How to visit the legendary locations in 'King Arthur'
“King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword” opens Friday, and if you see it in the theaters, you won't be able to miss the dramatic locations where the film was shot in the U.K.
“We spent three and a half weeks on the road,” actor Charlie Hunnam, who plays Arthur, told Travel + Leisure. “We had such a blast, particularly in Wales. Guy decided it would be lovely for us to camp ... I mean, not really camp — I camp for real — this was not really camping, this was five-star glamping. But we slept in our trailers right by a lake.”
The film shot on location in Snowdonia, a national park in north Wales; the Forest of Dean, in western Gloucestershire; and the western Highlands.
“It was pretty great,” director Guy Ritchie told T+L. “I used to go to Wales when I was a little kid; they were my favorite holidays ever. They have these kind of gin-clear streams, and you know, the hills are very similar to the sort of Scottish mountains and hills.”
The destinations are more than a backdrop in “King Arthur.”
“The landscapes add a sense of scale to the film,” Amanda Stevens, the film's location manager, told T+L. “For us it was a great opportunity to showcase the wonderful locations that this country has to offer.”
For Hunnam, the location shoot was “a rhythm of filmmaking I’ve always dreamed of, where you’re just with the film, within that little unit of filmmakers day in and day out.”
“We’d finish work, walk over to our trailers have a little walk through the countryside ... and then we’d have a little camp fire and cook some food,” he said — and every morning he'd take “the plunge of death.”
“I think it was March, maybe just turning April, and this lake that was fed from the snowmelt from the mountains, and we would get down to our little skivvies and at 5:30 every morning take the plunge of death into the frozen lake,” Hunnam said. “It was extraordinarily cold.”
Ritchie compared the location shoot to moving with an army. “They set it up like an old-fashioned army camp,” he said. “And so it's very exciting.”
“We ended up in Snowdonia for the location for the battlefield after a nationwide search to find the opening scene of the film,” Stevens said. “When we found the site at Gwern Gof Isaf in Snowdonia it was at the end of our last day scouting and we found the location just as we were about to give up.”
Gwern Gof Isaf is a farm and campsite, meaning you can make camp like a born King, too. (If glamping sounds like more fun, there's also a luxury holiday cottage.)
Stevens called the locations in the film “three of the most magnificent landscapes” in the U.K.
“From standing on the edge of a mountain on the Isle of Skye to walking through the ancient woodland of the Forest of Dean,” she said visiting “will create the most amazing memories.”
And it wasn't just about the scenery for Stevens: “Apart from stunning scenery, all of these locations had fabulous pubs and restaurants,” she said, adding that cast and crew “made the most of” them.