8 romantic movies filmed in the Cotswolds

Stanway House

Stanway House - Credit: Archant

If you’re looking for love, you don’t have too far to look. With so many romantic movies filmed in the Cotswolds, it’s almost difficult to avoid

1. Blenheim Palace

Saraband for Dead Lovers

Stewart Granger, Joan Greenwood, Anthony Quayle


A tragic darker love story set in 17th-century Hanover and based on a novel by Helen Simpson. Sophie Dorothea (Joan Greenwood), marries her prince, the future King George I, only to find that there is no fairy tale with a happy ever after ending. The prince soon tires of Sophie and she is forced to find affection elsewhere. She becomes the lover of the Swedish Count, Phillip Christoph von Königsmarck (Stewart Granger). The affair is inevitably doomed, and despite a failed plot to run away to England, the romance ends in death, social disgrace and banishment.


2. Blenheim Palace, Stanway House

The Libertine

Johnny Depp, Samantha Morton


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Based of true historical events, The Libertine chronicles the fall from grace and partial redemption of John Wilmot, The second Earl of Rochester (Johnny Depp). At the start of the film Rochester seems to have it all: wealth, a beautiful and intelligent wife (Rosamund Pike), and is the favorite of King Charles II. However, Johnny has a one-way ticket to oblivion. Rochester falls for the somewhat plain and rather prickly actress/prostitute Elizabeth Barry (Samantha Morton), whom he tutors to become leading light of the Restoration theatre. As Ms Barry rises to greatness, the decadent earl descends into an ever-tightening spiral of debt, disease, debauchery, alcoholism, social disgrace and eventual undignified slow death.


3. Tetbury, Nailsworth, Stroud, Minchinhampton


Carol White, John Mills


Hardly the fairy tale romance of love’s young dream, Dulcima is an earthy, grim and at times pitiful love story, but a love story nonetheless. John Mills is the lonely, alcoholic and miserly Farmer Parker, so deprived of human company he’s begun to find his pigs attractive. When carefree Dulcima Gaskain takes pity on him, and begins work as a housekeeper on his rundown Gloucestershire farm, he soon falls in love with her, and starts to imagine that they have a future together. However, as is the way of the world, her eyes are for the handsome and youthful gamekeeper (Stuart Wilson), and soon enters into a secret relationship with him.

Things are complicated when Dulcima discovers that Parker is a very wealthy man. The discovery of wealth ignites a callous flame inside her and sets in motion a series of actions and events that can only end in catastrophe.


4. Stanway House

The Clandestine Marriage

Joan Collins, Nigel Hawthorne, Timothy Spall


A classic scenario: the upstart, nouveau riche family, the Stirlings, make arrangements for their eldest daughter Betsy (Emma Chambers) to marry into the aristocratic but near bankrupt Ogleby family, via Sir John Ogleby (Tom Hollander). Things of course do not go to plan, for Cupid’s arrows are not only poison-tipped, but misaimed. Soon Sir John realises that it is in fact Fanny (Natasha Little), Betsy’s younger sister, he desires. To complicate things further, Fanny is not as innocent as she initially appears, and is secretly already married, pregnant and also has another much older suitor. Blimey.


5. Snowshill

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Renee Zellweger


Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is a single woman looking for a future husband. Her efforts in finding Mr Right are hampered by the fact that she eats too much, drinks too much, smokes too much and seems to be a magnet for embarrassment and misfortune. Her life is a constant struggle complicated further by the two men in her life, the womanising cad, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) – her boss who initially uses her – and all-round nice guy, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), who makes her feel unworthy.


6. Chipping Campden, Broadway Tower


Andie Macdowell, Imelda Staunton, Anna Chancellor


Three 40-something women have a weekly get together for smoking, drinking and swapping stories. All three are cynical, bitter and generally disappointed with life. When one of them – Kate (Andie McDowell), a headmistress at the local school – finds herself a passionate and romantic, if somewhat dreamy, younger lover, the other two are poisoned with jealousy, and plot to destroy their friend’s new-found happiness.


7. Cornwell Manor, Oxfordshire

The Holiday

Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law


Two women, one in America, one in England, have both had a run of bad luck from a romantic point of view. Iris (Kate Winslet) is a journalist who writes a wedding column in a newspaper, who has for some time had an unrequited crush on her colleague Casper (Rufus Sewell). Upon learning of his impending marriage, her life is torn apart. Amanda (Cameron Diaz) makes movie trailers and is in a similar position having recently broken up with her unfaithful partner Ethan (Edward Burns). After both visiting a holiday home-swap website, the women decide to swap America for England for a holiday. They both find deep and meaningful love… just like in real life.


8. Badminton House

Remains of the Day

Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson


It has often been said that the saddest words ever said, sung or committed to poetry or prose are: “It might have been”. Remains of the Day, which is based on the novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro, has all of the gut-wrenching heartache you could wish for.

Servile butler Mr Stephens (Anthony Hopkins), falls in love with the housekeeper Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson), and she with him. However, due to his loyalty to his master Lord Darlington (James Fox), the romance never happens. Eventually Miss Kenton finds love elsewhere and resigns. Years later Lord Darlington is disgraced as a Nazi sympathiser, and the family home Darlington Hall is sold to a retired American Congressman, Mr Lewis (Christopher Reeve). It is at this point that Stephens receives a letter from the recently divorced Miss Kenton.

The underlying message of the film is that no-one should deny their true feelings, and should follow their heart.


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