If you’re as excited about the magical new The BFG movie as we are, you’ll want to know all about the film locations used in bringing the Roald Dahl classic BFG book to life.
The latest Steven Spielberg movie collaboration with Disney features highly-respected British actor Mark Rylance as the Big Friendly Giant and 10-year-old Ruby Barnhill from Cheshire as Sophie.
Roald Dahl’s perennially popular book was published in 1982 and tells the story of a little girl called Sophie who is kidnapped by a Big Friendly Giant but goes on to make friends with him. Together with the Queen of England, they team up to save the world from a pack of grotesque giants who eat “human beans.”
The BFG book and the film are famous for their many neologisms (made-up words), mostly thanks to the BFG’s eccentric use of language. We love the idea of the “nice and jumbly giant” blowing beautiful “phizzwizard” dreams he has captured in dream country into the ears of sleeping “childers.”
And who wouldn’t want to taste “scrumdiddlyumptious frobscottle?” There’s even a name for the BFG’s language — it’s called Gobblefunk!
London The BFG Movie locations
In the BFG, Sophie and her friend break into Buckingham Palace in order to enlist the Queen’s help in defeating the nasty giants. Directed by Sophie, the BFG leaps over Hyde Park Gate and the wall that surrounds the palace gardens in order to deposit the brave little girl through the Queen’s bedroom window.
Buckingham Palace is the official headquarters of the monarchy but for just ten weeks every summer it is open to the public and visitors can see inside the State Rooms, as well as the Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews. So you could get to see the great hall where the BFG banged his head on the chandelier and ate an enormous breakfast. They used the real Buckingham Palace in filming the BFG but the Queen was played by Penelope Wilton from Downton Abbey.
The Isle of Skye in Scotland becomes Giant Country
You have to see the Isle of Skye to believe how beautiful it is. Beautiful and pristine in its remote setting off the west coast of Scotland. With its spectacular mountain ranges and craggy coastline sharply indented by deep-sea lochs, Skye is wildly perfect.
The BFG movie location scouts went even wilder, with some filming taking place on the remote Shiant islands and in the Orkney archipelago off the north coast of Britain, particularly the Old Man of Hoy sea stack.
The landscape shots filmed in Scotland were sent off to Weta Digital in New Zealand (the magicians behind the LOTR and Hobbit trilogies) to create the final images of Giant Country for the BFG movie.
The BFG Movie at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire
Blenheim Palace is one of the United Kingdom’s most magnificent and popular stately homes. It was built in the early 18th century by the 1st Duke of Marlborough, who received the land and funds from Queen Anne as a reward for his military success. Nowadays, Sir Winston Churchill is probably the most famous scion of this aristocratic family.
Blenheim Palace is a Unesco World Heritage Site and with its 300 years of history and 2,000 hectares of gorgeous gardens and parkland, it is a deservedly popular attraction and film location only an hour-and-a-half journey from London. The elaborate Italian Garden was the focus of filming in the BFG.
BFG footprints at Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland
BFG filming also took place on a Northumberland beach with the dramatic Bamburgh Castle as a backdrop. The filmmakers created the giant footprints of the BFG in the sand and then made it look like they were being washed away slowly by the tide, pumping water from huge tanks and barrels.
Apparently, the locals got very excited about the filming and crowds of people gathered to watch the overnight shoot.
Inspiration for the BFG
The Spielberg-Disney vision of Roald Dahl’s BFG uses a mix of film and animation to bring a much-loved story to life. The filmmakers have used some of the prettiest locations in the United Kingdom to create a magical masterpiece.
But where did Roald Dahl himself find his inspiration to write the BFG? The story started as a scribbled idea in one of Dahl’s notebooks and then made an appearance in an earlier book — Danny the Champion of the World.
The dream-catching Big Friendly Giant is one of the stories Danny’s father tells him and he was even part of the stories Dahl told to his own children. Apparently he used to climb a ladder and pretend to blow dreams into their bedroom windows.
The little girl Sophie was named after Roald Dahl’s granddaughter. Sophie Dahl grew up to be a successful fashion model and is now a writer herself.
You can see the actual building that inspired Sophie’s “norphanage” just outside London in Great Missenden. This small Buckinghamshire village was home to Roald Dahl for many years and has a wonderful Roald Dahl Museum celebrating the BFG author’s life and work.
So if you’re planning a trip to Britain, why not immerse yourself in the world of Roald Dahl by visiting some of the film locations. Because after the BFG movie, the world will more GIANT than you can imagine!