The UK

The UK's best stately homes as seen on screen

Julie 25 April 2024

The UK has produced some amazing and award-winning film and TV stars including Daniel Craig, Kate Winslet and Tom Hardy but did you know that many of our stately homes have also had a starring role on screen?

From blockbuster films like Spectre, The Dark Knight and Harry Potter to period dramas like Downton Abbey and Bridgerton, British stately homes and castles have been used to bring these stories to life.  

New HBO drama The Regime was filmed at Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire so to honour this latest historic house production, Ingrid Flute’s has rated various factors to name the UK’s best ‘as seen on screen’ stately homes that you can actually visit.

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The UK’s top 20 stately home film locations

Graphic showing the 20 top stately homes and how they have performed in various categories

So how did we find the top 20 stately homes used in film and TV? Firstly, we excluded any that aren’t open to the public to ensure that every place on our list can actually be visited. We then used data from IMDB to find the total number of productions (including movies, TV series, TV movies and TV mini series) filmed at the stately home since 2000.

Other data that we normalised and ranked to get the top 20:

  • The total number of IMDB ratings for the top 5 productions at each stately home.
  • The percentage of productions filmed at the stately home since 2015.
  • The number of TripAdvisor reviews, average rating and the percentage that mentioned film and TV.
  • The number of TikTok hashtags for the stately home.
  • The number of productions at each stately home that have won an Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe along with the total number of awards won.

1. Hatfield House

Hatfield House at the back of the image with formal gardens at the front

Hatfield House in Hertfordshire has come top overall in our data with 44 different movies and TV programmes filmed at the stately home since 2000. Recent productions have included the Netflix series One Day, which was filmed in The Old Palace at Hatfield House.  

Popular films include Batman Begins, V for Vendetta and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and productions at Hatfield House have been awarded a whopping 88 Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes.

2. Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace and its large, lawned garden

Blenheim Palace may be most famous as the ancestral home of Winston Churchill but it’s also a leading UK location with 27 productions filmed at the stately home since 2000. Blenheim Palace is also a popular place to visit too with the fifth-highest number of TripAdvisor reviews of all the stately homes we looked at. 

Films that have used the grand interiors of Blenheim Palace include Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Napoleon, Spectre and Cinderella. 

3. Somerset House 

Fountains in courtyard in front of Somerset House

Once the official residence of Queen Elizabeth I, this former royal palace is now available for everyone to enjoy as entry is completely free of charge. Highlights of Somerset House include a courtyard that features 55 dancing fountains and there are exhibitions and guided tours available throughout the year.   

The magnificent neoclassical building has been used for 31 different film and TV productions since 2000 including X Men: First Class, Wolf Hall, London Has Fallen and Sherlock Holmes.

4. Knebworth House

 Knebworth House with large lawned garden in front of the Tudor mansion

Knebworth is probably best known for its outdoor concerts; it’s the largest music venue in Britain thanks to a giant natural amphitheatre in the grounds. However, at the heart of Knebworth is a lavish Tudor stately home and acres of formal gardens that have graced both the big and small screen in 22 different productions.

Popular movies and TV shows that have been filmed at Knebworth House include The Crown, Batman Begins, The King’s Speech and The Flash.

5. Hampton Court Palace

 Formal garden with conifer trees shaped like cones in front of Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace is a grand historic palace that was once the royal residence of Henry VIII. Visitors can immerse themselves in the world of Henry and his wives by visiting the Tudor Great Hall before exploring a Baroque palace and formal gardens that have featured in royal films such as The Favourite and Young Victoria.

There have been 31 different productions filmed at Hampton Court Palace since 2000 including Bridgerton, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and The Theory of Everything.          

Yorkshire stately homes

A trio of Yorkshire stately homes have made our list of the top 20 stately homes used in film and TV that you can actually visit.

10. Wentworth Woodhouse

Long facade of Wentworth Woodhouse behind large lawned garden

This Grade I-listed historic house has the longest facade of any stately home in the UK. With 300 rooms, including a suite of grand State Rooms, it’s easy to see how Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham has grown in popularity as a filming location in recent years.

81% of its film and TV appearances have been since 2015 with productions including Darkest Hour, Victoria, Bodies and upcoming HBO drama The Regime.   

16. Harewood House

Formal parterre garden in the front with Harewood House behind

This grand country house is located between Leeds and Harrogate in West Yorkshire and was the home of Princess Mary for more than 30 years. It was fitting then that some of the first Downton Abbey film, which centred on a royal visit from her father King George V, was filmed at Harewood House.

Other TV shows filmed at Harewood House include Victoria, Death Comes to Pemberley and Lost in Austen. The 18th-century estate is one of the Treasure Houses of England and it seems it is perfect for a period drama.

18. Castle Howard

Globe fountain and parterre garden in front of Castle Howard

Castle Howard in Yorkshire's Howardian Hills is perhaps best known as a filming location for Brideshead Revisited with a couple of adaptations of Evelyn Waugh’s classic novel set in the Yorkshire stately home. The stunning baroque mansion has however also been used for a number of other popular productions including Victoria and The Great. 

One of Castle Howard’s recent appearances was in the first season of Regency drama Bridgerton when it was used as the grand palatial home of the Duke of Hastings when he married Daphne Bridgerton. 

Category winners and runners up

As well as naming the overall top 20 stately homes that have been used as a film and TV location, we have also looked at individual categories to give all the historic houses a chance at winning a prize. The nominations are in and the winners are named below… 

Most seen on screen stately homes

Graphic showing Hatfield House as the winner with Hampton Court Palace, Somerset House, Knebworth House and Blenheim Palace as the runners up

This award looks at which stately homes have had the most productions since 2000, factoring in both the number of different film and TV series and the total number of episodes for ongoing TV series such as Downton Abbey. 

We have also looked at how popular the productions have been by taking into account the number of IMDB ratings.   

Fan favourite stately homes

Graphic showing Alnwick Castle as the fan favourites winner with Edinburgh Castle, Lacock Abbey, Hatfield House and Highclere Castle as the runners up 

To find our fan favourite stately homes we have combined scores for the number of TripAdvisor ratings with the rating itself and the percentage of visitors that mention film and TV in their review. 

We have also taken a look at the number of IMDB ratings that the top 5 productions filmed in that stately home have received. 

Rising star stately homes

Graphic showing Hatfield House as the Rising Stars winner and Wentworth Woodhouse, Royal Pavilion, Blenheim Palace and West Wycombe Park as the runners up 

To discover which stately homes have proved most popular in recent years, we have taken a look at the number of productions filmed at the historic house since 2015. 

To ensure only rising stars are included, we have factored in what percentage of overall TV and film productions have been since 2015. 

Award-winning stately homes

Graphic showing the top award-winning stately home as Hatfield House with Waddesdon Manor, Knebworth House, Wilton House and West Wycombe Park as the runners up

Which stately homes have had the most award-winning productions filmed there? To find the answer we have looked at how many films and TV shows have won at least one Oscar, Emmy or Golden Globe. 

We have also added up the total number of Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes won for any productions filmed at the stately to name our top 5.  

About Ingrid Flute's Yorkshire Holiday Cottages

Low Ray Cottage, a detached stone cottage with a gravel courtyard in front and green fields behind
Low Ray Cottage, Pateley Bridge

Providing holiday homes in Yorkshire since the 1970s, Ingrid Flute’s has handpicked cottages in lovely locations like Whitby, Pickering, Hawes and Scarborough. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway to the dramatic Dales or a family holiday to the Yorkshire Coast, you’ll find more than 1,200 cottages dotted across Yorkshire. More than half of them are dog-friendly too so there is no need to leave four-legged friends behind on your Yorkshire getaway.    

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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