Country homes and rugged landscapes make the perfect settings for our favourite TV series and films. From Downton Abbey to Game of Thrones, marvel at the wonder of Britain on the silver screen…
1. Highclere Castle: Downton Abbey
Family home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, and used as a convalescent hospital during the First World War, the 5,000-acre estate now regularly receives up to 1,200 visitors per day, mainly thanks to its alter-ego as TV’s Downton Abbey.
2. Royal Naval College, Greenwich: Les Misérables
Set on the banks of the Thames in Greenwich, the splendid Royal Naval College Greenwich is a favourite of Hollywood, and recently appeared in the film of the musical Les Misérables where it was used for the iconic barricades scenes.
3. 21st century London: Sherlock
The BBC’s Sherlock Holmes series has won plaudits both in Britain and abroad and made an international star of its lead actor Benedict Cumberbatch and his sidekick Martin Freeman. From his home at 221B Baker Street (actually 87 North Gower Street, near Euston Station) to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, bustling 21st century London is the perfect setting for the lightning fast deduction skills of Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes.
4. The Historic Dockyard Chatham: Mr Selfridge
The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Kent is where the exterior shots of the popular period drama Mr Selfridge are filmed. It’s the story of the American businessman Henry Gordon Selfridge who founded London’s iconic department store in the 1910s. The Kent dockyards are a popular Hollywood location, popping up in Les Misérables and the Sherlock Holmes film starring Robert Downey Jr.
5. Northern Ireland: Game of Thrones
To Game of Thrones fans, Castle Ward in County Down, Northern Ireland, is better known as Stark Castle in Winterfell, home to the Stark clan lead by the indomitable Ned Stark (played by Sean Bean). Meanwhile the Iron Islands and Pyke are represented by Ballintoy Harbour, situated between the famous Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.
6. Chatsworth House, Derbyshire: Pride & Prejudice
In this 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley as Jane Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen as Darcy, the elegant country home of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire doubles as Pemberley, Darcy’s grand residence. It’s said that Jane Austen drew inspiration from Chatsworth House on her visits to the region.
7. Ely Cathedral: The King’s Speech
Founded in the year 673, Ely Cathedral stood in for Westminster Abbey in The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. The cathedral is filled with Gothic portraits by Henry Le Strange while the magnificent timber octagon on top of the tower’s ceiling is one of the greatest feats of medieval engineering.
8. Castle Howard, Yorkshire: Brideshead Revisited
The magnificent 18th-century Castle Howard and its grounds (see the Temple of the Four Winds above) has been home to the Howard family for the last three centuries and is remembered as the setting both for the 1980s TV adaptation and the 2008 version of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.
9. Stonehenge: Dr Who
Created between 2,000 and 3,000 years ago, it’s no surprise that producers looked to Stonehenge when filming a 2010 episode of the popular BBC sci-fi series Dr Who. In the episode ‘The Pandorica Opens’, the mystical stones double up as Pandorica, an underground prison said to contain the most terrifying being in the universe.
10. Osterley Park, London: The Dark Knight Rises
While action fans were marvelling at the Batmobile and the Oscar-winning performance of the late actor Heath Ledger, it was easy to miss the appearance of this splendid park and house in west London. That’s because unlike most of our other top 10 locations, Osterley was used as the interior to Wayne Manor, its wood floors and huge portraits, the perfect setting for multi-millionaire Bruce Wayne.