The Victorian age witnessed a transport revolution, but even at the end of Victoria's reign, overseas travel was still beyond the reach of many. Films, though, could transport their audiences to distant climes.
Filmmakers followed the indispensable Baedeker guides (the Lonely Planet of its day), presenting their own vicarious 'Grand Tour': from Vienna to Venice, from Niagara to the Nile. And with most people seldom venturing far from their homes, images of Britain's own varied landscape carried a taste of the exotic. One spectacular innovation - the 'phantom ride', filmed from a moving vehicle - gave audiences the sensation of the journey itself.
Panorama of the Paris Exhibition No. 3
An unusual view of Paris, shot from a boat travelling down the Seine. You can even see the Eiffel tower - almost!
Railway Ride over the Tay Bridge
Non-Fiction18975 minsSilent Location: Tay Bridge
Stunning train's eye views across the Tay rail bridge from Fife to Dundee
Conway Castle - panoramic view of Conway on the L.& N.W. Railway
Non-Fiction18982 minsSilent Location: Conwy Castle
Conwy's bridge, castle and station glide past, as if in a dream, in this beautiful phantom train ride film (no ghosts but apparently no train either) from 1898.
Panorama around the Eiffel Tower
Stand in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and tour the pavilions of Paris's Exposition Universelle of 1900
Opening of the Kiel Canal
This was one of a series of actuality films made by the Victorian pioneer Birt Acres during 1895. The film is thought to have been shot on June 20, on the occasion of the opening of the Kiel Canal by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Acres shot other films at the same time, but they have not survived.
The Mount Pilatus Railway
Take a trip on the steepest rack railway in the world, scaling Mount Pilatus in the heart of the Swiss Alps
Panorama - Windsor Castle
Non-Fiction18980 minsSilent Location: Windsor Castle
This panorama takes in Windsor and Eton Riverside station, Windsor Castle, and plenty of Victorians at leisure.
Stonehenge - Panorama of the Ancient Druidical Remains
Travelogue19011 minsSilent Location: Stonehenge
Get up close to the ancient British icon - before the coach parties descended.
Beautiful Panorama of Railway Ride from St. German to Milray (1901)
Non-Fiction19013 minsSilent Location: Plymouth
Views from an Edwardian railway trip, filmed just east of the Devon-Cornwall border and over the Tamar.
Cinematographic View of the Royal Albert Bridge (1901)
Non-Fiction19015 minsSilent Location: Royal Albert Bridge
A view of the many sea-going vessels around Saltash and Plymouth.
Ride on a Tram Car through Belfast (1901)
Non-Fiction19014 minsSilent Location: Belfast
Downtown Belfast is easily recognisable in these scenes from a tramcar ride in 1901.
Cunard Mail Steamer Lucania Leaving For America (1901)
Non-Fiction190116 minsSilent Location: Liverpool
The luxurious RMS Lucania is bound for New York in one of Mitchell & Kenyon's most elaborate and striking films.
Liverpool As Seen from the Front of an Electric Car from the Pierhead to the Circus (1901)
Non-Fiction19012 minsSilent Location: Liverpool
A fascinating film tour into the heart of Edwardian Liverpool.
Over the Tay Bridge on an Express Train (1901)
Non-Fiction19011 minsSilent Location: Tay Bridge
A journey across the well-known Scottish railway bridge, filmed from the engine front.
Panorama of Calcutta, India, From the River Ganges.
One of the earliest films to be shot in India apparently shows the Calcutta ghats - or does it?
Panoramic View of the Morecambe Sea Front (1901)
Non-Fiction19017 minsSilent Location: Morecambe
Crystal-clear views of town, sands, sea, tourists and locals at the Lancashire resort.
Phantom Railway Ride
Stunning glimpses of Hong Kong at the dawn of the 20th century through this roller-coaster ride on the vertiginous Peak Tram
Phantom Ride on the Furness Railway (1901)
Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent Location: Furness Abbey
A driver's view of the Furness Railway through Furness Abbey Tunnel and Station.
Pope Leo XIII Carried through the Vatican Loggia on His Way to the Sistine Chapel
Pope Leo travelling through the Vatican, extending his blessing well beyond
Thames River Scenery - Panorama of the Crowded River
Non-Fiction18991 minsSilent Location: Henley-on-Thames
Don your straw boater and join Victorians at play as you potter down the river at Henley-on-Thames
Rochdale Tram Ride (1905)
Non-Fiction19055 minsSilent Location: Rochdale
Splendid views of Edwardian Rochdale from the front of a tram after a recent dusting of snow.
S.S. Saxonia in Liverpool (1901)
Non-Fiction19012 minsSilent Location: Liverpool
All ashore! Passengers disembark and crew offload after a long Atlantic crossing.
View from an Engine Front - Barnstaple
Non-Fiction18982 minsSilent Location: Barnstaple
A 'phantom ride' along a fondly remembered Devon railway, crossing the distinctive Taw Bridge into Barnstaple on the way to Ilfracombe
Pope Leo XIII Leaving Carriage and Being Ushered Into Garden
One of a rare and revealing series of films capturing the first moving images of the Pontiff. Here the Pope leaves his carriage and enters a garden, his rheumatism clearly visible, providing insight into Leo's state of health at the time.
Trip to North Wales on the St Elvies (1902)
Non-Fiction190214 minsSilent Location: Liverpool
A steamship tour along the picturesque coast from Liverpool to the Menai Straits.
Scene on Mr. N. Smit's Ostrich Farm, Impanzi, Natal, South Africa
A break from the Boer War as a travelling film camera brings footage of an exotic feeding time back to Britain
Through Miller's Dale (Near Buxton, Derbyshire) Midland Railway
A gorgeous ride through one of the Peak District's most stunning spots
Menai Bridge - The Irish Day Mail from Euston Entering the Tubular Bridge over the Menai Straits
Stirring image of late-Victorian rail