Britain’s Stately Movie Sets

bsldnprkMany of Britain’s stately homes and prominent buildings have been used as film locations.  Following is a list of just some of them:

Ashridge Forest, Hertfordshire
Les Misérables (2012)

Based on the long-running stage musical and classic novel by Victor Hugo, a number of scenes from Les Mis were shot in the huge expanse of woodland at Ashridge.  Frithsden Beeches, which contains a number of magnificent old beeches, including a 400 year-old tree with a 25 metre span that’s no stranger to the limelight having starred in Sleepy Hollow and Harry Potter. It was covered with about 1,000 square metres of c90 (fake snow) to give it a wintry feel.

Antony House, Cornwall
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
This classically beautiful house is a beguiling mix of the formal and informal, and was famously brought back to life in the adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton. Filming took place over nine days back in September 2008, transforming the grounds and creating a ‘mini village’ of catering trucks and hair and make-up tents.

Basildon Park, Berkshire
Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Back in 2005 the Palladian mansion played a starring role in the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley. The house was the setting for one of the film’s sumptuous ballroom scenes, which take place in Basildon’s dining room. With both the exterior of the house and many of the first floor rooms used in the lavish production, Basildon will be instantly recognisable to fans.

Frensham Ponds, Surrey
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Frensham Ponds in Surrey took centre stage in the film Snow White and the Huntsman, a Gothic re-imagining of the classic Brother’s Grimm fairytale, Snow White. One of the most dramatic battle scenes took place at the childhood home of Snow White, a quaint fishing village on the shores of a lake. This village was in fact built on the shores of Frensham Ponds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), no less.

Knole, Kent
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

The cast and crew from Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows came to Knole, transforming the Stone Court into the courtyard of a Swiss Castle for the arrival of Professor Moriarty, arch-enemy of Robert Downey Jr.’s famous detective.

One of the most popular Trust film locations, Johnny Depp flew in to film crucial scenes for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. While in 2008, it took centre stage for the adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s bestselling novel, The Other Boleyn Girl, the story of the Boleyn sisters, Anne and Mary, as they competed for love of King Henry VIII. In reality, Knole has a link to King Henry himself. He was so impressed by the beauty of Knole that in 1538 he forced Thomas Cranmer, his Archbishop of Canterbury, to hand the property over to him.

Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (2001)

The Abbey at the heart of Lacock Village has experienced its fair share of the limelight. Founded in 1232 and converted into a country house in the 1540s, the atmospheric monastic rooms include medieval cloisters, a sacristy and chapter house. The Abbey’s cloisters and side rooms were transformed into the magical classrooms of the famous ‘Hogwarts’, while the location was also used for Harry’s discovery of the mystical ‘Mirror of Erised’. The Abbey was also immortalised as the beautiful chambers of Catherine of Aragon for filming of The Other Boleyn Girl.

Osterley, London
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Chosen for its large rooms and grand interiors, the production crew working on The Dark Knight Rises spent two months ‘dressing’ Osterley as Wayne Manor, before the cast, including Christian Bale, Michael Caine and the rest of the crew, arrived for a week of filming. Wayne manor was burnt down in an earlier film so director Christopher Nolan was looking for a stunning period setting to act as the new Wayne Manor. Like many visitors, he fell for Osterley’s spectacular interiors, including the 130 foot Long Gallery, the entrance hall, the grand staircase and the breakfast room. But perhaps the most exciting location he picked was the library where, hidden behind a door in a bookcase, lies Osterley’s real secret passage, which became the entrance to Batman’s infamous bat cave. A much used filming location, other examples include the Burke & Hare, Gulliver’s Travels, The Young Victoria, Edge of Love and Miss Potter.

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