Go behind the scenes and discover the glistening blue waters, lush countryside and craggy cliffs that have sashayed from the background to become the lead Poldark star across the first three series. We think they’re even better in real-life than they are on screen!
Charlestown near St Austell, famed for its collection of tall ships and traditional appearance, has long caught the attention of location managers. As well as standing in for Poldark’s Truro, it also plays the role of Falmouth where Captain Andrew Blamey lives and sails from. His apparent Falmouth abode overlooks Charlestown’s inner harbour and it is from here that Verity Poldark elopes with him to the disapproval of her family. Charlestown beach and slipway also doubles up as St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly in the scenes that see Ross meet up with the exiled Mark Daniels in series two.
A centrepiece of Cornwall’s mining history and part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, the mines at Botallack in west Cornwall feature as Wheal Leisure (West Wheal Owles), Grambler (Wheal Crowns) and Wheal Grace. They also provide the backdrop to some coastal clifftop encounters.
North east of Botallack is the National Trust owned mine of Levant. Well preserved and restored it houses the only existing working steam beam engine and its buildings serve as Tressiders Rolling Mill. Early in series two the debate between Ross and Francis regarding claims for the engines’ capabilities by its inventor, the engineer Richard Trevithick, plays out in the engine room – although in reality both actors were “green screened” in through the window and were actually standing on a platform elsewhere!
This huge beach of golden sand backed by grass tufted dunes is a perfect example of the north coast’s wide open bays. With its iconic twin peaked Gull Rock just off shore, it has been used for many encounters between Ross, Demelza and sworn enemy George Warleggan as well as for the challenging horse races between Dwight and Caroline.
Scenes featuring the exterior of Ross Poldark’s cottage, Nampara, are shot on the wild and rugged Bodmin Moor along with many capturing the cast on horseback. It’s also the site of the miners’ cottages, such as the one that Ross gives to Jim Carter and his wife Jenny, and is home to Dr Dwight’s original cottage. In the very first episode Rosss meets Demelza at the meeting of paths just north of the village on Minions.
St Agnes Head, where iconic engine houses perch serenely on the cliff-tops offering a silent reminder of Cornwall’s mining heyday, offers a natural location choice for Poldark. As well as doubling as Nampara Valley, it featured as the narrative and literal cliff hanger to both series one and two and has seen its fair share of horse-riding scenes.
Once a thriving fishing cove, the beautiful Porthgwarra sits at the heart of St Aubyn Estates and boasts a peaceful existence surrounded by wildflowers and birdlife. The memorable scene in series one featuring Ross taking a swim in the crystal clear water while watched from the cliff tops by Demelza was filmed here, as well the pilchard fishing scene. Porthgwarra is also home to the tunnel where Ross kept his boat which was used by Mark Daniels to escape capture for the accidental killing of his wife, Keren.
Between Land’s End and Porthgwarra, sits Gwennap Head, a dramatic headland popular with rock climbers. With lighthouses in the distance and crystal clear waters below, Gwennap Head offers truly breathtaking views and is a favourite spot for clifftop riding, chance encounters and long lingering looks.
One of Cornwall’s most stunning beaches, it’s easy to see why Poldark location managers picked the exotic oasis of Porthcurno for Nampara Cove. With gorgeous fine soft white sand washed by a sea that turns turquoise in the sun and high cliffs on both sides providing shelter, it is a true natural beauty. In series two (episode two), Demelza and Ross find themselves walking along Porthcurno in a dream sequence on a spectacular sunny day.
With its pure white sand, turquoise waters and serpentine rock-towers, Kynance Cove makes the perfect setting for Poldark. It’s one of Cornwall’s most famous beaches so is a natural in front of the camera and provides long panning aerial shots, including clifftop riding scenes and the opening sequence of series two. This is also where Ross is marched at the hands of his arresting officers, towards Truro jail, having just been apprehended at St Agnes Head.
Gunnwalloe, an attractive sandy cove overlooked by the tiny church of St Winwaloe. on The Lizard, relived its smugglings past when Aidan Turner and a hoard of other cast members and extras descended to film night-time ship wrecking scenes for series one. It’s also the setting for Dr Dwight ‘s most recent cottage which stands on the cliffs about two miles along the coast towards Loe Bar and Porthleven (view it from the little car park accessed via a lane opposite the Halzephon Inn).
The wild qualities of this windswept headland and wild-flower strewn cliffs provided the location for many of Poldark’s charges on horseback.
The cliff tops at Park Head near Porthcothan on the dramatic north coast offer stunning views across to the towering sea stacks at Bedruthan Steps. They’re one of the locations used for scenes of Ross on galloping on horseback while the neighbouring beaches of Porthcothan and Hendrawna star as part of Nampara.
For some of the cliff scenes the filming action moved to the Padstow area. Fans of north Cornwall will recognise Levlizzick, and the spectacular views across the Camel Estuary and Tregirls beach.
Turnaware Point on the beautiful Roseland side of the River Fal is famous for its association with the D-Day landings. Fans may recognise it from series three when it acts as a French location for some covert landings.