The UK is famous for its elegant stately homes, grand castles, and picturesque villages – all of which provide the perfect setting for filming locations, from Downton Abbey’s Highclere Castle, to Pride and Prejudice’s Chatsworth. There’s nothing quite like visiting the location of your favourite film or TV show and there are even nationwide coach trips that provided organized tours. So we’ve put together a list of some of the UK’s best film locations for you to visit:
Highclere Castle, Hampshire
Enjoy a truly unique opportunity to visit Highclere Castle, filming location of the much loved Downton Abbey TV series. You can visit one of England’s most beautiful Victorian castles, walk in the footsteps of your favourite characters and explore what it is like behind the scenes of the ‘real Downton Abbey.’ This impressive building has been the home of the Earls of Carnarvon and their predecessors since the late seventeenth century. The castle has recently played host to the Downton cast again, for the recording of the highly-anticipated Downton Abbey film, which is due to be released in September 2019.
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Any Harry Potter fan will enjoy a day out to Alnwick Castle. Scenes from the first two Harry Potter films were filmed at this stunning location, including the famous broomstick practice scene from The Philosopher’s Stone, which was filmed right next to the Outer Bailey. The courtyards and gates were also used to film the students walking between classes. You can get a real taste of Hogwarts life by taking part in one of the world-famous broomstick training sessions, on the very spot where Harry had his first flying lesson. The interior of this magnificent building has been lavishly decorated in a luxurious Italian Renaissance style, with richly carved, painted and gilded ceilings, sumptuous silk wall coverings, and famous works of art. The castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England, behind Windsor Castle, and open to the public throughout the summer.
Kenwood House, London
This beautiful mansion was the location of a famous scene from Notting Hill – where Hugh Grant is reunited with Julia Roberts’ character Anna Scott as she filmed a Henry James adaptation at Kenwood House. The elegant white house, run by English Heritage, is free for everyone to enjoy and features a world-class art collection, a stunning garden designed by Arabella Lennox-Boyd, and a lovely café – the perfect place to relax and spend a sunny afternoon.
Lyme Park, Cheshire
This grand building will be instantly recognised by any Austen fan, as the home of Mr Darcy and backdrop for Colin Firth’s emergence from the lake in the 1995 BBC version Pride and Prejudice. According to The National Trust – “The scene cemented Firth’s sex symbol status and turned Lyme Park into one of TV’s most iconic backdrops.” Besides spotting the familiar scenery, you can explore inside the main house, visit the gift shops and children’s play area, and take refreshments at the restaurant or Timber Yard coffee shop. The glorious Grade I listed building is surrounded by beautiful gardens, moorland and a 1,400 acre deer park, making it perfect for walks, park runs and cycling.
Austen fans can also visit one of the grandest houses in England and stand in the location of the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. The exterior and interior of this beautiful building were used to film several famous scenes – including the sculpture room, grand staircase and regency ball. The home of the Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth is a beautiful place to visit. The late Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, completely revitalised the estate with spectacular gardens and parkland, art installations in the house, and even an organic farm.
Castle Howard, Yorkshire
House and Garden recommend a visit to Castle Howard – “It has been the frequent location for films: it also stood in for Pemberley in the BBC’s 2013 Death Comes to Pemberley, and interiors were used as a stand in for Kensington Palace in ITV’s Victoria. But it achieved real fame as the location of Brideshead in the 1981 adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.” Castle Howard then served as Brideshead again in the 2008 version. Generations of the Howard family have welcomed visitors to Castle Howard, know as one of the great palaces of Europe, for over 300 years. Today, it is part of the Treasure Houses of England group of heritage houses and offers visitors diverse landscape gardens, awe-inspiring architecture, interiors and world-renowned collections.