Last Updated on 30th September 2022 by Sophie Nadeau
One of the most popular series on Netflix is The Crown, a semi-fictionalised series depicting the story of Queen Elizabeth II and how political and personal events in her life have shaped her reign and those of the wider world. Here are some of the top The Crown Filming locations (as well as which places you can visit for yourself!)
- Is The Crown based on a true story?
- The Crown Filming Locations in the UK (and beyond)
Is The Crown based on a true story?
Yes, Netflix’s The Crown is based on the life and times of Queen Elizabeth II. However, while the events which take place are real (wars, prime ministers, deaths, etc), the conversations and smaller events are dramatised imaginations of what might have taken place. There are currently four seasons of The Crown. For another Netflix series that is based on a young royal, you can check out the series ‘The Empress‘.
The Crown Filming Locations in the UK (and beyond)
The stunning Belvoir Castle is actually a 19th-century built mock castle constructed on the site of a former historical castle which dates back to the 11th-century. In The Crown, the palace is used as a backdrop for a number of interior scenes, whereby it is used to stand in for Windsor Castle. Another venue that is used to double as Windsor Castle is the Tudor Mansion, Burghley House.
Just like Belvoir Castle was used as a stand in for Windsor Castle, so too was the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich used to stand in for the exterior of Buckingham Palace. Although originally constructed as a hospital, the building was the Royal Naval College for over a hundred years.
Today, the Old Royal Naval College is used as a museum. Much like other buildings in the area, the edifice was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The building has been used to film many over shows and movies over the years, including Pirates of the Caribbean.
While Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip were actually married in Westminster Abbey in London, the scenes depicting their marriage were actually shot in Ely Cathedral in Ely due to filming permits. Located in Cambridgeshire, the present building on site dates back to 1083, though there has been a church there since 672 CE. On Sundays cathedral entrance is free.
Featured in the first series of the Crown, the Lyceum Theatre is an 1841 built entertainment venue that is today the permanent location of showings of the Lion King. In the series, Claire Foy and Matt Smith are depicted as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
One particularly beautiful location which appeared in the show was Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, which was used to represent the real life Castle Mey. Castle Mey is actually located in Caithness near John o’ Groats and was purchased by the Queen Mother as a holiday home. Please note that Slains Castle actually lies in ruin and can be visited for free.
A large and historic house in southeast London (located within the borough of Greenwich), Eltham Palace was actually used to represent scenes which focused on Queen Elizabeth II’s international travels.
The Art Deco interiors were used for scenes that were supposedly inside Bermuda Government House, the HMSS Queen Mary, and the Queen’s Quarters of the Royal Yacht. Today, Eltham Palace is owned and managed by English Heritage and can be visited for a fee.
In a number of scenes throughout the show, Lancaster House has stood in for none other than Buckingham Palace (the most important royal residence in London and the administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom).
One particularly memorable scene from the show was when Diana (played by Elizabeth Debicki) rollerbladed through the corridors in season 4. Unfortunately, Lancaster House is rarely opened to the public.
Yet another historical venue which was used as a stand in for Buckingham Palace in The Crown is Wilton House, a great mansion dating back to 1544. The Double Cube Room at Wilton House was used for a number of scenes in the show.
One of the main castles in Edinburgh is that of Balmoral Castle, an official royal residence in Scotland which was rumoured to have been one of Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite residences. In the show, Balmoral Castle is represented by Ardverikie Castle.
Ardverikie is featured in every season of The Crown and is actually a 19th-century Gothic mansion close to Inverness. If you want to get a glimpse of the castle for yourself, then you can rent a cottage in the castle grounds. See more details here.
While the exterior scenes of Balmoral were shot at Ardverikie, the interior scenes which took place at Balmoral were shot at Knebworth House. The mansion is located near Stevenage in Hertfordshire, to the north of London. Knebworth House is open almost every day during the summer, and most weekends the rest of the year. See more details here.
Yet another iconic Royal Residence in real life is Highgrove House, which was the official residence of King Charles III when he was Prince Charles. While Highgrove House itself is nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds, Somerly House was used as a stand in for the royal residence in the show.
Somerly House is a large Georgian Grade II* and is owned by the Early of Normanton. Unfortunately, it is not open to the public for visits. However, if you fancy living like royalty yourself for a weekend or are looking for a special wedding venue, then it’s possible to book out Somerly House. Find out more details here.
Kensington Palace is one of the most important royal residences in the UK. In order to represent its neo-classical façade, Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, England was selected. Today the 1870s built mansion is used as a wedding venue, hotel, and sumptuous dining venue. Find out more details on their website.
Season 4 of the show is heavily focused on Downing Street and its occupants, namely Margaret Thatcher (who was played by Gillian Anderson). While No. 10 Downing Street itself was obviously not available for hire, Hedsor House was used as a stand in. Hedsor House was also used to film some scenes that featured Balmoral. The House itself can be booked for private hire.
The neo-Palladian house, Wrotham Park, was completed in 1754 and is still owned and run by the Byng Family to this day. In The Crown, Wrotham Park is used to depict Gatcombe Park, the home of Princess Anne. Unfortunately, Wrotham Park is not open to visitors, though it can be booked for private hire. Find more details here.
Sandringham is situated in East Anglia and is a relatively new addition to the Royals’ portfolio of properties, having only been in the family for four generations or so. In the show, Somerleyton Hall is used to depict scenes of Sandringham. The gardens of Somerleyton can be visited.
Northern Quarter, Manchester
In season four of the show, Princess Diana heads to New York on a solo trip. In order to shoot these scenes, the directors opted to film in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. For more ideas when visiting Manchester, check out our free and self-guided Manchester walking tour.
While Princess Diana and King Charles III actually got married in St Paul’s Cathedral (an impressive architectural feat by Sir Christopher Wren in the heart of the City of London), it wasn’t possible to use the ecclesiastical building for filming The Crown.
Instead, Winchester Cathedral was used. Located right in the centre of Winchester, the current building was erected during the 11th century. Winchester has actually had a cathedral since 642 AD. It is not only one of the largest Cathedrals in England, but also has the longest nave of any Gothic Cathedral in Europe, if not the World.
Ragley Hall in Warwickshire is used to represent Althorp, the ancestral home of Lady Diana. Althorp itself has been in the family for over 500 years and is open to the public in July and August. Today, it is the final resting place of Lady Diana in the form of an island grave that is strictly off limits to the public.
The stunning town of Andratx lies on the southwest coast of Mallorca and will be featured in season 5 of The Crown. Elizabeth Deblecki (playing Lady Diana) and Dominic West (playing Prince Charles) were spotted filming on the Balearic island and these scenes will likely feature holidays that the pair took together with their children.
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