Hollywood comes to Kirkby Lonsdale

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Filming for a major new blockbuster movie has been taking place in the picturesque town of Kirkby Lonsdale. Parts of the historic market town were transformed by a crew of about 300 to shoot location scenes for Universal Pictures’ The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, starring Robert Downey Jr and Antonio Banderas.

The part-live-action, part-CGI film also features the likes of Jim Broadbent and Michael Sheen as well as the voices of numerous stars, including Ralph Fiennes as a tiger, Selena Gomez as a giraffe, Tom Holland as a dog and Emma Thompson as a parrot!

Looking towards Kirkby Lonsdale church from alleyway

Over three days in the middle of May, chase scenes were filmed around Market Square and the excitement attracted hundreds of visitors.

The title character, who discovers he can talk to animals, was created by author Hugh Lofting and appeared in a series of children’s books, the first of which was published in 1920. Previous movies have starred Rex Harrison, in the 1960s, and Eddie Murphy, in the 1990s.

The new film is scheduled for release in April 2019, but you don’t need to wait that long to see Kirkby Lonsdale for yourself! Sally’s Cottages has a selection of properties around the area – take a look here.

St Mary's Church, Kirkby Lonsdale, and surrounding buildings

Kirkby Lonsdale is no stranger to film crews, as it also featured in the BBC period drama Jamaica Inn, which was screened over Easter 2014 and starred Jessica Brown Findlay, of Downton Abbey fame.

Devil's Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale

The town’s mix of cobbled courtyards, 17th and 18th century buildings and Lakeland stone cottages was chosen for the adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 19th century novel, which is actually set in 1820s Cornwall. Scenes were shot around Market Square, St Mary’s Church and Devil’s Bridge.

View of alleyway from church towards Kirkby Lonsdale

It's little wonder that film crews have been attracted to Kirkby Lonsdale. It’s a very traditional Cumbrian town, although near the border with Lancashire, and has cobbled streets that go up and downhill, many independent shops, and quirky ginnels and yards. Plus, its location allows easy access to both the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

If you’re planning stay in the area there’s plenty to see and do. You can read about some of the highlights here.

Dramatic view of Derwentwater

Cumbria’s stunning scenery has appeared in other recent blockbusters such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the film adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, and Miss Potter, about one of the Lake District’s best-loved authors, Beatrix Potter, starring Renee Zellwegger, as well as many more.

View of Windermere lake

Plan your visit soon and discover why the picturesque Lake District is considered the perfect film location! You can search all our cottages by clicking here.

And if you want to know more about Cumbria being a star of our screens, here's a selection of other blogs for you to read!