind in the Willows, 1995 – Starring Monty Python’s John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin alongside Steve Coogan, Stephen Fry and Victoria Wood

And finally, well, we couldn’t leave it out could we? No, seriously, we couldn’t – anyone who’s seen this account of Mr Toad’s adventures would know what a volatile so-and-so he can be! So, above The Dam Busters, Moll Flanders and The Three Musketeers, all part filmed in the South West, we’ll instead pay homage to the only story extravagant enough to bring the Monty Python team back – the 1996 remake of Kenneth Grahame’s famous tale, filmed largely around North Cornwall’s Camel Estuary.

Just 7 miles from our hub in Polperro, the small village of Lerryn lays claim to being Grahame’s inspiration, with Ethy Manor becoming Toad Hall and both Ethy Woods and the Great Woods offering the magical qualities that became the motivation behind the book’s fictional Wild Woods. Visitors can go in search of Ethy Rock, where it is suggested Grahame sat among the willows at the river bank, penning Mr Toad’s misdemeanours.

So there you have it, some of the world’s best known film stars (…and woodland creatures) have had the privilege of enjoying the wonderful history and beauty offered by the South West and with summer well on its way you’d have to be a Golden Raspberry winner not to follow in their footsteps!