Are you swooning over the dark and handsome Poldark, or perhaps the feisty and fabulous Demelza? If so, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to visit some of the Poldark filming locations in Cornwall. Here are fifteen places to visit and swoon over!
Hailing from Australia, I managed to miss most of the Poldark hysteria. However, given I couldn’t escape the constant reference to it is my newfound home of Cornwall, I decided to give it a watch.
Let’s just say it didn’t take long before I was all aboard the Poldark train. I mean, a dark and handsome socialist who is prone to rash decisions? A feisty and fiercely loving female protagonist with out of control hair? I really couldn’t have written myself a better drama!
If you haven’t seen it – I really do recommend giving it a try. Not only are the leading characters awfully charming, but you also learn a lot about the history of Cornwall.
Plus, there’s no better backdrop than the beautiful and untamed Cornish countryside. The county’s hidden-away coves and rolling hills certainly add beauty and drama to the show. Trust me, they’re just as gorgeous in real life – so I highly recommend making a day out of touring to the various Poldark filming locations in Cornwall. Here’s how.
Where is Poldark filmed?
If you’ve read the books or watched the show, you’ll know that Cornwall is to Poldark like New York is to Sex and the City. They go hand-in-hand, and in many ways Cornwall is a main character.
It makes sense, then, that the majority of Poldark’s settings are located in Cornwall. Filming locations for Poldark can be found all over the county, but South Cornwall is particularly well represented.
Not every single scene is filmed in Cornwall, however. Arguably the two most striking houses – Trewith (the Poldark family home) and the Warleggan’s grand estate are both located in Gloucestershire.
So, if you want to check out all the Poldark filming locations you’ll have to go beyond Cornwall’s borders — but you’ll find plenty within it.
Poldark Filming Locations in Cornwall
Let’s take a look at 13 places you can easily visit and unleash your inner Poldark! All of these are located in Cornwall, so it’s possible to visit quite a few during your stay in the county.
In the television show, you’ll often hear the characters talk about heading to the city of Truro for everything from shopping for gowns to facing criminal charges.
Truro is indeed a real place in Cornwall — the county’s only city, in fact. However, the scenes of Truro are not filmed there. This is presumably because it’s way too modern — I’m not sure how a Primark and an M&S would fit in to the storyline.
Instead, they’re filmed in the beautiful harbourside village of Charlestown. One look at this pint-sized beauty and you’ll certainly see why, with its gorgeous old harbour and Tall Ships at the ready.
Charlestown is located just a couple of miles away from the hub of St Austell, and it is easy to get there by car or by public transport. Check out my comprehensive guide for visiting Charlestown in Cornwall to find out more.
I couldn’t not include this Poldark filming location considering it’s one of the most beloved by fans of the show’s leading man, Ross Poldark.
I mean, the scene of a topless Ross Poldark emerging from the water really did stir the great British public in a way not seen since 50 Shades of Grey had everyone visiting their local Anne Summers.
Aside from serving as the backdrop for that particular scene, Holywell Bay was also featured heavily in the second series as the beach owned by the dastardly Warleggan family. Most of the beautiful sweeping shots of waves crashing onto the shore were probably filmed around here.
It’s a public access beach so all are welcome. It gets quite busy in the summer months, but there’s room to go around!
Beautiful Church Cove is one of my favourite spots in Cornwall, and also a Poldark filming location! Most famously, this was the backdrop for the “shipwreck scene” in the first season.
This scene was filmed mostly on the sand of the cove, however while visiting, I’d also recommend dropping by the St Winwalloe Church nearby.
Parts of it date back to the 14th century (long before the fictional Poldark characters were born), and it’s really beautiful.
You’ll also be pleased to hear that Church Cove is safe for swimming — unlike nearby Gunwalloe, another famous Poldark filming location.
Chapel Porth & St Agnes
Some of my favourite scenes in Poldark feature Ross atop his noble steed, cantering over the dramatic Cornish countryside. If you’re looking to recreate this (maybe sans the noble steed), then you’ll want to head for Chapel Porth and St Agnes.
These two locations are not far from the fishing village of Polperro, which was once home to the author of the Poldark book series. So, it’s definitely synonymous with the show and characters.
This area is extremely picturesque and incredibly Cornish. It’s all helped along by the fact that the landscape is dotted with old mine chimneys, definitely giving it those Poldark-y vibes. The dramatic cliff-faces also help.
I definitely recommend a visit here, and possibly laying in wait in the hopes that your own Poldark will gallop over those hills!
Not far away from Church Cove is another picturesque spot that was a Poldark setting – Dollar Cove!
I just love the story behind this cove’s unusual moniker — it got its name when a seventeenth century ship was wrecked carrying thousands and thousands of Portuguese coins. Locals say to this day old coins still wash up on the beach; I’ve never seen them myself, but I believe!
In Poldark, Dollar Cove is used as one of the main locations for surreptitious smuggling! Some of the most anxiety-inducing scenes (or is that just me?) were filmed near here.
This lovely spot is public access and easy to visit along with nearby Church Cove.
Predannack Wollas, the Lizard
Another spot that has really felt the “Poldark Effect” is Predannack Wollas. Predannack Wollas is a small headland area between Kynance and Mullion Coves.
Cornwall boasts so much beautiful coastline that this one was rather underappreciated. That is, however, until it became the backdrop for many of the dramatic horseback scenes.
If you loved watching the scenes were Poldark is dashing over dramatic coastal scenery on horseback, then you may love stopping by this tiny little cove. Like many of the Poldark filming locations, it popularity has grown immensely. However, it’s still relatively quiet compared to its siblings Kynance and Porthcurno.
The region is under the care of the National Trust, meaning it’s easy to visit and look around. Members can even get free car parking! As well as watching out for Poldark backdrops, also be sure to keep an eye out for the wildlife that lives in this area.
One of Cornwall’s most picturesque beaches is also a personal favourite and a famous Poldark filming location. I’m talking about the beautiful Porthcurno Beach.
You may recognise the name if you’ve read my blog; this is the location of the fabulous Porthcurno Telegraph Museum.
The beach itself is super pretty with an incredible dramatic rugged coast. It’s no wonder that this was chosen as the backdrop for Nampara Cove, on the Poldark property and sight of some smuggling action!
Porthcurno Beach is free to access and a beautiful spot on a sunny day, although it does get busy. As well as the museum, the Minack Theatre is also just a stone’s throw away. It’s easy to make an afternoon or day out of visiting Porthcurno.
One of the most instantly recognisable and iconic filming locations from Poldark is the Botallack Mine. Part of the Tin Coast, this beautiful mine plays the part of Poldark’s Wheal Leisure in the series.
Not only is it one of my favourite filming locations, but it’s also an incredibly beautiful sight on its own. Clinging to the cliffside and overlooking the sea, it has a kind of wild and precarious beauty that sums up Cornwall to me.
Botallack Mine is owned by the National Trust, so it’s very easy to visit and strut around just like Ross Poldark!
I’m trying to keep this article free from spoilers, but I’m sure anyone who has seen Poldark will recognise the Bodmin Jail as a key filming location.
In fact, it was the setting for one of the first season’s most harrowing plot lines, and many other characters were threatened with the prospect of rotting in the historic prison.
Today, Bodmin Jail is quite the tourist attraction in its own right, and one of the most quirky places to visit in Cornwall. I even hear rumours that they are looking to build a hotel there in the near future; then you can really pretend you’re a character in Poldark!
You can easily check out the outside without having to pay, or tour the inside to find out more about the real-life prisoners.
The slightly-sinister looking Bodmin Moors have inspired many brooding tales, including, of course, Poldark.
Really, I can think of no better place for Ross Poldark to call home than the brooding and dramatic moors around Bodmin.
They mix natural beauty with human intervention, with the remnants of Cornwall’s mining heritage on display. There’s also a darker underbelly to the moors; numerous executions were performed here, and there’s even said to be a vicious ‘Beast of Bodmin’.
The moors feature in many scenes of Poldark, but most famously it is the setting for Ross and Demelza’s home, Nampara. This is one of the many stone cottages on the moors, although as a private home you cannot go inside.
You’ll find it near the village of St Breward.
Many of the other stone cottages – such as those gifted by Poldark to his friends. These are mainly located in another cute moorish village, called Minions.
Levant Mine and Beam Engine
Another of the iconic spots from Poldark is the Levant Mine and Beam Engine, not too far away from Botallack.
If it looks a little different than you’re expecting, don’t worry, you’re not going crazy. A little bit of CGI was required to touch up the mine to its former glory!
As well as the exterior of the mine serving as the backdrop for where Wheal Leisure’s copper is processed, the Beam Engine also gets a mention as well. It’s the only Cornish beam engine anywhere in the world, and appears in Poldark.
If you know anything about Poldark filming locations, you’ve probably already heard of Kynance Cove. This beautiful cove became so popular as a result of the show, the Cornwall tourism board had to ask fans to stay away!
For the good of the environment, I’m here to reiterate that message for those visiting in peak season. However, I’ve visited myself during the cooler months and found it all but deserted!
What makes Kynance Cove so famous is the beautiful rock formations in the water, and the dazzlingly turquoise water that it’s famous for. This beautiful blue-green water has earned in the nickname of ‘the Caribbean of Cornwall’.
The Caribbean of Cornwall has certainly featured in Poldark – most famously in season two, but also when Demelza was rowing her boat out in season one.
It’s no surprise that this is an inclusion on our list of filming locations from Poldark, given its name! In truth, it’s a relatively new addition, having first been known as Wendron Forge when it opened as a museum in 1972.
Long before that, it was known as Wheal Root and lay undiscovered for more than a century. This meant that when it was finally unearthed, it was kept exactly as it was back in the 18th century.
As a result, the Poldark Mine was perfect for featuring in tv shows, and featured heavily in the original 1977 version of Poldark. It was around this time that the mine’s name was changed, and it became synonymous with the books and tv series.
Today, it is still almost totally unchanged and a fascinating way to find out more about what life would have been like as a Cornish miner. Its opening hours are a tad sporadic, especially in the off-season, but it’s well worth a visit.
If you’re very claustrophobic, you might not enjoy this Poldark filming location as much. It can get veeeery squeezy, although my husband (who is NOT a fan of small spaces) did handle it okay.
Other famous Poldark filming locations
You might notice that a few of the most famous backdrops in Poldark are missing from this list! Unfortunately, not everything is filmed in Cornwall — a few things are located over the county line. Luckily, they’re still in the south west!
Chavenage House, Gloucestershire
Perhaps the most recognisable Poldark setting of all is Trewith, the family home of Francis and Elizabeth Poldark. If you’d like to see it, you can. However, you’ll have to travel to the county of Gloucestershire to do so.
In real life, Trewith is known as Chavenage House. It’s a beautifully preserved Elizabethan home that dates from the 16th century. Although it is privately owned and the Lowsley-Williams family still live there, it is open for a good chunk of the year.
Between May and September, the home is open between 2pm and 5pm on Thursdays and Sundays. It also opens on bank holidays (including bank holiday Mondays) and Easter Sunday.
For a cost of £10 per adult (or £5 for adults) you are welcome to visit and look around. Tour operators also run tours at other times throughout the year. So, if your visit doesn’t coincide with the above days – don’t panic!
Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire
Perhaps an even more impressive property that features in Poldark is the home of the dastardly Warleggans, the “new money” loan sharks.
According to some National Trust volunteers I spoke to, the Warleggans were actually modelled after the Robartes family who lived in Lanhydrock. So if you want some authenticity you can always pay a visit!
If you want to see the actual house from the television series, however, you’d best head to Dyrham Park. Also in Gloucestershire, this impressive property belongs to the National Trust — so members can visit totally free!
Apparently parts of the scenes, including the interior and grounds, are actually filmed elsewhere. Nonetheless, you’ll definitely recognise this mansion from the sweeping shots of their ostentatious home!
Poldark filming locations tour
Although Cornwall is a pretty large county, you can easily fit in a number of the Poldark filming locations into a day.
They are a bit spread out (see the below map), however many are clustered around the south of Cornwall, and particularly around Helston and the Lizard Peninsula.
Half-day in the south of Cornwall
You could easily fit visiting the following locations in a morning or afternoon. They are all Poldark filming locations in the south of the county.
- Kynance Cove
- Predannack Wollas
- Church Cove
- Dollar Cove
- *Optional – Poldark Mine (about 20 minutes from Dollar Cove)
- Porthcurno Beach (about 50 minutes from Poldark Mine/an hour from Dollar Cove)
- Botallack (about 20 minutes from Porthcurno Beach)
- Levant Mine & Beam Engine
Half-day in the north of Cornwall
If you’re in the north of Cornwall, then you could spend a half-day checking out the sites. There are less and they are more spread out, but this does include beautiful Charlestown. The drive through the moors (between Saint Breward and Minions) is also beautiful.
The Poldark filming locations in the north of Cornwall are:
- Chapel Porth & St Agnes
- Holywell Bay
- Bodmin Jail
- Saint Breward
A full day visiting Poldark filming locations in Cornwall
If you’ve got a little more time, then you can probably see all of these sites in one day, provided you’re looking to do a bit of a flying visit of each.
If you want more time to look around, then I’d suggest cutting some sites out and doing the following itinerary:
- Porthcurno Beach
- Botallack Mine (20 min drive)
- Charlestown (1 hour drive)
- Bodmin Jail (20 minute drive)
- Saint Breward (20 minute drive)
- Minions (40 minutes, via Bolventor so you take in the moors)
As you can see, it’s quite a lot of driving – however, the views are beautiful along the way.
Map of Poldark filming locations in Cornwall
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