Bridgerton-worthy stately homes
Bridgerton will soon be back on our screens for the first time since it stole our attention over the Christmas period in 2020.
The hit series, set in Regency-era England, takes place in a time of architectural achievement and cultural refinement; a period where high society flourished, and opulence set the tone for everything from upper-class soirees to extravagant mansions.
To celebrate the return of the Netflix smash hit later this month, Audley Villages takes a look at the 10 most photogenic and beautiful stately homes in the UK, ahead of season two’s airing on March 25.
First up is Oxfordshire-based Blenheim Palace, a sprawling and impressive countryside residence that boasts no less than 187 rooms. The palace was built between 1705 and 1722(1) and has made 35 film and TV appearances, including in James Bond film Spectre and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix(2). Despite having ‘palace’ in its name, the magnificent property is not a royal home, although it is often considered equally – if not more – grand. The palace’s beauty has not been lost on those with an Instagram account, with Blenheim Palace having been tagged on the photo sharing app 176,000 times – more than any other stately home.
Nestled in the Derbyshire Dales, Chatsworth House boasts 25 rooms to explore and is famous for its collection of art, which contains work from 4,000 years ago including ancient Roman and Egyptian sculptures as well as masterpieces by Rembrandt, Reynolds and Veronese(3). The stately home, which first started being constructed in 1552, has featured in 32 films and TV shows, including Pride and Prejudice and Peaky Blinders(4). It has been tagged on Instagram by snappers 122,000 times.
North Yorkshire-based Castle Howard may indeed look familiar to Bridgerton viewers, as in 2019 the house doubled as the Duke of Hasting’s country home in the Netflix TV show(5). The grand home took more than 100 years to build, with construction first beginning in 1699. The estate it is built on is estimated to be around 8,800 acres, comprising of the house, farmland, woodland and parkland(6).
Castle Howard has made 29 film and TV appearances, most famously in Brideshead in 1981 and Brideshead Revisited in 2008(7), and has been tagged on Instagram 58,800 times.
National Trust-owned Lyme Park is located just on the edge of the Peak District near Cheshire. It is an area of outstanding beauty; the 16th century stately home is surrounded by formal gardens and a deer park. Lyme Park(8) has appeared 19 times in film and TV shows, including in the 1995 BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice, where the exterior hall was used as Pemberley, the seat of Mr Darcy. The building and its grounds have been tagged in 55,000 pictures on Instagram.
Dubbed ‘the real Downton’, Highclere House was constructed in the early 17th century but renovated between 1839 and 1842. The stately home boasts some 300 rooms and sits on 6,000 acres in Hampshire and was used as the set for the fictional Downton Abbey(9). Highclere Castle has made a total 10 appearances in film and TV shows and has been tagged on Instagram 53,100 times.
Picturesque Kenwood House is located on London’s Hampstead Heath. The original property was built around 1616 and remodelled in 1780. Today it is famous for its art collection, which includes Rembrandt’s ‘Portrait with Two Circles’ and works by Vermeer, Constable(10). The home has been featured in 10 films and TV shows, including Notting Hill(11), starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. It has been tagged on Instagram 40,500 times.
Derbyshire-based Hardwick Hall was first built in the late 1500s for Bess of Hardwick, one of the richest women of her time and friend of Elizabeth I. Now owned by the National Trust, the home has made four film and TV appearances, including in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. It has been tagged on Instagram 36,200 times.
Hertfordshire-based Hatfield House has made 50 TV and film appearances, including in Angelina Jolie’s two Tomb Raider films, when the house was used as Lara Croft’s residence . It has been tagged on Instagram 30,400 times. First built in 1611, the house boasts stunning gardens in the front and is a prime example of Jacobean architecture. Today, Hatfield House is home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury.
Stamford-based Burghley House took more than three decades to build in the 1500s, and was at the time owned by Sir William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I. The magnificent house is one of the largest surviving houses of the sixteenth century . It has made 21 film and TV appearances including in The Da Vinci Code and in season 4 of The Crown, where the exterior doubled as Windsor Castle for several shots. Some 28,400 snappers have tagged the immense property on Instagram.
Wiltshire’s Lacock Abbey is another star of Downton Abbey and has even stood as Hogwarts for two of the Harry Potter films, counting 21 firm and TV appearances in total. The more than 800-year-old Abbey is the oldest property on this list, having been first built in 1232. Its original artifacts are still present, and so those visiting are barred from using camera flashes . Nevertheless, the ancient building has found its way onto Instagram 22,400 times, and modern-day snappers are in good company – the building is famed for being the birthplace of photography.
Read more property and design inspiration from the team at Audley Villages.
1. Blenheim Palace - UNESCO World Heritage Centre
2. Interesting Facts about Blenheim Palace (ordnancesurvey.co.uk)
3. House (chatsworth.org)
4. Chatsworth on film
5. Castle Howard on Film - A place like no other
6. Castle Howard - Country estate near York, with property, farming and forestry - A place like no other
7. Great British Houses: Castle Howard – Everything You Need to Know about the Real Brideshead (anglotopia.net)
8. Lyme Park - History and Facts | History Hit
9. Downton Abbey Filming Locations | Where is Downton Abbey Filmed? | Alnwick Castle
10. Kenwood House - History and Facts | History Hit
11. Kenwood house | Britain in the movies: the UK filming locations you must visit - Travel (telegraph.co.uk)
12. Bess of Hardwick | English Heritage (english-heritage.org.uk)
13. Our most popular film and TV locations | National Trust
14. Hatfield House Facts for Kids (kiddle.co)
15. History - Hatfield House (hatfield-house.co.uk)
16. Burghley House | The House
17. What has been filmed at Burghley House? Blockbusters and period masterpieces at the stately house - Cambridgeshire Live (cambridge-news.co.uk)
18. Filming location | Lacock | National Trust
19. Lacock Abbey Tour & Facts | National Trust Day Out - THE HADWINS
20. Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock & the Invention of Photography (britainexpress.com)