If you thought Britain’s stately homes were boring, stuffy, and obsolete, think again. As seen on the big screen, our historic manors have been used as film locations in a huge variety of art house flicks, period dramas, and popular blockbusters.
Feeling star-struck? Here’s a selection of Britain’s most impressive stately homes for film fans.
Famously featured in Notting Hill (1999) as a film location within a film, Kenwood House is an iconic English Heritage property situated in Hampstead, London.
It was also used as a location in the recent Belle (2013), which tells the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, a young mixed race woman who was raised as an aristocratic lady at Kenwood House during the late 18th century.
The film premiered officially at the recent Toronto Film Festival, and will appear in cinemas in the UK and US this coming spring.
Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, is the only non-royal residence in the UK to be classified as a palace – perhaps because it played host to queen of the silver screen, Emily Blunt, for a short while during her filming of The Young Victoria (2009).
Take a tour around the imposing Baroque architecture inside this monumental stately home, then have a picnic in the oasis-like gardens and drink in the grandeur.
Another location used in The Young Victoria to represent Kensington Palace is Ham House. This magnificent Stuart house and National Trust property in Richmond, London, also featured as the boarding school in Never Let Me Go (2010), and more recently in the film adaptation of Anna Karenina (2012).
Everyone knows that stately homes mean period drama, and nowhere is this truer than Wilton House in Wiltshire. An extraordinary family home which has been lived in continuously since 1542, this location has been used in a number of top period films, including Sense and Sensibility (1995), The Madness of King George (1994), Mrs Brown (1997), and Pride and Prejudice (2005).
Not technically a film but worth a mention for the sheer celebrity of the thing, the world-famous television series Downton Abbey is filmed at Highclere Castle.
Situated in Newbury, West Berkshire, this stunning Jacobethan-style mansion was designed by architect Charles Barry during the 19th century as a home for the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon.
If you want to visit and take a tour around the castle and grounds, be sure to book ahead: this is a sell-out affair.
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