Recreating Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle on screen is no small feat. But luckily for the creators of The Crown, there are plenty of stately homes across the UK to choose from. For example, Ardverikie Estate in the Scottish Highlands has been the backdrop for Balmoral Castle—the Queen’s Scottish residence—in several seasons of The Crown, including series five. Balmoral has been owned by the British royal family since 1852 when it was privately purchased by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. To this day, it is their private property and not part of the Crown.
We pick locations because they look incredibly regal,” Pat Karam, the Netflix drama’s supervising location manager, previously told Vogue. “There’s an awful lot of research that goes into making [the sets] look as accurate as possible.”
Many of these grand mansions are open to the public, meaning that fans of the series can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of locations from The Crown and where the show is filmed. And, as an added bonus, you’ll avoid the inevitable crowds at the real-life royal landmarks. As the hit Netflix show returns to our screens, Vogue rounds up 11 locations from The Crown that you can actually visit on your next weekend break.
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Burghley House, Lincolnshire, England
Home to the famous Burghley Horse Trials, this 16th-century country pile was built by Queen Elizabeth I’s Lord High Treasurer, William Cecil. The grand Tudor property features in the latest series of The Crown, which shows the fire that tore through Windsor Castle in 1992. Away from the screen, Burghley House has seen a number of real-life royal visitors over the years, including Princess Diana and Princess Anne.
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Ardverikie Estate, Inverness-shire, Scotland
Ardverikie Estate—a 19th-century house made famous in the BBC series Monarch of the Glen—is the perfect alternative to the royal estate of Balmoral Castle; its Scottish baronial architectural features, including its château-inspired ‘pepper pot’ turrets, make it just as regal as the real thing.
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Lancaster House, London, England
This 19th-century former royal residence on Pall Mall is no stranger to the world of TV and film: it has featured in The Young Victoria (2009) and The King’s Speech (2010), among others. The mansion, which is a stone’s throw away from the real-life Buckingham Palace, is used to represent the interiors of the Queen’s official London residence throughout The Crown, including in season five. Keep an eye on the Open City website for the select dates that it is open to visitors throughout the year.
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Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, England
In episode three of the latest season of The Crown, a young Mohamed Al-Fayed is seen purchasing the Ritz Paris. But the producers of the series actually picked Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire as a stand-in for the famous hotel. Built in the 19th century by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, it’s an apt choice, considering the Neoclassical building was designed by French architect.
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Wilton House, Salisbury, England
Home to the Earl and Countess of Pembroke, Wilton House has also been used to recreate the lavish interiors of Buckingham Palace in a number of seasons of The Crown. As well as its 17th-century drawing rooms, its impressive art collection—which includes Rembrandt and van Dyck—also makes the Palladian-style home well worth a visit.
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Somerleyton Hall, Norfolk, England
The interiors of this Jacobean manor, near Lowestoft, served as the backdrop for the Queen’s Sandringham estate in series four of The Crown, when the royal family arrive at the Norfolk residence for their annual Christmas gathering. As the private residence of Lord and Lady Somerleyton, the hall itself is closed to the public but all 12 acres of its stunning gardens are open to visitors from March to September.
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Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, England
The interiors of Belvoir (pronounced beaver) Castle—which also served as the venue for former Vogue editor Tish Weinstock’s wedding—featured in earlier seasons of The Crown as Windsor Castle. In reality, the site dates back to the 11th century and the castle has been the ancestral home of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland since the 16th century. It has been used as the filming location for several TV programmes and movies, including The Da Vinci Code (2006).
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Hylands House, Essex, England
The real White House might be 3,600 miles away but Hylands House, with its stately exterior, was used as a stand-in for season three of The Crown to show Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter) and her husband, Lord Snowdon (Ben Daniels), meeting President Lyndon B. Johnson in Washington in 1965. The Grade II-listed neoclassical building has restored period rooms from both the Georgian and Victorian eras and is open to the public on select days of the year.
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Caernarfon Castle, Gwynedd, Wales
Sometimes the real-life location can also double up as the film set, as was the case with Caernarfon Castle in north-west Wales. In 1969, the site was used for Prince Charles’s investiture ceremony, where the royal was presented with the insignia of his rank in accordance to his title, the Prince of Wales. In series three of The Crown, the moment was recreated using the same location as the heir apparent (Josh O’Connor) takes part in the ceremony with his mother, Queen Elizabeth II (Olivia Colman). Today, the 11th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site is recognised around the world as one of the greatest buildings from the Middle Ages.
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Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, England
In 1965, Winston Churchill’s funeral took place in St Paul’s Cathedral, London—however, Winchester Cathedral was a much more practical filming location to stage the historical event in series three of The Crown. Fittingly for the Netflix series, the Gothic cathedral—one of the largest in Europe—has long had close ties with royalty, playing host to several royal weddings including Queen Mary and Prince Philip of Spain in 1554, and King Henry IV and Joanna of Navarre in 1403. These days, however, the cathedral is mostly associated with writer Jane Austen, who was buried on the site in 1817.
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Audley End House, Essex, England
To portray the interiors of Balmoral Castle in season three, The Crown’s location team opted for Audley End House, a 17th-century mansion known as a “palace in all but name”—and originally built to the scale of one. These days, Audley End is a third of its original size, but the still-impressive Jacobean building is home to a huge collection of artwork that includes paintings by Canaletto and Giovanni Battista Cipriani. The great hall and library were previously used for interior shots of Windsor Castle and Eton in series one and two of The Crown, while the gardens have been used for the British TV staple, Antiques Roadshow. The English Heritage site is open to the public and is especially enchanting throughout December when its grounds are illuminated with a colourful light show.
This story was originally published on British Vogue.