DID you know Essex has been the setting for many a Hollywood blockbuster? From the misty wilds of Osea Island to Southend Airport, film crews have used the county as a backdrop for some of the most popular films. 

1. The Woman in Black – Osea Island

The island in the River Blackwater (5 miles off Mersea Island) is connected to the north bank of the river by a causeway which is covered at high tide, and in 2012 it was the setting for the Hammer Horror film The Woman in Black.

Harry Potter star Daniel Radclifffe plays Arthur Cripps, a young lawyer who visits spooky Eel March Island (which is also cut off from the mainland by the tides) in order to arrange it’s sale after the death of its owner.

2. Goldfinger – London Southend Airport

A British United Air Ferries Carvair is seen transporting villain Goldfinger and his car in the 1964 James Bond film from Southend Airport to Geneva.

In the scene, filmed in 1963, Sean Connery as Bond drives his Aston Martin DB5 into Southend Airport (having tracked Goldfinger’s Rolls Royce to the airport – the first use of what would become Sat Nav on screen), and takes it to Switzerland in pursuit of Goldfinger via the Carvair.

3. Ivanhoe – Hedingham Castle

The Norman motte and bailey castle has often been the location for films and TV programmes.

It was mostly notably featured in Ivanhoe, the 1997 BBC TV mini-series of Sir Walter Scott’s novel set in 1192 AD about a disinherited knight who is accused of treachery in the Crusades starring Steve Waddington, Susan Lynch, Ciaran Hinds and Christopher Lee.

4. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – Tilbury

The third of the Indiana Jones trilogy starring Harrison Ford and Sean Connery. The search for the Holy Grail takes our hero Indy to Venice.

Although the Venice waterfront starts out as real, we’re soon back in Essex, with the high-speed chase through the waterways of the Italian city actually being filmed around Tilbury Docks.

5. Batman Begins– Coalhouse Fort 

In this 2005 reboot of the caped crusader, the ‘Bhutanese’ prison in which Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) hits rock-bottom before being found by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), is actually Coalhouse Fort, East Tilbury. The Victorian fort, built around 1870, was intended to protect London from French invaders and now stands in a pleasant green park on the north bank of the Thames, protected by its moat.

Many thanks to this blog by Visit Essex for the original content. 

Go to the Visit Essex website for more ideas on places to visit and things to do.

  • Do you know of any more locations in Essex that have been used for films? Comment below.