Where was Broadchurch filmed?
Beach/Oceanview, Cape Cod, NatureScapes
Beach House, Lake House, Cabin
Broadchurch takes viewers on an emotional journey as a small coastal town goes into a frenzy following a young boy’s murder. ITV aired three seasons of the series from 2013 to 2017.
Presented as a trilogy, the first series explores the murder of Daniel “Danny” Latimer whose senseless death sparks grief and suspicion around town. The media also descends upon the close-knit community, and in general, the series explores how the frenzy impacts the small town and its residents.
Danny’s mother Beth, portrayed by Jodie Whittaker, his father Mark, personified by Andrew Buchan, and sister Chloe (Charlotte Beaumont) are at the center of it all.
The second series presents a dual storyline, as the process of finding Danny’s killer continues. A cold case also surfaces and returns to haunt Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, who is portrayed by David Tennant.
The final series investigates a physical assault on a local woman named Trish who is personified by Julie Hesmondhalgh. Still, the Latimer family continues with the quest to get justice for Danny and also finally move on from his death.
While Broadchurch was conceived in 2003, it wasn’t until 2011 that Chris Chibnall, the show’s creator, started fleshing out the story. Certain roles were specifically written for big names in the industry, including Arthur Darvill who portrayed Reverend Paul Coates, and Olivia Colman who portrayed Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller. It was the same case for David Tennant’s character.
The series, as a whole, received rave reviews, particularly for the writing, character development, and cinematography. The documentary visual style and realism approach to filming the show are some of the elements that kept the viewership ratings high.
Set in the fictional English town of Broadchurch, the crime drama was actually filmed in Dorset. The show shot a bulk of its scenes on location while soundstages were used to film some of the interior scenes.
For the on-location scenes, the chosen filming locations were within and around the seaside town of Clevedon, located in North Somerset, and the West Bay, which is a small harbor resort and settlement in Dorset.
Broadchurch was also filmed in order rather than out-of-order or non-sequentially like most other scripted shows. Shooting out-of-order refers to the breakdown of a show’s scenes in its entirety and filming every scene using a specific location at the same time. This approach minimizes the costly affair of moving cast and filming equipment back and forth.
The sequential order of filming was also one of the tactics used by the showrunners to keep the killer’s identity a secret until the final moments of filming. The first series was predominantly shot on location, given that the Dorset coast was an integral part of the storyline.
The production team set up shop at a car park located next to the Bridport-based West Bay Hotel. Those are just some of the tidbits about the Broadchurch filming locations, and a deeper dive is in order. A fair warning, there are a couple of spoilers but the primary focus is on where the show’s iconic scenes were shot.
Danny’s body is found at the beach scene in Broadchurch
Harbour Cliff Beach
The discovery of Danny’s body is the scene that set the premise of the show and introduced the three-series-long mystery. Hardy and Miller become acquainted for the first time, at the local beach, and to be precise, the base of cliffs over Danny’s lifeless body.
Captured in the premiere episode of the first series, Hardy’s reassuring words reflect the underlying air of determination that motivated the investigation. “There will be no hiding place for Danny’s killer. We will catch whoever did this.”
The Harbour Cliff Beach served as the setting for the heart-wrenching Broadchurch film scene. On the upside, as filming progressed, it equally made The Seagull quite a popular spot.
The nearby café hosted the Broadchurch filming crew alongside the crowds of onlookers who kept turning up to watch the magic happen. Christina, the owner, explained that they consistently run at capacity. She added that Pauline Quirke, who played the part of Susan Wright, often walked her dogs around the area.
Quirke’s dog was also a star in the show and having fallen in love with the West Bay during production, she ended up setting roots in the area.
Bus 887, 2, 55A, and 55C will get you to Harbour Cliff Beach. East of the Beach, you’ll find the Freshwater Beach Holiday Park which was the Broadchurch film set used to film Susan’s Wright caravan scenes.
Miller invites Hardy for a family dinner scene in Broadchurch
Quay West, West Bay
Miller and Hardy didn’t have a peachy start, given that he took the job that she was gunning for. In the third episode of the first series, she extends Hardy an invitation to have dinner at her place.
Hardy, who isn’t someone fond of family-style dinners, is taken aback and can’t understand why Miller would invite him over to her place to have dinner with her family. She simply explains that “it’s just what people do.”
The exterior scenes of the Wessex Police Station were filmed on the lower floor of the block of apartments at Quay West known as the Folly. As for the Broadchurch Police Car Park, the scenes were shot at the Quay West underground parking lot.
Shaped like a teardrop, the Folly is a public open space contained within the mixed-use development. You’ll find a restaurant/café within the seaside apartment complex as well as shops occupying three separate buildings.
When visiting this Broadchurch location, keep in mind that it’s also in proximity to the beach and harbor. Bus 23, 12, 120, and GOL will get you to Quay West.
Jack Marshall prays scene in Broadchurch
Harbour Newsagent in Bridport
Jack Marshall, played by David Bradley, owns a snack shop and the Broadchurch newsagent near the beach where Danny’s body was discovered. Danny worked for Marshall delivering newspapers around town.
As series one unfolds his checkered past surfaces, particularly to do with the time he spent behind bars for having indecent relations with a minor. In the fifth episode of the first series, the Latimers and other Broadchurch residents embark on a procession to recreate Danny’s final hours.
Observing the procession from his store, Marshall prays. It brings to mind Hardy’s sentiments “God will put you in the right place even if you don’t know it at the time.”
In the first series, Marshall’s newsagent runs to the ground after he became a suspect in Danny’s murder. Far from it, business is booming for West Bay's Harbour Newsagent which was the setting for those scenes.
Tim Atrill, whose old man owns the shop, explained that since the show aired they’ve had visitors dropping by from as far as Denmark, Holland, and New Zealand. The Coastguard Cottages on East beach provided the location for the newsagent owner’s home.
Just nearby, you’ll find other Broadchurch production locations including the Old Methodist Church that was dressed up to stand in for the Sea Brigade Hall in Broadchurch. To get to the Harbour Newsagent, hop onto the X53 or X51 bus.
Lee Ashworth steals Hardy’s medical records scene in Broadchurch
“Britbank,” River Brit Banks
Hardy’s little blue chalet is where he’d escape to when reflecting on the gruesome murders that happened around the town of Broadchurch. Charlotte Rampling played the part of Queen’s Counsel Jocelyn Knight whose words echo those moments when Hardy was haunted by the investigations. “There are wins that help you sleep at night, others that keep you awake.”
In the first episode of the second series, Lee Ashworth (James D'Arcy) steals phone records and Hardy’s medical records from his riverside house. With a boat mooring and stunning views of the river and harbor, Hardy’s residence was easily a fan favorite.
A riverside cottage, dubbed Britbank, located on the banks of River Brit served as the setting for the Broadchurch film set. The tiny wooden hut is part of the reason why the Jurassic Coast, as well as southwest England, became more popular as the show aired. Located on England’s south coast, the Jurassic Coast is defined by a 96-mile stretch from the town of Dorset to Devon.
The Jurassic Coast features cliffs that face the English Channel, and it’s quite common to stumble upon fossils from diverse eras in the region owing to the erosion activity.
Miller and Hardy talk about their future scene in Broadchurch
East Pier, West Bay
The finale episode of the first series featured a scene depicting Hardy and Miller sitting on an Oceanside bench as they talked about their future. That’s the scene that also spawned the famous line “former detective club.”
Having closed the case that brought him back to Broadchurch, the episode ends with a cliffhanger as Hardy is shown packing up and preparing to leave the small town behind.
The East Pier provided the backdrop for the Hardy and Miller scene. Refurbished as part of the award-winning West Bay sea defense project, it’s undoubtedly worth a stopover once you’ve concluded your visit to the Folly.
While at it, you might as well backtrack and grab a bite at the Ellipse Caffé Bistro. The quaint location was featured in the first series as the Broadchurch café.
Danny’s last moments' scene in Broadchurch
Eype, West Dorset
The scene depicting how Danny’s last moments unfolded is amongst the saddest. The sixth episode of the third series replays Danny’s final hours when he was in the company of Joe Miller, Ellie Miller’s ex-husband. It’s eventually revealed that Joe is long-sought-after Broadchurch killer.
Learning that they had an inappropriate relationship going on, Danny tells Miller that he’ll no longer meet him. However, Miller coaxes him into a meeting at their usual rendezvous, which is a coastal hut. In a fit of rage, Miller strangles Danny, loads his body in a boat, and disposes of him at the beach.
Even after discovering who was behind the murder, Knight’s statement from the first episode of series two comes to mind, “knowing the truth and getting justice isn’t the same thing.”
To the west of Dorset is where you’ll find the blue coastal hut/ Briar Cliff. To be specific, the Eastern base of Thorncombe Beacon in Eype, which is also known as Eype’s Mouth, provided the location for that specific scene.
The cast snapped their final photo, after wrapping up filming, in the same area. Head down to the village town via the X53, X51, or 6 bus to snap a photo at the scene.
The Bull, a hotel in Bridport, deserves an honorable mention because it’s where some of the Broadchurch cast members stayed while filming the second series. That includes Tennant, Olivia Colman, and Will Mellow (Steve Connelly) who reportedly occupied room 203.
Mattew Gravelle who gave life to Joe Miller had to put up elsewhere so that fans wouldn’t get wind of the fact that he was returning for the second series. The hotel’s ballroom also hosted wrap parties and provided late-night deli boards as well as early breakfasts for the cast members.
If you are sold and want to visit the Broadchurch filming location, make sure to schedule a trip in August. That’s when the Bridport Carnival takes place, complete with a torchlit evening procession led by the mayor.
The cast, including Colman and James D'Arcy, joined the procession on one such occasion when the carnival coincided with the show’s filming schedule.