The real locations of Season 5 of The Crown
Forget Buckingham Palace and Sandringham – here’s how to visit their stand-ins…
If, like me, you are glued to the screen for Season 5 of The Crown, which kicked off last week, you won’t be surprised to hear the Netflix show wasn’t invited into Buckingham Palace to film. Instead, they used some of Britain’s other stately homes and buildings. Here’s what stood in for the royal residences…
Lancaster House was Buckingham Palace
Lancaster House in St James’s, right by Buckingham Palace, once again stood in for Buckingham Palace, as obviously the real Palace wasn’t flinging open its doors. Built in 1825 for the Duke of York, this lavish building with exuberant interiors is owned by the government and used for functions. You can hire it for your gazillion-pound private event, and although it very occasionally opens to the public, you can take a virtual tour of its interiors here.
Buckingham Palace, meanwhile, does open to the public every summer – as I’ve written before, I visited this year and would recommend adding it to your London itinerary. Visit here.
Ardverikie House was Balmoral
Eagle-eyes might have spotted the Monarch of the Glen in The Crown – as actor Alastair Mackenzie plays Charles’ private secretary. Coincidentally, his former home of Glenbogle, aka Ardverikie House, features as Balmoral. I find this surprisingly pleasing. I’ve always wanted to go to both Glenbogle and Balmoral so now I can do the double, by visiting the lochside Ardverikie in the Highlands. Visit Ardverikie here.
If you want the real thing, you can, of course, take a tour of Balmoral, which, like Ardverikie, has holiday cottages to rent.
Brocket Hall was Kensington Palace
While visitors can tour the public areas of the lovely Kensington Palace – and I would urge anyone to do so – they’re often surprised that the Kensington Palace part where Diana lived and members of the Royal Family still reside, is quite separate. Visit here.
Naturally, The Crown couldn’t film anywhere near it, so they subbed in Brocket Hall, which is near Welwyn Garden City. Now a wedding venue and golf course, Brocket Hall was built in 1239, then rebuilt in the 18th century and was the home of the Prime Minister Lord Melbourne – confidante of the young Queen Victoria, who often visited. Visit Brocket Hall here.
Somerley was Highgrove
Charles’ favourite hide-away is Highgrove and The Crown recreated it at lovely Somerley, on the border of Hampshire and Dorset. This grand 18th century estate is open mainly as a wedding venue or private hire. For more information, visit here.
The real Highgrove, however, does open its famous gardens to visitors and it’s even putting on a special Christmas lunch. For more information, visit here.
Burghley House was Windsor Castle
Ah Burghley, home to many a childhood day out for me, as I grew up nearby. This lovely Tudor house, built in the 16th century, is full of Old Masters and other treasures and has huge parkland designed by Capability Brown. It stood in for Windsor Castle in the series and this was where the famous fire scenes were recreated. Visit Burghley here. You can of course, also visit Windsor Castle, now gloriously restored, here.
Finally, special mention goes to the Royal Yacht Britannia. Netflix built a replica top deck in their lot at Elstree, but the real thing is very much still in action as one of Edinburgh’s top tourist attractions, here.
The British Travel List is the sister newsletter to The Royal List. It is a weekly guide to my favourite places to visit and stay around the country. I am an experienced travel and lifestyle journalist and am passionate about British travel. For more of my work, visit kerryparnell.com