The much-anticipated Downton Abbey film hits our screens in September, continuing the storyline following the extended Crawley family and their servants, and we're looking forward to revisiting their lives in the many opulent homes and manors dotted throughout Britain. Britain’s impressive stately homes have been lighting up the silver screen for years, here are a few of our favorites:
Highclere Castle, Hampshire
We can’t talk about stately homes and the Crawley family without mentioning Highclere Castle, which is used as the main filming location for Downton Abbey.
The imposing Victorian castle was always destined to double as Downton, as writer Julian Fellowes had it in mind as he wrote the series, and will now star in the full-length movie premiering in September 2019. The award-winning series isn’t Highclere’s first brush with fame – it also appeared in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut in 1999.
Getting there: Highclere Castle is a two-hour journey from central London.
Chatsworth House, Peak District
Chatsworth is one of Britain’s most magnificent stately homes, nestled within 1,000 acres of parkland in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. It’s believed that Jane Austen actually based her idea of Pemberley House on Chatsworth as she wrote Pride and Prejudice in the nearby town of Bakewell.
In 2005, Jane’s vision was realized as Chatsworth became Mr Darcy’s residence in the film adaptation of the book. The house and gardens have also starred in The Duchess, starring Kiera Knightley, and the 2010 horror film, The Wolfman.
Getting there: Chatsworth House is a three-and-a-half hour journey from central London.
Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
This extravagant stately home has quite a lot to boast about. Not only has it starred in several blockbusters, it’s also a World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.
The magnificent Baroque architecture, stunning interiors and Capability Brown-landscaped gardens have made Blenheim the perfect setting for movies like 2009’s The Young Victoria and Gulliver’s Travels, where it starred as a Lilliputian castle. It also made appearances in movies including 2015's Cinderella and Spectre and most recently Transformers: The Last Knight in 2017.
Getting there: Blenheim Palace is a two-hour journey from Central London.
Hatfield House, Hertfordshire
What do Shakespeare, Sherlock and Batman have in common? They’ve all graced the big screen alongside the magnificent Hatfield House.
You might recognize the beautiful 17th-century Jacobean mansion as Wayne Manor in 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns, Lara Croft’s mansion in Tomb Raider and the backdrop for the Greenwich fireworks in Shakespeare in Love.
It also appeared in two Oscar-winning and nominated films - The King’s Speech and recentlyThe Favourite, for which Olivia Colman won best actress. Both films follow the lives of royals, and Hatfield has real-life royal connections: it was the childhood home of our Tudor queen, Elizabeth I.
Getting there: Hatfield House is a one-and-a-half-hour journey from Central London.
Englefield House, Berkshire
This grand mansion is an A-lister among Britain’s stately homes. Englefield House and its stunning 400-year-old gardens starred as Charles Xavier’s home in X-Men: First Class, and Miss Haversham’s house in the 2012 adaptation of Great Expectations, starring Helena Bonham Carter. Scenes from The King’s Speech and Woody Allen’s Match Point were also filmed on the grounds.
Getting there: Englefield House is a one-hour journey from central London.
Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire
This luxurious Buckinghamshire country club has been featured in some of Britain’s biggest films – from Bond to Bridget Jones. It’s on Stoke’s famous Championship golf course that Sean Connery’s 007 takes on Goldfinger in cinema’s most famous 18 holes.
And when the dastardly Daniel Cleaver whisks Bridget Jones away on a romantic minibreak, Stoke Park is their destination. The club also features in great British gangster movies Layer Cake and RocknRolla.
Getting there: Stoke Park is a one-hour journey from Central London.
Kenwood House, Hampstead
Notting Hill fans will recognize the magnificent Kenwood House as the backdrop to the Henry James film being shot by Anna Scott, but it also appeared in 1999’s Mansfield Park and 2007’s Venus.
It may look like a grand countryside estate, but Kenwood is actually nestled on the edge of north London’s leafy Hampstead Heath, and is one of the capital’s hidden gems.
Getting there: Kenwood House is a 45-minute journey from central London.
Harewood House, Yorkshire
Designed by Yorkshire architect John Carr and with furniture and landscaping by the legendary Thomas Chippendale and Capability Brown, Harewood House is another regular on our screens, and it’s easy to see why! Its sweeping lawns, flower-filled terraces and Georgian interiors have acted as the backdrop to programes including At Home with Braithwaites and ITV’s Victoria, making it the perfect stop if you’re a fan en route to Yorkshire.
Getting there: Harewood House is a four-hour-15-minute journey from central London.