As fans dig into Netflix’s latest period film, Persuasion, starring Dakota Johnson as Jane Austen’s Anne Elliot, The Independent has taken the opportunity to round up a selection of stately homes from film and TV that you can visit in real life.
Stately homes have played a big part in the entertainment world as producers seek to recreate upper class British glamour, from Downton Abbey to Bridgerton.
England boasts over 3,000 stately homes dating back to the Middle Ages, but only some of them are available to visit. Here are a few of our favourites.
Persuasion – Ammerdown House
Ammerdown House in Somerset is used as Camden Place (the Elliot residence in Bath) in Netflix’s new Jane Austen adaptation starring Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot. Her family home, Kellynch Hall, was filmed at the private residence of Trafalgar Park in Salisbury and is not open to the public. Ammerdown, on the other hand, is open as a retreat centre where guests can stay, unwind, or host meetings and functions.
Bridgerton – Ranger’s House
Nestled on the boundary of Greenwich Park and Blackheath, Ranger’s House in London is instantly recognisable as the Bridgertons’ family house. In reality, the building houses The Wernher Collection, an art collection amassed by the 19th-century businessman, Sir Julius Wernher, boasting 700 works of art from the Renaissance, Dutch Old Masters and French tapestries. It’s open Wednesdays to Sundays to the public.
Downton Abbey – Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle in Hampshire might be the most iconic stately home in British popular culture thanks to its longtime usage in the Downton Abbey series and its subsequent films. The enormous home is currently owned by the Earl of Carnarvon whose family live in part of the building while the rest is used for filming and is open to the public for much of the summer. The castle was also used in the 1990s adaptation of Jeeves and Wooster starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry as well as scenes in Eyes Wide Shut (1999) and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991).
The Dark Knight Rises – Wollaton Hall
Wollaton Hall in Nottingham is used to portray Wayne Manor in Christopher Nolan’s third instalment of his Batman trilogy. The Elizabethan country house plays a noticeable part at the beginning of the film, when Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is introduced, as the setting for the garden party scene. Wollaton was chosen because it resembles Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire, which was used in the first Chistopher Nolan film, Batman Begins, during which Wayne Manor is burnt to the ground. Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne promises to rebuild the manor, “Just the way it was, brick for brick.” In real life, the manor is home to the city of Nottingham’s Natural History Museum and is open daily to members of the public.
Harry Potter – Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle in Northumberland starred as the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the 2001 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and the 2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In particular the castle’s Outer Bailey is recognisable as the area where Harry and his fellow students learned to fly broomsticks with Madam Hooch (Zoe Wanamaker). The castle is open to the public from March to October and hosts a variety of events including “wand making demonstrations”.
Pride and Prejudice – Chatsworth House
In Pride and Prejudice (2005), Chatsworth was used as Pemberley, the residence of Mr Darcy. It is believed that Jane Austen may have based her idea of Pemberley on Chatsworth House and written the novel while in nearby Bakewell. In reality, the Derbyshire Dales residence is home to the Devonshire family, and has been passed down through 16 generations. Visitors may recognise the grand staircase and ceiling of the Painted Hall where Lizzie and the Gardiners start their tour of Pemberley and the Sculpture Gallery from the scene where Lizzie Bennet sees the bust of Mr Darcy. The house, garden and farmyard are open from late March until early January each year.
Brideshead Revisited – Castle Howard
Castle Howard reprised its role as the Marchmain’s family home in 2008 when Brideshead Revisited (2008) starring Ben Whishaw, Matthew Goode and Hayley Atwell was filmed there. They took over from the iconic 1981 TV series cast of Jeremy Irons, Anthony Andrews and Diana Quick. The stately home in North Yorkshire has been the home of the Carlisle branch of the Howard family for more than 300 years and is open daily to the public.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – Hatfield House
Hatfield House in Hertfordshire has played host to a number of famous films over the years, most notably guising as Croft Manor in Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider. The Jacobean mansion also appeared as Wayne Manor in 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns. Shakespear in Love, The King’s Speech and recently The Favourite also all filmed there. The house is currently the home of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury but is open to visitors from 19 May – 29 August while the park and gardens are open until 25 September.
Goldfinger – Stoke Park
Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire became the UK’s first country club in 1908. The impressive estate’s golf course was used for the epic showdown between Sean Connery’s Bond and Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), which apparently inspired Connery’s lifelong love affair with golf. The sports estate is currently undergoing renovations and is expected to reopen in summer 2023.
Notting Hill – Kenwood House
Notting Hill fans will recognise Kenwood House, nestled at the top of Hampstead Heath, from the scene where William (Hugh Grant) visits Anna (Julia Roberts) at the site of the Henry James movie shoot. The imposing manor is an English Heritage site and open to the public free of charge.
Atonement – Stokesay Court
Stokesay Court in Shropshire was the principle filming location for Atonement starring Kiera Knightley and James McAvoy. Director Joe Wright revealed he found the stately home while flicking through copies of Country Life magazine, ending a year-long search for the perfect set.