The picturesque village popular with film crews that’s like stepping back in time

Great Budworth’s cobbled streets and listed houses make it a popular location for tourists (Image: MEN)

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From Martians chomping off roofs to camels roaming the streets, this picturesque village is as popular with movie directors as it is with superstar Harry Styles.

The former One Direction heartthrob has taken his band mates here as well as then-girlfriend Taylor Swift.

A trip to postcard-esque Great Budworth is like stepping back in time, its cobbled streets, black and white timber-clad homes and majestic 14th century sandstone church making this Cheshire village a hotspot for tourists.

Film crews have used its stunning scenery to seamlessly transport audiences back in time in the likes of the BBC's War of The Worlds, Our Zoo and the recent adaptation of spy thriller The Ipcress File.

They have even taken over residents' homes for many filming projects, reports MEN.

Great Budworth in Cheshire, a historic village full of Grade II listed houses that has been used as a film set for a raft of period dramas
(Image: MEN)

David and Hilary Critchley live at the stunning Providence Cottage on the village's Church Lane, which has been used for a host of filming projects due to its period features – as well as being one of the only properties in the village with a front garden.

The BBC created the alien invasion scenes for their 2019 version of War of the Worlds here, using Great Budworth to double as Hastings in the 1890s – with TV stars Rafe Spall and Eleanor Tomlinson memorably running through the village streets.

The Martians even chewed off David and Hilary's roof in the final edit.

Hilary, 69, was born and raised in the village and she has watched over the years as throngs of visitors look on in wonder at the village and its houses when they discover the 'hidden gem' location.

She says: "It is quite a unique place.

"When visitors come at the weekend you always hear people say: 'oh my goodness I had no idea this place was here and so close to Manchester' it really is a bit of a hidden gem."

While the village, nestled between Knutsford and Northwich around half an hour from Manchester, is frequently described as a hidden gem, it is well known to cyclists in the area.

They flock to the village on mornings and weekends, not least thanks to its convenient stop off locations for thirsty riders at the historic George and Dragon pub, as well as the popular Great Budworth Ice Cream Farm.

So many descend on the area there were rumours of disquiet among residents, some of whom find them "too loud".

The village's Grade II listed homes make it a tourist trap
(Image: MEN)

The ice cream shop has also had its fair share of celebrity visitors – with pop heart-throb Harry Styles a regular.

The Holmes Chapel-raised singer brought his One Direction bandmates to the farm when the group filmed a documentary visiting their home areas back in 2014.

The village boasts a range of buildings dating back to the 17th century, and at one time had five pubs, butchers and a Post Office, but as times have changed most have been converted into homes.

The old post office on High Street is now a four-bedroom family home which is currently empty and on sale for £625,000.

Harry Styles took his One Direction bandmates to Great Budworth Ice Cream Farm back in 2014

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Chartered surveyor Rob Collier, 51, lives with wife Clare, 46, and their two daughters in the village and is chairman of the parish council.

He moved to Great Budworth from Salford in 2003. He said: "I'd been working at the ICI works near here at the time and we'd all go the pub in the village – that's how I knew about it.

"Years later when I was about to get married we came for a drive out and we saw a house was for sale, an old 1930s police house, and we bought it."

The appeal of the village is not onlyits chocolate box charm, but the strong community spirit, he says.

"It's quite quirky, there's different characters here, there's a good parish hall and a village cricket team which is able to play at Arley Hall near here."

Rob said film crews have become a regular fixture of life here – and he memorably recalls that filming for Our Zoo, the story of how George Mottershead created Chester Zoo in the 1930s, brought some interesting scenes.

Rob said: "I remember there was a camel outside the pub, while Ralf Little was sitting having a pint.

"We've had all sorts of filming here now. When War of the Worlds came they had to make it look like the village was demolished."

The George and Dragon is the only surviving in the village
(Image: MEN)

Extras taking part in the BBC TV's adaptation of The War of the Worlds filmed in the Cheshire village of Great Budworth
(Image: PUBLICITY PIC)

The village was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, although there's evidence of a settlement on the site dating back to Saxon times.

For centuries, the houses in the village belonged to the nearby Arley Hall estate's Warburton family, to whom villagers would pay rent. They were eventually sold off to residents in the 1940s.

And much of the character of the village today is attributed to Arley Hall's Rowland Egerton-Warburton, who embarked on a campaign to 'render the village picturesque in Victorian eyes' in the 1800s.

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That meant remodelling cottages and adding decorative brickwork and chimneys, most famously at the old George and Dragon pub.

While it may seem a sleepy sort of village in modern day terms, centuries ago the route through the village would have been on the main road to London.

Which goes some way to explaining why at one time such a small place had five pubs – four of which are now houses.

There is also a 'running pump' of fresh water at the foot of the village that until the 1930s was used as the water supply for the entire village.

Great Budworth is very popular with local cyclists, much to the chagrin of residents
(Image: MEN)

Great Budworth has most recently been used to film the adaptation of The Ipcress File
(Image: MEN)

According to local legend, sweethearts could proclaim their undying love here, and be assured that their union would indeed last until the last drop of water runs out.

The village's remaining pub, The George and Dragon, was famously a calling point for Harry Styles when he brought his then girlfriend, American superstar Taylor Swift, to discover the delights of his home county with a trip to the romantic village and to the pub for lunch.

Inside there is plenty of quirky historic detail, including original stained glass windows, and an original stone plaque from 1722 inscribed with the words: "Nil Nimium Cupito" which means I desire nothing to excess.

There's also a famous brass inscription above the door, reading: "Saint George in armed array, doth the fiery dragon slay; Mayst thou with might no less, slay that dragon drunkenness."

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