Every season of The Crown is met with new levels of anticipation, as we wait to watch as the past is brought back to life and the dramatic storylines unfold. But over recent years, the show’s extravagant sets and jaw-dropping filming locations have become just as compelling as the plots. Immense thought goes into choosing each location, and great pains are taken to ensure they represent each royal residence as accurately as possible. From stately homes masquerading as castles to 14th-century monasteries posing as palaces, we’ve rounded up the finest UK filming locations from season 5 of The Crown.
This magnificent mansion in St James’s is a perfect stand-in for Buckingham Palace, which is situated just around the corner. Originally commissioned in 1825 by the then-Duke of York, Lancaster House is now run by the Foreign Office, but it became best known as a high society destination for Lord Sutherland and his impressive art collection during the 1900s. Inside you’ll find suitably opulent interiors, with grand, sweeping staircases and gilded ceilings. Fittingly, the house also has a royal connection – its said Queen Victoria loved attending functions here, while Winston Churchill hosted a coronation banquet for Queen Elizabeth II at the venue in 1953. Sadly, the house isn’t open to the public, but you can take a virtual tour of its rooms online.
Lancaster House, Stable Yard, St James’s, London SW1A 1BB
Of all the locations on this list, Burghley House may well be the grandest – so it’s no surprise that the Tudor mansion was chosen to represent Windsor Castle in the show. Created by Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, William Cecil, in the 16th century and home to the Cecil family for 500 years, it remains one of the finest remaining examples of the great Elizabethan ‘prodigy’ houses. Multiple rooms were used to emulate key Windsor locations, including the Queen’s study and the drawing room, but the most memorable scene of all was reserved for the Great Hall, which acted as the backdrop for the Windsor Castle fire. “There was an awful lot of emotional investment in that room, and it just happened to be about the largest room we’ve used in Windsor Castle,” production designer Martin Childs has said of the scene. “We were not just burning something down, we were burning something down that people are familiar with.” The house and gardens are open during the spring and summer, where you can come to tour the family’s remarkable collection of Italian Old Masters and explore the Capability Brown-designed parkland.
Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 3JY
Brooding, turreted Ardverikie House was built for a baronial deer-stalking enthusiast in the 19th century, who briefly served as Prince Albert’s Groom of the Stool, and has starred as Balmoral since season one of the show. The impressive lochside estate is home to thousands of red deer, as well as nesting pairs of golden eagles, ospreys and black-throated divers, which can all be spotted from one of their eight charming holiday cottages that are available to rent. Eagle-eyed fans will spot the fact that Ardverikie’s library, drawing room and staircase all feature in the latest season of the show.
Ardverikie House, Kinloch Laggan, Newtonmore, Inverness-shire PH20 1BX
While Ardverikie House may have stood in for Balmoral for the majority of The Crown, there was one particularly important scene for which a different property altogether was required. To recreate Balmoral’s famous Ghillies Ball, the entire cast and crew decamped to Knebworth House, which is located a nine-hour drive away in Hertfordshire. The house’s grand hall and Gothic-looking interiors made it a fitting look-alike for the small screen version of the annual dance, which was known to be one of the late Queen’s favourite parties. Set in 250 acres of rolling Hertfordshire countryside, Knebworth is one of England’s most colourful stately homes, best known for its legendary concerts.
Knebworth House, Old Knebworth Lane, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 2AX
This neo-classical country house – set in lush parkland just outside Welwyn Garden City – was built out of the same distinctive red brick as Kensington Palace, making the likeness between the two almost uncanny. Previous owners have included former prime minister William Lamb, as well as some early bishops of Ely, while King Edward II hunted from the lodge here during his reign. Today, it is best known as a popular wedding venue and golf course, but visitors can also stay in Melbourne Lodge, an elegantly converted Georgian coach house in the grounds.
Brocket Hall, Welwyn, Hertfordshire AL8 7XG
The history of the Charterhouse dates all the way back to 1371, when it was first established as a Carthusian monastery. With its sprawling complex of buildings and atmospheric interiors, it bears a striking similarity to St James’s Palace, and it is here that the controversial scene where Prince Charles and John Major discuss the Queen’s potential abdication was filmed in the latest series. After the Reformation, the Charterhouse went on to become an almshouse (which it remains today), and a prominent boys’ school, which relocated to the leafy environs of Surrey in the 19th century. Now, it’s twinned with the Museum of London and a shiny new exhibition space has been opened, where members of the public can come and explore fascinating historical objects, including a skeleton of a Black Death victim and a medieval water map.
The Charterhouse, Charterhouse Square, Islington, London EC1M 6AN
In the latest season, King Charles’s favoured royal residence Highgrove is depicted by Somerley House, a splendid stately home on the border of Hampshire and Dorset. Situated in acres of rolling parkland, it’s a fitting stand-in for the regal retreat, where the beautifully landscaped gardens have long benefitted from the King’s green-fingered skills. Eagle-eyed viewers might also recognise the house from other period dramas, including Bridgerton and an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. The house itself is a prized wedding venue and sleeps up to 18 guests in sumptuous interiors, while those looking for a cosier retreat can book into the Old Salmon Hut, a former fishing lodge overlooking the River Avon.
Somerley House, Ringwood, Hampshire BH24 3PL
While Mohamed Al-Fayed’s Villa Windsor – which is introduced through one of the more entertaining sub-plots in the series – may be in Paris, for the elegant exterior the production team used Halton House in Buckinghamshire. Originally owned by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the late 19th century, the Halton estate then ended up in the hands of Alfred de Rothschild, who commissioned the house to be loosely based on a French chateau – hence its distinct Gallic charm. The house has appeared in numerous other films and TV shows, including The King’s Speech and Agatha Christie’s Poirot. While it’s not open to the public, they do host occasional open days during the summer and autumn.
Halton House, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP22 5NN