Netflix TV drama The Crown has reached millions of viewers worldwide already – an audience that continues to grow. With budgets estimated at £100m per series, filming has taken place at several of Britain’s most glorious locations. Join a local Blue Badge guide to explore some of the people, palaces, stately homes, castles and churches that feature in the programmes.
Ely Cathedral replaced Westminster Abbey for the 1947 wedding of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire is one of Britain’s loveliest pieces of religious architecture. The current cathedral dates to 1083 and as well as appearing in The Crown it has featured in the 2007 movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age and The Other Boleyn Girl, starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson.
Lancaster House in London stands in for interiors of Buckingham Palace in the first two series. Built in 1825 for the Duke of York and Albany, it has depicted this famous royal residence in other films, including in 2009 Young Victoria (starring Emily Blunt) and 2010 Oscar winner The King’s Speech.
Waddeston Manor – a day trip from London – is a Neo-Renaissance masterpiece built between 1874 and 1889 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. It attracts some 400,000 visitors each year and features in The Crown as Buckingham Palace (exterior shots). It also stood in for Buckingham Palace in 2006 film The Queen – with Dame Helen Mirren in the title role – and also has appeared in Downton Abbey as fictional country pile Haxby Park.
Wilton House – in south west England near Salisbury, just a couple of hours from London or Southampton – is a spectacular structure which has been the home of the Earls of Pembroke for more than 400 years. Its history goes further back with a priory on the site as early as 871AD. Wilton is another one of the Buckingham Palace stand-ins, but it also features in the 2005 film re-boot of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice (with Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet) when its interior was used as the drawing room of Mr Darcy’s Pemberley. It also featured in the 1994 film The Madness of King George, where it was a worthy representation of Windsor Castle. The closing credits of Rowan Atkinson’s 1986 BBC TV comedy Blackadder II – which sees an Elizabethan minstrel wandering through an ornate garden singing abusive songs about the titular character – was shot at Wilton.
Woodchester Mansion. This abandoned property in Gloucestershire dates to the mid-19th century. Construction began in 1858, but by 1870 the family behind it had run out of cash and it remains much as the builders left it when they downed tools. For The Crown it plays the part of Gordonstoun, the school in Moray in north-eastern Scotland where both the Duke of Edinburgh and his son, Charles, Prince of Wales were educated.
The Tudor manor of Loseley Park in Surrey was used as the home of Lord Mountbatten. The Art Deco Eltham Palace in south-eat London features as the Queen’s quarters of the Royal Yacht Britannia while Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire appears as the exterior for Windsor Castle.
Ardverikie Estate in Scotland is a 19th century baronial mansion. It began life as a hunting lodge in the 1840s, but was subsequently expanded into a striking assortment of grey-stone towers. Located in Inverness, it plays the part of the Queen’s private house Balmoral in the TV series. It was also used in Mrs Brown, the 1997 movie which saw Dame Judi Dench earn an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a later-years Queen Victoria and her close yet ambiguous relationship with Scottish ghillie, John Brown played by Sir Billy Connolly.
Book a private tour with a Blue Badge guide for The Crown themed tour, to include a selection of filming locations and the actual places they stood in for. Follow the continuing story of Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family with your expert Blue Badge guide.