Where was Poldark filmed?
Cornwall County, England
Beach/Oceanview, House, Rustic, Ship Docks, Jails
Gothic/Victoria, Rustic, Sail
Poldark is a TV series revolving around Ross Poldark, a British Army officer who returns to Cornwall after the American Revolutionary War only to find his father dead and the love of his life engaged to his cousin. It’s one of the most-loved dramas of two different generations, depicting a timeless story of love and loss, betrayal, and new romance set in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Since the fifth and final season has already finished, we’ll refresh your memory of some of the best scenes in Poldark (spoiler alert!).
It was supposed to be a joyful homecoming for Ross Poldark after returning home from the battlefield. Unfortunately, the happy reunion didn’t last long after learning about his father’s death and his childhood sweetheart about to marry someone else.
And to add insult to injury, the property his father left him is in ruins, and there’s almost nothing left for him to inherit. Conditions in Cornwall aren’t well with high taxes and unemployment and mine closures everywhere. There are also plenty of enemies who would be happy to see him in complete shambles.
But there’s no time for him to grieve as his estate is in chaos and the people are suffering. He then helps the people of Nampara and faces the challenge of rebuilding his home and the mine, making the land productive. Then he meets Demelza Carne (Eleanor Tomlinson), whom he rescues at the local market. He takes Demelza home to work for him and she later becomes the Mistress of Nampara.
The new series consists of five seasons of grand romances, epic adventures, love, heartbreaks, and more. It is based on Winston Graham’s historical novels written over 57 years, from 1945 to 2002. It was first adapted into a series between 1975 and 1977. Then after 40 years since the first adaptation, BBC relaunched the new saga in 2015, introducing the story and characters to a new generation.
Watching the Poldark series is like traveling to the 18th century with spectacular rocky beaches, sprawling green spaces, and old brick structures featured in the show. One of the main Poldark locations is Bodmin Moor, which encapsulates the true wilderness of Cornwall. Its outstanding beauty is unremarkable, characterized by vast grassland and heather. It retains a sense of wilderness and remoteness with natural rock formations, standing stones, and high granite tors featured in a number of scenes in the series.
On the southern side of the moor, you’ll find the village of Minions. Its surrounding area has a wealth of unique archaeological interests that date back from the Bronze Age. It’s the location of some miner’s cottages, including the one Ross gave to Jim and Jinny Carter.
Many of the locations used in the original series in the 1970s were also featured in the new version. Porthcurno is one of the dramatic locations in the show, and you’ll see it in the final scene of the first series. Several mines and farms around Cornwall and beyond were used in shooting an important Poldark film scene.
Besides going on location, the series was also filmed in Bristol at The Bottle Yard Studios. The Podlark production built key interior sets, including Poldark’s Cornish home and the Red Lion pub. They have created about eighteen sets across three studios by the end of the series.
Robin Ellis played Ross Poldark in the original 1975 TV series. He also appeared in the new adaptation as magistrate Reverend Halse. He had an important role in the dramatic finale, helping Ross place the bad guy in jail.
Jim Carter’s incarceration scene in Poldark
Bodmin Jail, Berrycoombe Road, Bodmin
In season 1, episode 3, Jim (Alexander Arnold) decides to head out for a poaching expedition, despite his wife’s strong disapproval. But Jim was determined, although he and his wife, Jinny (Gracee O' Brien), have been receiving a lot of help from Ross. “Since Father be gone, who else is going to put bread in their mouths but I?” he says to his wife, referring to his mother and sisters, who are also not in a good financial situation.
Unfortunately for Jim, he gets caught redhanded and is sentenced to two years imprisonment, which is likely a death sentence. Later, Jim appears in deep sorrow inside the prison cell while you can hear another prisoner wailing in the background.
The jail used to shoot this scene was the historical Bodmin Jail. Nestled on the edge of Bodmin Moor, Bodmin Jail was built in 1779 during the reign of King George III as part of the Prison Reform. Construction works began in the early 1770s using twenty thousand tons of Delank granite and stone from the neighboring Coocoo Quarry.
The jail is one of the spookiest locations in Cornwall, offering paranormal tours and after-dark experiences. It offers several guided tours, including a Heritage Guided tour where visitors can enjoy a personal, in-depth historical journey through the jail. Experienced guides will take visitors from the 18th century ‘Bloody Code’ to the last Cornwall execution in 1909. You will also experience what life was like for the prisoners behind the visitors, gain an insight into the mechanics of working in the jail, and explore the notorious Victorian execution pit.
The jail is open to the public for visits, and you can pick from self-guided and guided tours or paranormal tours. You can also hire a private space to host your paranormal event. The only mainline through Cornwall is Bodmin Parkway, which is about four miles outside of town. You’ll need to arrange a taxi or catch a bus to get from the station to Bormin town. The jail is only a ten-minute walk away from the town.
Ross hears about his father’s death scene in Poldark
Bodmin Moor, Cornwall
Since Bodmin Moor is one of the primary Poldark locations, you’ll see it numerous times throughout the series. The stone farmhouse used as the exterior of the house of the Poldark family is located in Bodmin Moor’s St. Breward area. The miners’ cottages and Dwight’s cottage are also found in Bodmin.
At the beginning of the first episode of season 1, Ross first hears about his father’s death while in a carriage on the way home. In this scene, you’ll see shots of a vast, remote space, perfectly capturing Bodmin’s large area of uncultivated land. It’s an ideal setting for some of the horseriding and carriage scenes in the show.
There’s a limited scheduled bus service to the location. So the best way to get there is through a private vehicle. It is a large, remote area with little infrastructure, so having your own transport allows you to access more attractions and cover more areas.
Ross sails to France scene in Poldark
Turnaware Point (River Fal), Roseland Peninsula
In the third season, episode 5, Captain Ross is on a daring mission to free his friend, Dr. Dwight Enys (Luke Norris), who is imprisoned in France. Instead of going ashore from the ship, they take a small boat and sail to Roscoff, which one of the men described as “not for the fainthearted.”
The river the men travel through is the River Fal, a magnificent Cornish river and part of a network of waterways known as the Carrick Roads. Then the riverside location used in the scene as a landing place when Ross rescued his friend isn’t in France but the wooded headland of Turnaware Point. This area is remarkably different from the beaches, cliffs, and coves around Cornwall, making it an ideal location to represent another country.
The Roseland Peninsula offers incredible sites featuring forests and green fields that are completely unspoiled. Getting here is easy, whether in your private vehicle, bus, or the Fal River ferry network. You can also plan a combination of boat trips, walks, and public transport.
Ross rescues Demelza in the ocean scene in Poldark
Kynance Cove, Cornwall
Perhaps, one of the most hilarious yet endearing scenes in Poldark between Demelza and Ross happened in the ocean. At the end of season 2, episode four, Ross is upset and enraged after knowing his wife, who is pregnant, heads out to go fishing alone.
As soon as he arrives at the coast, he sees his struggling wife in labor. So he jumps to the ocean, shouting, “Give me the oars, Demelza,” to which she responds, “I can manage!” The situation may be scary for Ross, but the bickering between the couple while struggling due to the roaring waves is quite funny.
This scene was shot in Kynance Cove, situated near the southern end of Cornwall at the Lizard Point. It’s probably one of the county’s most painted and photographed locations, so it’s not surprising that the Poldark production is drawn to this setting. It features a dramatic contrast between the white sandy beach and the rugged serpentine rocks, providing a spectacular backdrop for the show. The equally magnificent Porthcurno cove was also used as the fictional Nampara Cove in Poldark.
If you plan to visit this Poldark filming location, note that it’s not accessible by any public transportation. You’ll have to organize your visit by the tide because it nearly completely disappears during high tide.
Verity Poldark and Captain Andrew Blamey’s elopement scene in Poldark
Port of Charlestown
Verity leaves the household in season 1, episode 7, clearly upsetting Francis (Kyle Soller). Meanwhile, Verity (Ruby Bentall) is at the port with Captain Blamey (Richard Harrington), who promises that they will be married the day after. At the house, Francis is furious, blaming Ross and believing “he has encouraged Verity…and acting as an agent to Blamey.”
The beautiful port used to film the elopement of Captain Andrew Blamey and Verity Poldark is actually the Grade II listed port of Charlestown. It was also featured in several scenes in the show due to its old-world vibe. With its unspoiled backdrop, long granite quays, cozy fisherman’s cottages, and gorgeous Georgian buildings, it’s easy to see why it continues to attract films and tv shows.
Today, it’s a popular tourist spot and favorite filming location. Located about one mile outside of St. Austell town, Charlestown is accessible via public transportation. Buses 24, 25, and 26 have routes that pass near the harbor.
The skinny-dipping scene in Poldark
Even if you’re not a fan of the show, you’ve probably heard about (and seen) the part when Ross went skinny-dipping in the first season, halfway through episode 2. In fact, it had been regarded as Poldark’s steamiest moment! The scene shows Demelza picking out flowers with her dog, Garrick when she notices Ross approach. She then watches him go skinny dipping in the crystal-clear waters from the clifftop.
If you want to know what it feels like to swim there, you would have to go to Porthgrawarra beach. It was also used a few times in season 1, including the Pilchard catching scenes and the part when Ross saves a friend from the authorities.
Porthgwarra is a scenic fishing cove on the rough coastline of West Cornwall. It wasn’t a very popular beach in Cornwall until it appeared in the show. Still, it’s definitely one of the country’s most stunning beaches worth visiting. It’s a hidden gem with a white sandy beach, caves waiting to be discovered, and rock pools. It’s an ideal place to enjoy a quick dip or relax in a quiet location with its peaceful and serene atmosphere.
There’s no bus stop in Portgrawarra, but you may take a bus to Porthcurno Beach Car Park. Then, you’ll have to walk along the South West Coast Path toward Porthgwarra, which will take about thirty minutes. The journey is long, but you’ll likely enjoy the views on the way. If you’re driving, the roads to get to the beach are pretty winding and narrow. But once you arrive, the challenging journey will be worth it.
The Poldark series is undoubtedly a masterpiece, so it’s not surprising that viewers love both the 1970 and 2015 adaptations. The cast that gives life to the characters is phenomenal, the romantic intrigues and tensions are unmissable, and the gorgeous seaside setting can never be overstated.
Besides the beautiful storyline told through the romantic heroes and feisty heroines, the crashing waves, misty moors, and the lush Cornish setting contribute to the success and splendor of the entire show. Even though you’ve probably seen them in every episode, you will have to visit a Poldark location to truly appreciate the rugged countryside. Trust us; they look so much better in real life than on the screen.
So go behind the scenes and walk in the footsteps of Ross or Demelza. Check out the mines, the well-preserved houses, the villages, and the sandy beaches used as the backdrop of the hit historical drama.