With their colossal structures, dazzling interiors and immaculately groomed gardens – stately homes attract keen interest from travellers and filmmakers alike. Formerly aristocratic homes, a step inside takes you to another world – making them some of the most extravagant and memorable movie locations in the UK. To mark the release of the ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ movie, we reveal the most iconic stately homes film settings. See if you can recognise them!
Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey)
Hampshire’s Highclere Castle provides the spectacular setting for large chunks of Downton Abbey filming. Avid fans will know this enormous place and its 300 rooms almost like the back of their hand. 1,000 acres of unfolding parkland complete the estate and give centre stage to many scenes in both the series and consequent film sequel. Expect your jaw to drop to the floor here.
Alnwick Castle (Harry Potter)
Remember Harry, Ron and Hermione walking through cobbled cloisters? A Harry Potter film viewing is full of nostalgia and good feeling. Today the films rank among the most successful of all time. But all it began in Alnwick Castle in Northumberland for the filming of The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets. Easily one of the most significant movie locations in the UK, Alnwick hosts the first ever quidditch lesson of the Harry Potter franchise on screen.
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Chatsworth House (Pride and Prejudice)
Nestled in leafy Peak district, Chatsworth House is one to visit for Pride and Prejudice lovers. The 1995 Jane Austen TV series and highly acclaimed 2005 film (starring Keira Knightly) is given life on screen here. Dating back to the 1600s, this stately home also holds one of the most glamorous and historic art collections in the UK and makes for an atmospheric day out. Feel yourself step into Jane Austen’s novel here.
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Wrotham Park (The Crown)
Although not a film, it would be an injustice to omit Wrotham Park from our list. It provides the backdrop for tension-packed, scenes in historical drama ‘The Crown’ where it doubles as Queen Elizabeth II’s Private Audience Room, where The Queen holds weekly meets with the Prime Minster. Dating back to 1754, this Hertfordshire stately home radiates a royal feel that gives the series its splendour. Notable features include its 2500 acre estate of blooming British countryside. You can also spot it in films Gosford Park (2001), Vanity Fair (2004), Jane Eyre (2011), Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014).
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Stoke Park (Bridget Jones Diary)
Thoughts of Bridget Jones Diary brings loud giggles and images of Stoke Park in bright colour. Dotted in Buckinghamshire (near Windsor), Bridget tried to fit into the glitz and glamour here. The iconic Bridge Jones lake seen was filmed on this marvellous state. Colourful meadows, roaming animals and old-school countryside bring the romance factor. Stoke park was also used in Goldfinger (1964), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and Layer Cake (2004).
Kenwood House (Notting Hill)
Welcome one of the most hidden movie locations in the UK. This gem in Hampstead Heath sits right under Londoners’ noses, but feels a world away from city life. It is most widely recognisable from Notting Hill (1999) when William Thatched (Hugh Grant) tries to win back Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) during her filming of Henry James. Dating back to the 17th-century, the house ranks high on bucket lists for historians and film fanatics alike.
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Stokesay Court (Atonement)
Set in spectacular Shropshire countryside, Stokesay Court gives you goosebumps. The Tallis family home in the film Atonement (2007), it’s stars in almost every scene. It’s wide corridors, intricate stone carvings and sprawling gardens stand out. The gorgeous library features in a scene between Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley) and Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) that all fans will remember. Visit here to transport yourself to another world and admire the daffodils in brilliant bloom.
Have you visited one of these film locations? Let us know in the comments below.