Author: Lewis Sharpe
Award winning Netflix series Sex Education is shot in some familiar spots for Welsh people.
Characters Jean Milburn – played by Gillian Anderson – and son Otis Milburn – played by Asa Butterfield – live in a luxurious red and white chalet located in the village of Symonds Yat East, just outside of Monmouth.
When not used for filming the show, the property made from Norwegian pine can be rented out as a holiday home, sleeping up to 10 people in five bedrooms.
‘’The house wasn’t well known at all before the Sex Education series came along,’’ explained the owner of the property Stuart Morgan.
‘’You can’t really see the house from the public road because it’s tucked away and not very many people knew about it. The only people who really knew about it were the people we used to hire the house out to for holidays. We don’t live there; we have it as a holiday home.’’
Initially, constantly renting the property to different holidaymakers was hard work. Stuart and wife Catherine decided to rent the house out to long-term tenants.
‘’One day, someone from the location company working for the film company that work for Netflix put an envelope through the door of the chalet and asked if we’d be interested in allowing the film company working for Netflix to use the property in a film,’’ continued Morgan. ”Then the tenant dropped me a line and that was the start of it.
(Image: Instagram @thechaletsymondsyat)
‘’The only shots in the series involving the property are the external shots, the front door and the terrace where the characters have their breakfast, so they don’t really need a lot of time. All of the internal shots are in a set built in a film studio not far from Cardiff. In terms of time, they’re only there for about three weeks.’’
The show raised questions to viewers as it wasn’t set in a particular place or time.
‘’They were looking for something unique, a wooded valley with an unusual property with a New England, America sort of feel to it. The house itself is made of out wood and a lot of houses in New England and Scandinavia are traditionally made out of wood.
”Our house was built by Norwegians in 1912 and when we’ve taken panels off in the house, we’ve found Norwegian writing from the people who put it together chalked on the inside of the panels.
‘’They didn’t really want the programme to have a specific time or a place so, for example, the kids drive around in cars from the 1980s yet they’re using mobile phones, it’s a confusing mixture.’’
Now better known from the show, the property known as ‘The Chalet’ attracts fans of the series, with many making the effort to visit the property.
‘’There was an influx of people and then, in the summer, with lockdown we had quite a few people coming to see the house which is unusual to us.
‘’We’ve had people coming to look at it, peeking through the hedge. Some people have unfortunately taken it a bit further and have come down to the house and trespassed on our property taking photographs. We have a public footpath running past the house which attracts visitors.’’
Fans of the show have also shown interest in staying at the property.
(Image: Instagram @thechaletsymondsyat)
‘’We’ve had thousands and thousands of people asking about renting the house but, of course, it’s a big house and it’s not cheap to rent so of those thousands and thousands only a number of people have made bookings and the pandemic has banged all that on the head.’’
Hopeful the property can improve the area’s economy, Morgan also worries about the environmental impact surrounding having visitors.
‘’During the summer, when the lockdown rules were relaxed, the area was very busy; the local pubs, hotels and that brings great opportunities to the economy of the area.
‘’It also brings with it some less welcome things such as litter. At times when pubs and restaurants weren’t open, people were bringing their own picnics and barbeques and some of them didn’t take their litter home with them.
‘’Economically, it is a big boom for the area.”
If interested in booking a stay at the house, head over to their website for further information here.
(Featured image: Instagram @thechaletsymondsyat)