Lights, Camera, Action…At The National Trust

You may be aware that it’s award season. Yes, we’ve had the glamour of the Golden Globes, the BAFTA’s and the Critics Choice Awards, and everyone is eagerly anticipating the Oscars in March. And to help celebrate the best of the silver screen, the National Trust are revealing some of the top stately homes and estates to visit this year for anyone who has a hardcore passion for film!

From the sets of the most lavish and opulent costume drama’s, to enchanted fairytale woodland forests…there are oodles of great days out for the film fanatic inside of you!

Ashridge Forest, Hertfordshire – Les Misérables (2012)

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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 1000 square metres of c90 (fake snow) to give it a wintry feel.

Antony House, Cornwall – Alice in Wonderland (2010)

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This classically beautiful house is a beguiling mix of the formal and informal, and was famously thrown into the spotlight by 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)

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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.

Beatrix Pottery Gallery & Tarn Hows, Cumbria – Miss Potter (2006)

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The eagerly anticipated biopic of the celebrated children’s author used several Trust properties in the filming, which hold strong links to the lady herself, who was famously one of the Trust’s biggest benefactors. The Beatrix Potter Gallery, which was once the solicitor’s office of the author’s husband, William Heelis, for example, featured in the movie.

Charlecote Park, Warwickshire – The Libertine (2004)

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The scandalous and decadent life of the seventeenth-century poet, John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester, was brought to the silver screen in 2004, with Johnny Depp stepping into the shoes of the infamous ‘Rochester’. Charlecote, in Warwickshire, played a supporting role as its grounds were transformed into the East End of London, complete with pigs. It’s also said that Johnny Depp even took a bath in the Brew house!

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

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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.

Ham House, Surrey – Anna Karenina (2012)

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In Anna Karenina, Joe Wright’s adaptation of the classic tale of love and adultery, Ham House, in Richmond-upon-Thames was transformed into grand Russian apartments. The Long Gallery on the first floor of the house with its opulent Baroque decor, fine oil paintings and parquet floor meant it was picture-perfect to play the role of Vronsky’s grand but empty apartments in nineteenth century St Petersburg. Situated within the M25, Ham is regarded as one of the best-kept secrets in the British film industry with location managers appreciating its versatility and directors seduced by its good looks. Recent shoots include Disney’s John CarterNever Let Me Go and The Young Victoria.

Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire – The Duchess (2008)

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Designed to impress and amaze, Kedleston is a stunning example of eighteenth century architecture and it comes as no surprise that it was chosen as one of the major locations for the period blockbuster, The Duchess. Starring Keira Knightley, the film delves into the life of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, who lived a life of political and romantic intrigue in the eighteenth-century. Filming at Kedleston spanned four weeks and at least six different rooms in the property were used.

Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire – The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), and various Harry Potter films.

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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)

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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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