From Harry Potter's Hogwarts castle to the moors of Wuthering Heights to Pemberly and Netherfield Park in Pride and Prejudice, I'm in love with the vast and varied U.K. landscapes of literature and film. Now, with Tim Burton's Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, adapted from the book of the same name by Ransom Riggs, I have new scenery to fawn over. The trailer for Miss Peregrine's features gorgeous shots of an ornate home and lush greenery, and readers of the book will know that the setting for the adventures of main character Jacob Portman is the small Welsh island of Cairnholm. The lovely landscape will make you want to know if the island in Miss Peregrine's is real, because, after all, it seems so beautiful that anyone would be dying to check it out.
Alas, no, the island of Cairnholm comes from the lively imagination of Riggs and is completely fictional. According to an entry for the series from fandom site Wikia, Cairnholm is located in Wales and is described as "gloomy and bleak," but with "large ranges of green land." In the book, the island is also referred to as "windswept," and it is notably home to the residency where much of the action takes place: Miss Peregrine's eponymous home for children.
Because Cairnholm is fictional, the filmmakers were thus tasked with finding filming locations in our boring and unmagical nonfiction reality. Fortunately, Burton and production designer Gavin Bocquet (you can see his production design in Gulliver's Travels and Star Wars Episodes I, II, and III) are experts when it comes to beautiful set design and locations, and they did their best to recreate the mystery and charm of Cairnholm by using several filming locations.
Architectural Digest notes that most of the scenes meant to be in Cairnholm were filmed in the small and secluded village of Portholland, which is located on the south coast of Cornwall, England. Portholland is a sandy and lushly green stretch of land comprised of West Portholland and East Portholland, which are connected by a beach. According to the tourism website for Cornwall, quaint Portholland only has 40 full time residents, so it's a natural fit for the mysterious Cairnholm. In addition to utilizing the natural setting, the production team for Miss Peregrine's built four new structures in the village specifically for the film: three shops and a pub.
The filming location for the home itself, which serves as a haven full of wonder and mystery for the children and is where much of the story takes place, was far from England. Miss Peregrine's home in the film is actually the beautiful Torenhof Castle, in Belgium. Of the intricately crafted building and lush grounds, Burton told Buzzfeed, "A lot of houses looked like hospitals or institutions, and this one just looked like an eccentric home." You can always count on Burton's films to use meticulously chosen set decoration, and according to Architectural Digest, Torenhof Castle already contained a number of quirks and period details from the 1930s and '40s that Burton and set decorator Elli Griff were eager to utilize.
Through what Burton described to Buzzfeed as "the magic of movies," the locations of Torenhof Castle and Portholland, as well as a pier in Blackpool, England where they filmed the movie's climax and areas of Florida, were digitally integrated to create one complete, magical, and delightfully peculiar world, which we know as Cairnholm. I can't wait to visit in the place where everything is possible: the movie theater.
Images: 20th Century Fox (2)