Pembrokeshire Movie Magic

Pembrokeshire has some stunning scenery, with its sweeping green vistas and golden sandy beaches. It’s no surprise then to find our charismatic county popping up on the silver screen as the setting and inspiration of some of cinemas most iconic pictures, as well as being the birthplace to some of the stars who have brought these films to life.


Read on and discover how our picturesque coastal county tucked away in idyllic West Wales has found itself on the world’s biggest stages:


Whilst Pembrokeshire has set the stage for some modern blockbusters, it’s also been home to some classics. The quiet town of Fishguard was sprinkled with some Tinseltown magic when legendary actor Gregory Peck arrived on set to shoot the 1956 adaptation of literary classic Moby Dick. Peck played the incorrigible Captain Ahab as he hunted down the monstrous white whale. The town had been chosen specifically by director John Huston as the first setting for filming to take place in.


Fishguard was chosen as the home to the stars 20 years later as well as the 1972 adaptation of Dylan Thomas classic Under Milk Wood was shot in the quiet coastal town. Megastars such as Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor descended on Fishguard to recreate one of West Wales’ most famous sons most iconic works. Filming wasn’t met without controversy however, as residents of Laugharne in Carmarthenshire, the town which serves as the inspiration for Under Milk Wood’s fictional setting of Llareggub, cried blasphemy as they claimed Laugharne was the only place that the story could be authentically told.


The 1970’s also saw Pembrokeshire bring to life one of the most iconic pieces of one of films most enduring franchises. Under a veil of secrecy, a hangar at Pembroke Dock was the construction site for one of science-fictions most iconic spaceships. Under the codename “Magic Roundabout” covert works took place. Rumours spread among locals about a mysterious craft or UFO being behind the hangar doors. They in fact were not far off. What was being built by Pembrokeshire hands was actually none other than the Millennium Falcon, the famous starship of Harrison Ford’s Han-Solo, being built in preparation for 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. Upon completion the huge full-scale model was deconstructed and moved to Elstree Studio’s in Hertfordshire to be used in filming. To celebrate Pembrokeshire’s contribution to Star Wars’ legendary legacy, a permanent installation is being planned to take pride and place in Pembroke Dock.


Star Wars’ current day story also holds a link to the county. Current Lucasfilm General Manager and Executive Vice-President Lynwen Brennan is a Pembrokeshire native, having worked on bringing the Star Wars universe to life for over twenty years.


Pembrokeshire’s beaches hold some magic to them. It’s no surprise then that a number of Hollywood directors have chosen the Pembrokeshire coast as locations to bring their films to life.


High-fantasy fare Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), starring Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, hit Marloes Sands for its climactic battle scene. Horses and warriors charged from either end of the beach as the forces of good and evil clashed on Pembrokeshire sand.


Not to be outdone, Freshwater West was the stage of the final battle for Ridley Scott’s 2010 telling of Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe. Over 600 extras and 150 horses descended on the quiet coastal beauty spot to duke it out in the movie’s climactic finale. Cliffs and warships arriving out of the water were digitally added to tie the scene together and accentuate the epic sands.


What Freshwater West is perhaps best known and most popular for however is its links to the modern classic, Harry Potter.


Used as a location for the films later instalments, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010), Freshwater West has become a pilgrimage site for lovers of the wizarding world. On its sands stood Shell Cottage, the home of wizards Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour. The cottage had to be weighed down by water weights, so it didn’t get lifted off by the coastal winds, which would’ve been a real magical sight to behold…


Most endearing about the beach is that it was used as one of the films most beloved characters final resting place. Dobby the house elf’s passing was an emotional blow for Harry and for fans of the series. However, those wishing to visit Dobby’s grave can do so by taking the trip to Freshwater West. Marked by stones atop a grassy rise overlooking the sands and swirling waters, Dobby’s grave is a popular site for fans to stand in a place of true, wild magic.