Where was His Dark Materials filmed? Guide to ALL the Filming Locations

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The rich and extended universe of the novel trilogy by English author Philip Pullman has been adapted for tv in the reportedly BBC's most expensive project to date, co-produced by HBO.

Now back for the third and final season, His Dark Materials was filmed in Wales, England, and Spain.

His Dark Materials Season three

The first two seasons were filmed simultaneously between 2018 and 2019, covering the first two books, Northern Lights (The Golden Compass in North America, 1995) and The Subtle Knife (1997).

In the story, every human is born with a daemon companion, which is the soul living outside of the body taking an animal form.

His Dark Materials location

This steampunk show was written by Jack Thorne, the creator of acclaimed shows like Skins or This is England.

The cast is led by Dafne Keen (the young wolverine girl from Logan) as Lyra Belacqua, Ruth Wilson as Marisa Coulter, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby, and James McAvoy as Lord Asriel Belacqua.

Welcome to our spoiler-free guide to the filming locations of His Dark Materials - you'll find the new season 3 updates below in the report.

His Dark Materials Locations

Jordan College
The fictional Jordan College was filmed in the New College in Oxford, founded in 1379.

Several areas of the complex are featured in the series, like the spectacular chapel (pictured), the hall, and the courtyards.
(You can open all the locations on Google Maps by clicking on the links below in the captions ↴)
Image courtesy of HBO / BBC and Udo Schuklenk - Map

Fictional Oxford panorama with zeppelins
The show required a lot of visual effects; this view of Oxford was entirely created by CGI.

The studio work was done at Wolf Studios Wales, headquartered in a former factory in Cardiff.

Marisa Coulter's Apartment
The Londonist suggested that Marisa Coulter's Apartment is inspired by the facade of the art deco Temple of Peace in Cardiff.

The location, volume, and the clock at the top are from the Shell Mex House in London.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO, - Chris Sampson and Google Maps / Shell Mex House Location

Marisa luxury flat
This hall pictured was filmed in the interior of the Temple of Peace.
Image courtesy of BBC One / HBO and Bristol Icarus

Magisterium building location
And where is the massive Magisterium building? In Lyra's parallel world, the Holy Church headquarters occupy the position of Buckingham Palace! Image courtesy of BBC / HBO and Google Maps

His Dark Materials Magisterium
However, the Brutalist-style interior of the Magisterium was filmed at the Welsh Government's headquarters in Cathays Park, Cardiff.

Each production filming at the old Welsh Office building, which opened in the mid-1930s, is charged a £1 fee.

It is so cheap because, by law, this public complex cannot be used for the purpose of making a profit.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO - Map

Dónde se rueda La materia oscura
A street from a scene in episode 3 with Lord Carlo Boreal shot at Plasturton Gardens in Cardiff.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO and Google Maps

Sharpness Docks on location
The scenes with the Gyptians sailing in the river were filmed in the River Severn and Sharpness Docks.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO and Nick - Map

Trollesund location
The set of the run-down town of Trollesund was built in a disused quarry on Llangynidr in Crickhowell.

Trollesund is the main port of Lapland, which Lyra and her Gyptian protectors visit during their journey to Bolvangar.

Wikipedia has a magnificent list of all the fictional locations and worlds where the books take place.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO - Map

À la croisée des mondes Lieux de tournage
Many exterior shots were filmed at the stunning landscapes of Brecon Beacons National Park, located only 40 miles north of Cardiff.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO - Map

Seine dunklen Materialien drehort
The location pictured is the historical Blaise Orangery at Blaise Castle in Bristol, which was CGI'd to look abandoned.

Bristol Film Office reported that a chase sequence was filmed in the city at Trenchard Street, Colston Street, Host Street, Pipe Lane, and Colston Yard.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO and Peter Barr - Map

Season Two: Cittàgazze

The cobbled streets of the spectral city of Cittàgazze were built at Bad Wolf Studios. But would you like to visit a town like this in the real world?

We reckon that the Mediterranean-looking city is inspired by the wondrous Croatian walled settlement of Korčula, located on the island of the same name.

However, the sharp hills that surround the peninsular city seem out of the spectacular Nā Pali Coast on the island of Kauai (Hawaii). The Nā Pali coast has been featured in lots of productions, including the Jurassic Park movie series.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO and Saluto-Team - Maps: Korcula / Na Pali

Season 2 in Oxford
In the second episode, the round glass building in Oxford is the new Blavatnik School of Government, which opened in 2016.

In the same episode, Lyra visits the Pitt Rivers Museum, a magnificent natural history museum displaying the archaeological and anthropological collections of the University of Oxford.

Later on, Lyra and Will meet in the Oxford Botanic Garden.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO - Maps: Blavatnik School / Museum / Garden

The New Season Three Locations

Mrs Coulter house on a cliff
The hidden house on a remote island in the German Ocean is an actual location: Lyra is sleeping at Saint Govan's Chapel near Bosherston in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

This medieval pilgrimage chapel, located right by the coast within a rocky gorge, is accessible from the clifftop by climbing down around 50 stairs.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO - Map

Geneva His Dark Materials
The establishing shot of Geneva, where Cardinal MacPhail arrives in the first episode, "The Enchanted Sleeper", was made using the Austrian city of Salzburg as inspiration.

The Magisterium court building was CGI'd into the Hohensalzburg Fortress situated on the top of the beautiful Baroque historical district.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO - Map

Ogunwes camp
There is an abandoned village in China covered with plants and moss like Ogunwe’s camp.

The camp aerial views are inspired by the town of Houtouwan on Shengshan Island, off the eastern coast of Shanghai.

After decades of abandonment since the '90s because of its hard-to-access location, the site was declared a National Scenic Area.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO - Map

The Intention Craft
The ruins in the second episode, "The Break", were filmed at the Dunraven Castle remains, an old mansion located on the South Wales coast near Southerndown.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO - Map

Lord Asriel base
Lord Asriel's base on top of an escarpment was CGI'd into the Black Mountain range landscape, located in the Brecon Beacons National Park (Carmarthenshire).

The lake below is Llyn y Fan Fach, in Welsh meaning "little lake near the peak".
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO - Map

Sierra de Grazalema
The local outlet Surinenglish confirmed that the production filmed scenes for the third season in some rural areas of the province of Malaga in Andalucia, Spain.

The scenes with Mary Malone and the Mulefa were filmed at the Grazalema mountain range, although the large trees and roots were made via CGI.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO - Map

El Chorro Ardales
The scene with Lyra and Will swimming in the season finale was recorded at the El Chorro area in Ardales in the Guadalhorce Valley near Málaga.

The scenes in the woods area were filmed in Llanos de Matagallar, a hiking area near the town of Coín.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO - Maps: El Chorro / Llanos de Matagallar

Barranco Blanco waterfall
The other swimming scene with Gomez and angel Balthamos was filmed near the Barranco Blanco waterfall, also in Coín.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO - Map

The Clouded Mountain
The series ends at the magnificent University of Oxford Botanic Garden, a location already featured in the previous seasons.
Image courtesy of BBC / HBO - Map

Can you help to improve this article about the filming locations of His Dark Materials? To complete and correct this report, any feedback, info, or images that you may have are more than welcome, thank you!

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  1. The exterior shots of Will's school (epp 5 and 7) are Cardiff Uni's John Percival Biulding and Arts and Social Science Library.

  2. I'm sure there's a Charles Voysey House used as a location when Will is drawn into a trap.

  3. I wondered whether the walls of the Magisterium 'court' were somewhere inside 55 Broadway and then saw those bands of granite at the back wall of the Cardiff Temple of Peace main hall.Oh the Irony! The beautiul black fluted colomns must be made of solid 'dust' !! also ironic but not iconic (columns) !

  4. The hills around Cittigazze are definitely Kaua’i in Hawai’i. The two waterfalls flowing down the enormous hills have a small lake between them, my husband and I swam in them when we went hiking during our visit

  5. In the scene where Lyra is in the car with Carlo Boreal in Oxford, she gets out of the car (and forgets the alethiometer) on Elmdale Road near the University of Bristol. At the end of the road, you can see the building where the Bristol museum is located and Bristol Grammar school is on the left.

  6. Hi, the designers of Cittagazze traveled across Italy looking for inspiration. Most of the interior parts of the town itself are heavily based on a bunch of towns from Cinque Terre, but the shape and profile of the peninsula are definitely based on the aerial view over this place in Tuscany called Monte Argentario and Orbetello.


    They could have easily found it even by just looking at the Italian map, looking for a place that would stick out of the mainland as they imagined it.
    It was quite mind-blowing to me to see this because I was born there and I live on the island of Kauai right now!

    1. Looks more like Mont Saint Michel in France to me

  7. I wonder why they did not use an aerial shot of the real Geneva for the magisterium scene in S03E01. Why on earth did they choose Salzburg instead? Salzburg is not even sitting at a lake, which is so characteristic of Geneva. And Geneva even has a cathedral hill on which they could have easily CGI-rendered that massive magisterium building.

  8. Pretty sure that season 3 episode 2, where Lara and Will escape her mother and an attack from the magisterium, was filmed at Dunraven house ruins at Southerndown in South Wales.

  9. All of the outside magisterium outside shoots (season 3 ep 4) as well as some internal shots in previous seasons are shot at the Welsh Government buildings in Cathays Park in Cardiff, Wales. I know because I work there. This is right across the road from the Temple of Peace (also a filming location).

  10. The aerial shots of Asrael's base in Season 3 - on top of an escarpment - look very much like the Black Mountain with Llyn y Fan Fach (of the Lady in the Lake legend) below.

  11. I was wondering if the scene with Azrael and the bear Bjorn was at the Blue Lagoon in Pembrokeshire.

    Also, does anyone know where the scene near the beginning of S3 E4 was filmed, where Lyra and Will first enter the land of the dead? There are what look like oil pipelines mounted on tall concrete gantries, the same location was in one of Lyra's dream sequences in an earlier episode. The location looks very familiar, I'm sure I've seen it used in another film/series.

  12. The swimming scene in the season 3 finale looks like Lake Vinuela, inland from Velez Malaga in Andalusia.

    1. They’d have to have CG’d in the water! Sadly, the reservoir’s never been so low. Good to see from the suggested location above that there’s still water somewhere in Andalucia though.

  13. The earlier filmed scenes of the park bench weren't filmed in the gardens in Oxford but in a park in Wales (although it was set in Oxford and other parts of the garden were filmed there for real)

    1. that's true - dewstow gardens. the grottos there were also used in other scenes in series 2


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