Visit Rosamund Pilcher’s Filming Locations
Published: Friday 14th Jun 2019
Written by: Harriet Wills
One of Cornwall’s most prolific writers, Rosamund Pilcher is a literary inspiration. Retaining a humble public presence in the UK, her books achieved a global reach and generations of followers in Germany, where she is regarded as an iconic national treasure. Born in Cornwall in 1924 and sadly passing away in February 2019, her novels sold over 60 million copies worldwide and have been adapted into countless films, series and shows.
Growing up in Lelant, Pilcher moved to Scotland after she married in 1946, never living in her county of birth again. Despite this, her novels continued to use Cornwall as a central theme, referencing many of the places she knew throughout her childhood. Best known for her most famous novel The Shell Seekers, her works continue to attract legions of fans and followers looking to tread the pages of her stories and experience the rugged beauty of Cornwall.
Following its first film in 1993, the German television broadcaster ZDF has made over 110 Rosamunde Pilcher films, many of which are filmed here in Cornwall. If you would like to pick up the trail and visit Rosamund Pilcher’s filming locations, here are some places for you to discover:
The Lizard Peninsula’s Bonython Estate has been used in several Pilcher adaptations, including The Prime of Life, Summer of Awakening and Never Kiss a Lawyer. If you visit, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the treehouse that was built for one of the films in the garden and retained as a permanent feature!
Beautifully recreating Pilcher stories for generations to enjoy, ZDF has inspired legions of viewers with stunning panoramic and aerial shots, showing off the county’s hopelessly beautiful landscapes. Among these, the Bedruthan Steps are regularly contenders, and we can understand why!
On the edge of the wild and rugged Bodmin Moor, the historic market town of Bodmin is another place often stars in Pilcher films. The railway station has been used countless times, while the town itself was most notably used a backdrop in the film The Cliffs of Love.
Once the haunt of the likes of Laura Knight and Alfred Munnings, Lamorna Cove has since gone onto regularly grace our screens. The location for many adaptions of Pilcher’s novels, Lamorna was used for the setting of The Empty House, Another View, Voices in Summer, and The Shell Seekers.
The towering cliffs of Land’s End draw streams of visitors every year and are also a key part of the Rosamund Pilcher trail. Park in the car park at Land’s End or enjoy a stomp along the South West Coast Path from Sennen and see where The Day of the Storm and Lights Games were filmed.
A Victorian country house maintained by the National Trust, Lanhydrock boasts beautifully sculpted gardens and a wooded estate. Often used as a backdrop, you may also recognise Lanhydrock House from ZDF’s Question of Love and The Cliffs of Love.
Pencarrow House near Bodmin is no stranger to the limelight, regular appearing in films, series and documentaries. In 2011, it enjoyed another winning role as a winery in the Pilcher film, English Wine. Grade-II listed, you can visit the impressive house and gardens in the summer.
Prideaux Place Padstow
The stunning Prideaux Place, a Grade-I listed Elizabethan manor house in Padstow, has appeared in not one, not two, but 16 Rosamund Pilcher films. With its deer park, rolling grounds and stately rooms, it has provided the perfect setting for numerous stories.
St Agnes Head
Wowing audiences with dramatic visual depictions of the Cornish coast, St Agnes Head can be seen in many Pilcher films. Home to iconic former engine houses, a stunning circular walk between St Agnes Head and Wheal Coates will take you past jaw-dropping vistas and provide the perfect place to lose yourself in adventure.
Famed for the quality of light and magnificently clear waters, St Ives is well-known for its deep-seated connection with the arts. Making use of the picturesque scenes, ZDF have chosen several of St Ives’ local landmarks as subjects for filming, including Tregenna Castle and St Nicholas Chapel.
St Michael’s Mount
A mystical island castle rising from the sea, you don’t really need an excuse to visit St Michael’s Mount. One of the most stunning attractions in the country, it naturally makes regular appearances on TV and was also depicted in the Pilcher episodes The Shell Seekers and Coming Home.
Trewithen House has been used twice as a location for Pilcher films; the first saw the house’s interior featured in 1999’s The Blossom of Life, whilst the second used the south face of the building in 2005’s Amazing Grace. If you would like to explore Trewithen’s beautiful gardens, they are open to the public in season.
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