December 8, 2023

By Charlotte Wood

The Filming in England team at Creative England round-up the year with a spotlight blog on the anticipated prequel adaptation of Roald Dahl classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Warner Bros. Pictures has brought new light to the beloved children’s novel, with the origin story of Wonka. A musical fantasy film following the footsteps of young Willy Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) on his journey to becoming the infamous magician and chocolate-maker known today.

On Location with Wonka

The feature production filmed at several locations across the English Regions, contributing to the characters on-screen journey from the iconic Lyme Regis Cobb in Dorset, historic Bath City Centre, the College Buildings at the University of Oxford and the picturesque Verulamium Park in St Albans, Hertfordshire

Dorset Council and the team at Film Dorset were excited to facilitate filming at the iconic area of The Cobb at Lyme Regis and support the transformation of the historic harbour for the production of Wonka. Kerry Carpenter, Co-ordinator at Film Dorset, told us:

“It’s fantastic to know that Dorset contributed to the making of scenes for this wondrous adventure film that has such appeal to audiences world-wide, and we’re looking forward to spotting Lyme Regis again on the big screen.

We’re keen to grow our film-facilitation offer in Dorset and collaborate with the team at Filming in England and the South West Regional Filming Hub. We offer a dedicated point of contact for filming, we support the creative industries with a film-friendly environment, and our county is home to stunning landscapes, iconic landmarks, harbours, chocolate-box villages, traditional seaside and market towns, historic houses, and beautiful beaches.

We encourage film and high-end TV productions to consider Dorset because we recognise the benefits these projects can bring the wider economy, boosting tourism and hospitality, generating income for local people and businesses. As a film-friendly council we seek to work with responsible production companies who recognise our role in protecting Dorset’s unique environment and support our ambitions to make Dorset a great place to live, work and visit.”

The Cobb, Lyme Regis © Adrian Baker/

Winter Wonderland in Bath

The historic South West city of Bath also provided a backdrop to film on location. An atmospheric winter scene was created out of smoke and artificial snow by the production. The areas of the Kingston Buildings, Bath Street, Parade Gardens and the Riverside Colonnades were all used as locations in the feature film.

Wonka filming in Bath © Jamie Bellinger/

Paul Roper, Cabinet Member for Economic and Cultural Sustainable Development at Bath and North East Somerset added on behalf of the Bath Film Office:

“It was really special seeing Bath transformed into a winter wonderland for Wonka. As a city well known for period drama it was great to see it also used as a backdrop to this amazing fantasy world. Wonka used iconic streets such as Bath Street and less well-known locations such as Parade Gardens and the Riverside Colonnades to great effect. 

We needed to coordinate a lot of Council services to make the filming happen, but our colleagues here in Bath have a real ‘can do’ attitude which makes such a difference. The task was also made easier by the production Location Team – they were so organised and a pleasure to work with.

Filming brings such a lot of benefits to Bath, both in terms of direct economic impact and the tourism it generates. Bridgerton has led to many new tours of the city, hopefully Wonka will give people yet more reasons to visit and enjoy everything Bath has to offer.”

Wonka filming in Bath © Jamie Bellinger/

Snowy Scenery in the South East & East

The stunning Gothic and Baroque architecture of the College Buildings at Oxford University additionally provided a snowy setting for Wonka in the South East. The production also took advantage of the many beautiful park locations in the regions, with the much loved Verulamium Park, in St Albans providing another key location as a fantastical fairground.

Nick Sherriff, from the Green Spaces Team at St Albans City and District Council tells us how they worked with Location Managers to accommodate filming at the park:

“When the Location Managers approached us about filming for Wonka, we were keen to find a way to accommodate the production team in our much loved and highly visited Verulamium Park. A significant part of the park is classified as a Scheduled Ancient Monument as it is the site of the ancient Roman city of Verulamium, so close working with Historic England was paramount for such an archaeologically sensitive site.

Despite filming in the winter, the production crew understood the limitations of the park and worked very hard to keep all areas accessible until right up to the filming day. A large percentage of the fee we received for filming was ring-fenced to spend on improvements within the Park. This is key to the Council’s philosophy on filming – that although there may be short term disruption, the district will benefit in the long term.

It was a great opportunity to showcase St Albans as a location. The city and district is perfectly situated near a number of film studios and the Council is wanting to be of help to filmmakers.  We look forward to hosting future productions. All of us are looking forward to watching the final production and seeing how Warner Bros. has turned our ancient park into a fairground and zoo!

Verulamium Park, St Albans © chrisdorney/

Pippa Cawdron, Film Office Manager at Hertfordshire Film Office also added about the service the newly established Film Office provides to productions wanting to film on location in the county:

“The establishment of the Hertfordshire Film Office signifies our commitment to bolstering film productions through accessible locations, skilled talent, and local facilities. The success of the Wonka film exemplifies the substantial economic and profile-raising advantages that filming brings to our district and local businesses. We eagerly anticipate witnessing more of such impactful contributions.”

Wonka © Jamie Bellinger/

Filming in England Production Services

Working alongside our Film Office partners and our Regional and National networks, Filming in England provide comprehensive production support from early feasibility to post.

It is important to showcase productions, like Wonka, filming on location in the regions as an essential part in making the case for investment in infrastructure and skills developments on a local level.

The English Regions provide a wealth of location opportunities to productions, and despite the challenging year faced by industry, it’s encouraging to see the increase in filming activity taking place regionally.

The world premiere of Wonka was held at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre in London last month and will be released in UK cinemas from Friday, 8th December by Warner Bros. Pictures.

For more information on the Film Office and Local Authority partners featured please visit: Film Dorset; Bath Film Office and Hertfordshire Film Office.

To find out more about Filming in England (part of the wider Creative UK Group) please visit our website and/or contact production services via the general inbox: