If you’re a fan of Jane Austen, you’ll be enchanted by the latest film adaptation of one of her beloved novels, Emma. Directed by Autumn de Wilde and starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Josh O’Connor and Bill Nighy, the movie is available to stream now and is chock full of stately homes, villages and parks to inspire Austen fans everywhere who are dreaming of Britain.
Situated just outside the seaside town of Brighton and within the grounds of South Downs National Park is Firle Place, the current home of the 8th Viscount Gage. In the film, it serves as the interior and exterior of Emma’s home, Hartfield. Firle Place has remained in the Gage family since the 1500s. Surrounding the house there are 300 acres of grounds, including formal gardens and churches. There's also Charleston Farmhouse, which was the home of the Bloomsbury Set (a group of pioneering artists and writers including the likes of Virginia Woolf and John Maynard Keynes) in the early 20th century.
Wilton House is not new to the spotlight, having played a part in season 3 of Netflix’s The Crown as some of the interiors of Buckingham Palace and as the interior of Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice. The house returns for another Jane Austen adaptation in Emma as Donwell Abbey, also known as Mr. Knightley’s estate. Home to the Earls of Pembroke since 1544, Wilton House is known for its incredible 17th-century interiors and extensive art collection.
Located just 30 minutes outside of Oxford, the land surrounding Kingston Bagpuize House was granted to Henry de Ferrars in 1066, but it wasn’t until 1542 that the first manor house was built. Used as the interior and exterior of Mrs. Goddard’s school in Emma, the entrance hall and drawing room also featured in seasons 5 and 6 of Downtown Abbey.
Chavenage House features as Randalls, the neighboring estate to Hartfield, and the home of Mr and Mrs Weston in Emma. The interiors of this Elizabethan home in the Cotswolds not only make an appearance in the upcoming movie, but also in several other films and TV shows, including Poldark. Built in the 16th century, Chavenage House has been the real life home of the Lowsley-Williams family since 1891.
A stone’s throw from Chavenage House lie two other Emma filming locations in the Cotswolds - the village of Lower Slaughter, which doubles as Highbury Market Square, and the Slaughters Village Hall on Copsehill Road, the interior and exterior of which served as a shop in the film. Village highlights include the luxurious country house hotel, The Slaughters Manor House, The Old Mill, a museum, shop and riverside café, and the quaint villages and rolling hills of the surrounding countryside.
When Jane Austen wrote about Emma visiting Box Hill, she was referencing a real life location popular with visitors during her time and even today. In the latest Emma adaptation, the scenes for this part of the novel are filmed at Leith Hill, the highest point in south-east England and just 30 minutes south of the real Box Hill. Leith Hill Tower offers wonderful views of the surrounding Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, while nearby Leith Hill Place is known for being the childhood home of English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, whose great uncle, Charles Darwin, conducted experiments on the grounds.
St Paul’s Walden is a village south of Hitchin that is famously known for its royal connection. A Grade II listed building, St Paul’s Walden Bury was home to the Bowes-Lyons, the family of The Queen Mother who grew up in the village. She was baptised at All Saints Church, a mile away from the home, in 1900 and it’s this 15th-century venue’s interior that becomes Highbury Parish Church in Emma.