Home > Films > L > Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Wednesday April 17th 2024

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider | 2001

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider filming location: Ta Prohm, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider location: the temple complex: Ta Prohm, Siem Reap, Cambodia | Photograph: iStockphoto / syagci

The exterior of Lara Croft ’s (Angelina Jolie) mansion is Hatfield House, Hatfield, north of London, a frequent location, seen as the interior of ‘Wayne Manor’ in Tim Burton’s Batman, though the lavish interior, where she practises her bungee ballet, is a studio set.

Hatfield was also seen in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It pops up again in both Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes and in Mr Holmes, with Ian McKellen, as well as in such period pieces as Shekhar Kapur's epic Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Oscar-winner Shakespeare in Love and Henry VIII And His Six Wives, as well as becoming 'Windsor Castle' in My Week With Marilyn and the ‘Great House’ in Sally Potter’s time-shifting, gender-shifting film of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider filming location: Hatfield House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider location: Lara Croft’s mansion: Hatfield House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire

Lord Croft’s stone ‘tent’ tomb in the grounds was added for the film, inspired by the tomb of explorer Sir Richard Burton, which you can see in Mortlake Cemetery.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider filming location: Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider location: the Council of the Illuminati: Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London

The council of the Illuminati appears to be held in the church of Santa Maria Della Salute, on the Grand Canal in Venice, but you’ll no doubt recognise the chamber as the Painted Hall of the Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, London SE10, another popular location, seen in The Madness of King George, The Avengers, Quills, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, Michael Winner’s 1983 remake of The Wicked Lady and The Golden Compass.

Lara rides her bike across Tower Bridge on the way to the auction house, and returns roaring through Leadenhall Market, EC3, at the foot of the Lloyds Building (tube: Bank, Central or Northern Lines). The market is seen in Brannigan, with John Wayne, in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, and also in it you'll find the entrance to ‘The Leaky Cauldron’ from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider location: 10 Trinity Square, London EC3
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider location: villain Manfred Powell’s London mansion: 10 Trinity Square, London EC3

The London home of villainous lawyer Manfred (Iain Glen), until recently the vast and elaborate office of insurance company Willis Faber, 10 Trinity Square (formerly the Port of London Authority building), looming over Trinity Square Garden, EC3, near the Tower of London. It’s now being converted into a five-star hotel, private members’s club and private residences. The building featured in the 1960 Peter Sellers comedy caper Two Way Stretch; in 1976, it became a suitably grand venue for the ‘Oil Producers International Conference’ at the opening of Sweeney!; and in 2012, it was moved to ‘Whitehall’ to become a government building in Skyfall.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider location: Leadenhall Market, London EC3
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider location: Lara rides her bike through Leadenhall Market, London EC3

The exotic interior, with its Indian-style carvings, is Elveden Hall, a private house on the A11 about four miles west of Thetford in Suffolk, which you might recognise as the site of the eerie orgy in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, and as the ‘Tangier’ banquet in Bond movie The Living Daylights.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider location: Angkor Thom, Cambodia
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider location: the temple complex: Angkor Thom, Cambodia | Photograph: iStockphoto / xuujie

The Cambodian temple complex, where Croft must retrieve the half of the triangular MacGuffin, is at Siem Reap in Cambodia, where she arrives, with game-style ease, onto Phnom Bakheng, a hill topped by a Hindu temple (though the site later became a Buddhist centre).

She tools up and scoots off in her Land Rover in front of the sacred Bayon Temple, in Angkor Thom, its 54 towers, each bearing four enigmatic smiling faces. The most spectacular temple of all, entwined with enormous trees, where Croft encounters the mysterious girl, is Ta Prohm.

The most famous, Angkor Wat itself (the largest religious monument in the world and a World Heritage site), looms over the Cambodian village. It appears to be on a river It’s not. The village was no more than a set built around a small ornamental pond.

As Cambodia recovers from its troubled past, a modest tourism industry is beginning to blossom, learning to balance economic gain with inevitable concerns about the effect on the ancient buildings. There’s no public transport between the monuments, so check for guided tours.

The 1965 film of Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim, with Peter O’Toole, is one of the few other films to be shot at Angkor Wat.

Lara boards the ’copter for ‘Siberia’ at RAF Odiham, in north Hampshire. It’s not a terribly long flight – the arrival was filmed on Salisbury Plain also in Hampshire (it’s costly to fly ’copters out to Iceland, which was standing in for ‘Siberia’.

The 'Siberian' location is Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, formed by the retreating Vatnajokull glacier – the largest in Europe – on the southeast coast of the country, about 40 miles east of Skaftafell National Park and 250 miles from Reykjavik. It's the same glacier seen in Bond movie Die Another Day, and about 20 miles east of icy landscapes seen in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar.

Another bit of British fakery has Windsor Great Park, Berkshire, briefly standing in for the steamy 'Cambodian jungle' as Lara sprints through the undergrowth.