Find out more about The Last Kingdom’s filming locations
Based on Sharpe creator Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon novel series, set in the ninth century, The Last Kingdom is the story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg. Uhtred is born a Saxon but raised a Viking after his father’s death in battle. When his beloved adoptive father Earl Ragnar is killed by his enemy Kjartan the Cruel, Uhtred flees south to rejoin the Saxon community. But life in the service of a pious King Alfred isn’t as straightforward as Uhtred might have hoped.
The Last Kingdom is about the birth of England as a nation, but England no longer looks like it did in the year 866. Accordingly, all four seasons of this BBC/Netflix co-production have been filmed in Hungary, which apparently does. The fifth season is being filmed there, too. Only a little of the action takes place in the UK, such as the coastal scenes filmed in North Wales and later in County Durham.
Here are just a few of the places that feature in The Last Kingdom.
The countryside around the village of Göböljárás, just outside Budapest, is a major filming location for The Last Kingdom. The set representing King Alfred the Great’s primary residence at Winchester was built here. The natural, wild beauty of the Hungarian landscape made it an obvious choice for ninth-century Wessex.
The Wessex countryside is represented by Dobogókő, a beautiful area in the Visegrád mountain range much favoured by tourists. Near Pilisszentkereszt in the county of Pest, Dobogókő is a place of pilgrimage for Hungarian neo-pagans. So it has that going for it as well.
The Welsh scenes in The Last Kingdom were filmed in Esztergom, the old capital of Hungary on the bank of the Danube. Esztergom is the birthplace of St Stephen, the first King of Hungary. It remains the seat of the Catholic Church in this country.
Bebbanburg, Uhtred’s ancestral home, is now known as Bamburgh. Although much of the filming for The Last Kingdom took place in Hungary, some of the battle scenes from season three were indeed filmed on Bamburgh beach in the shadow of the famous castle. The castle interior doesn’t appear in The Last Kingdom – it’s been substantially redecorated since the ninth century. But it will be familiar to viewers of Downton Abbey, the Harry Potter films and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
The English name for the beach at Porthor is Whistling Sands, describing the squeaking noise the sand makes when you tread on it. There is only one other beach in Europe where the unique shape of the sand grains has this effect. Porthor was the location for the coastal scenes in season one of The Last Kingdom.
The dramatic seafront of Nose’s Point, County Durham, is the setting for the traders’ camp when Uhtred is sold into slavery in season two of The Lost Kingdom. This stretch of coast is famous for its distinctive appearance and the orange tint to the rock pools caused by iron deposits.