As a Londoner, I have watched every episode of Netflix’s The Crown from season one. Few things make me happier than hearing about a new season of this fantastic show. One of those things is being able to visit The Crown filming locations across the United Kingdom.
As you may imagine many of the scenes of The Crown were not filmed where they are actually set eg they weren’t allowed to film at Buckingham Palace.
Originally the production team expected to be able to film most of The Crown in studios. However, it was soon realised that the attention to detail that the series required would not allow for this and instead the production team set about visiting some of the most stately and opulent homes in the UK.
In this post I will let you know the actual site as it appears in the show that you can visit and where it was filmed if it was somewhere different – and whether you can visit.
- The Crown Filming Locations
- 1. Buckingham Palace
- 2. St Paul’s Cathedral
- 3. Westminster Abbey
- 4. Balmoral Castle
- 5. 10 Downing Street
- 6. Windsor Castle
- 7. Highgrove House
- 8. Kensington Palace, Sandringham House and Clarence House
- 9. Althorp
The Crown Filming Locations
1. Buckingham Palace
The Queen’s home in London makes many appears on The Crown – mostly the interiors, particularly for her meetings with her Prime Ministers.
⇒ Buckingham Palace is only open to the public between July and October. Visitors can see the State Rooms and the gardens. If you are visiting at other times of the year the closest you can get is outside the gates (which still allows for some good photos), seeing the free changing of the guard, or visiting the Royal Mews.
The Old Royal Naval College
The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich has been used often throughout the 4 seasons of The Crown to recreate the exterior of Buckingham Palace. This is where scenes showing Churchill visiting The Queen were shot for Season 1 and where we see various members of the Royal Family coming to visit the Queen.
The Old Royal Naval College was a training establishment for the British Royal Navy between 1873 and 1998 and was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It was also used as a retirement home for sailors – a rather nice one on the banks of the Thames!
⇒ When there isn’t a pandemic on there are tours of the Old Royal Naval College daily. They were also running a special tour behind the scenes tour focussing on how the college has been used in film and tv (including The Crown) on the last weekend of the month.
Other Stately Homes used for Buckingham Palace Filming
Several stunning homes across England were used to recreate the interiors of Buckingham Palace. One of those was Wilton House in Wiltshire. The Double Cube Room at Wilton House features in many episodes of The Crown.
Built in 1544, Wilton House is owned today by the Earl and Countess of Pembroke, ancestors of the original owner Sir William Herbert.
⇒ It is possible to visit Wilton House. Opening hours vary quite a bit but at the core they are generally open between Thursdays and Sundays in the summer but do check their website. Wilton house is about one hour north of London.
The scenes between the Queen and the Prime Minister were shot at Wrotham Park. Wrotham Park was also used for the scenes based at Princess Anne’s home at Gatcombe Park.
Wrotham Park is only open for private events unfortunately.
Lancaster House in London was also used for many of the interior shots in Season 4. Lancaster House is only around the corner from St James’ Palace but it is rarely open to the public. The exception to that is the annual Open London event.
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In Season 4, Diana is seen roller-skating through Buckingham Palace. These scenes were shot at Goldsmith’s Hall in London. This location was also used in Season 1 as an operating room for King George when he had his lung removed.
A room at Buckingham Palace was actually converted into an operating theatre at the time but the scene was shot at Goldsmith’s Hall.
⇒ Goldsmith’s Hall has a virtual tour on its website, can be hired as a venue and holds a number of open days each year with guided tours – check their website for exact dates and times.
2. St Paul’s Cathedral
For over 1400 years St Paul’s Cathedral has stood at the highest point of the City of London on Ludgate Hill. Do remember the actual City of London is a very small part – more like a suburb – of what the rest of the world thinks of as London so this still holds true.
Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married at St Paul’s Cathedral which is seen in Season 4. In Season 3 Winston Churchill’s funeral was held at St Paul’s.
It wasn’t possible to film at St Paul’s Cathedral so the interiors of Winchester Cathedral were used for the filming of both of these events.
Winchester Cathedral is unsurprisingly located in the city of Winchester in Hampshire. This charming English town is only 90 minutes from London by train and there are loads of terrific things to do in Winchester.
⇒ Normally St Paul’s Cathedral is open every day from 10am to 4:30pm (last entrance at 4pm). All tickets include entrance to the Cathedral Floor, the crypt and the Dome Galleries (which have some great views over London). Book your ticket online and skip the queues.
⇒ Winchester Cathedral is also open to tourists. It is open 10am to 4:30pm Mon-Sat and 11am to 3pm on Sundays. Entry is free to worship but paid for all other visitors. Free guided tours run on the hour between 10am and 3:00pm.
3. Westminster Abbey
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip were married at Westminster Abbey in London. Ely Cathedral in Ely was used for filming. This cathedral was also filled with extras and were The Queen’s coronation was shot.
⇒ Westminster Abbey is usually open to visitors Mon-Sat from 930am to 330pm. Tickets for Westminster Abbey can be purchased online. The Westminster Abbey website also offers free online virtual tours.
Ely Cathedral is located in the East of England about 12 miles north of Cambridge. Trains from London run regularly and the fastest option is about 1 1/4 hours. Ely Cathedral is a 10 minute walk from the station.
⇒ Ely Cathedral is open to visitors Mon-Sat from 10 am to 4 pm and 1 pm to 330pm on Sundays. Tickets for Ely Cathedral can be purchased online.
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4. Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle in Scotland features heavily throughout every season of The Crown, most likely as it is a well known favourite of The Queen in real life.
Season 4 is no exception and Diana’s all-important sign off by the royal family takes place at Balmoral as does a not so successful visit from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband.
⇒ It is possible to visit Balmoral Castle. Daily tours and opportunities to spend one hour on the grounds are run most days in the summer. Outside of summer tours will run on several days of the week. Do check the website before you visit and I would highly recommend booking your Balmoral tickets online ahead of your visit.
Throughout all four seasons of The Crown, the exterior scenes of Balmoral Castle have been shot at Ardverikie House in the Scottish Highlands.
⇒ In a uniquely British way, the public is able to walk over the whole of Ardverikie Estate at any time. It is possible to park at the entrance and then walk 3 miles to see Adverikie Castle from the outside.
Alas it is not possible to visit Adverikie Castle but it does have holiday cottages available and it can also be hired out for private events.
The interior shots for Balmoral Castle were filmed at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire and Hedsor House in Buckinghamshire.
Knebworth House is located north of London near the town of Stevenage. A train from London to Stevenage takes about 30 minutes. Once at Stevenage station you would need to take a taxi to get to Knebworth House.
⇒ Knebworth House is open most days during the Summer. Outside of the summer period it is often open on weekends but make sure to check their website before visiting and tickets to Knebworth House can be purchased online.
⇒ Hedsor House is located West of London and is about a 30-minute train journey. It is mostly only available for private hire. However, it has been opening for some days during the summer over the last few years so do check their website.
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5. 10 Downing Street
Anyone can visit near to the famous black door of 10 Downing Street, home to the Prime Minister in London. Get off the tube at Westminster or Charing Cross station and walk down Whitehall. You will then be able to look down Downing Street with the Thames at your back and hopefully snap a photo.
The interior shots for 10 Downing Street were filmed at Hedsor House, as was the case for Balmoral Castle. Sets were built for the exterior of 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Room.
Fun Fact: Unexpectedly it is possible to visit New York City in England! In Season 4 of The Crown we see Diana have a very successful trip to NYC. These scenes were shot in the Northern Quarter of Manchester which is often used as a proxy for New York City for shows filming in England.
6. Windsor Castle
Lovely Windsor Castle is The Queen’s home away from home in the UK and was also where Harry and Meghan were married.
Windsor is just over 25 miles west of London and easily reached by train on a 35-minute journey.
⇒ As Windsor Castle is a working palace it is subject to last-minute closures. It is generally open most days between 10 am and 4 pm and closes at 3 pm in the Winter. Buy your Windsor Castle tickets ahead online to skip the queues.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The chapel is open to visitors Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire supplied a filming location for many of the interior shots of Windsor Castle in The Crown. Burghley House in Lincolnshire was also used for Windsor Castle shots.
⇒ Belvoir Castle is north of London and the train journey takes about 90 minutes. Belvoir Castle does allow visitors. It is closed on Mondays and opens on most other days in the summer.
Outside of summer Belvoir Castle will have openings most weeks but not necessarily every day so do check on their website before travelling.
Burghley House is north of London near Stamford. Train journeys take about 2 1/2 hours. The house and gardens are open to the public over the summer months only. The Parkland is open daily with no fees. The Orangery Cafe and Garden Shed are open most days from 10 am to 4 pm and serve refreshments.
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7. Highgrove House
Highgrove House also features heavily in Season 4 as it is a favourite for Prince Charles and where he meets up with his mistress Camilla after he is married. It is the current home for Prince Charles and Camilla in England.
⇒ It is possible to visit the gardens of Highgrove House on a guided tour from April to October.
Somerley House in Hampshire was where the scenes at Highgrove House were filmed for The Crown.
Alas, Somerley House is not open to the public but is available for private hire.
Fun Fact: Throughout all 4 seasons of The Crown we have seen the Royal Family jetting off and returning from various locations. All of these scenes have been shot at the Art Deco Shoreham Airport. This airport is located near Shoreham by the Sea in West Sussex.
8. Kensington Palace, Sandringham House and Clarence House
Kensington Palace was the royal residence for Prince Charles and Diana and was very much known as Diana’s home in London. Sandringham Estate is a much-loved country retreat for the Queen and the Royal Family.
Clarence House is the London residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Prior to that, it was the home of the Queen Mother.
⇒ Several areas of Kensington Palace are open to the public. Visitors can walk through the King’s State Apartments, the Queen’s State Apartments, and the Gardens. The Palace often holds exhibitions and the Orangery does a lovely afternoon tea.
⇒ Clarence House is also open to the public. Tours are run daily.
⇒ Visitors can explore Sandringham Country Park all year round. Sandringham House and the formal gardens are open to the public between April and October.
Three locations were used to create Kensington Palace on film: Harefield Grove in Uxbridge, Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire and Somerset Boarding School Wellington College.
There are a number of Brit Rail passes available. The BritRail London Plus Pass is the best option if you are planning to base yourself in London and take a few day trips. The Britrail England pass covers all of England including getting to and from the airport.
If you are planning on travelling around the south-west of England then BritRail South West Pass is the best option. Finally, if you’re planning on travelling around England and Scotland then the best option is to buy the BritRail GB Pass.
Harefield Grove is not open to the public. Brocket Hall is 20 miles north of London. It is possible to stay at Brocket Hall in The Melbourne Lodge, dine at Brocket Hall, or play golf. It is also available for private hire. It is not possible to visit Somerset Boarding School.
The Sandringham House scenes were shot at Someryleyton Hall in East Anglia and High Canons House in Hertfordshire was used for Clarence House.
⇒ Someryleyton Hall is a 3 1/2 hour drive northeast of London. The Hall and Gardens are open to visitors between April and the end of September on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. The gardens continue to be open on Thursdays and Sundays all year.
High Canons House is private property.
Fun Fact: In Season 3 Princess Margaret heads off to The White House to save the day. These scenes were shot at The Hylands House in Essex. Hylands House does look quite a bit like The White House. It is owned by Chelmsford City Council and is hired out for private and public events.
Althorp was Diana’s family home in England. In Season 4 we see Prince Charles meeting Diana at Althorp for the first time when she is dressed up for a play.
The Althorp Estate including Princess Diana’s island grave and a museum is open July and August each year. Althorp is 76 miles North of London.
Ragley Hall in Warwickshire was used to film these scenes. It is open for public events and pre-booked tours. It is about 100 miles northwest of London and south of Birmingham.
It would be easy to spend a few weeks in the United Kingdom exploring the many actual sites associated with The Crown as well as The Crown Filming Locations. They do include some of the country’s most popular tourist attractions.
However, do make sure that you check all of the websites before you leave home. As you will have seen in my post there are many variations in opening dates and times. The Crown has been incredibly popular so I also suggest that where possible book your tickets before leaving home.
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Who Paid for What in this Post?
I paid for all of the costs associated with writing this blog post. The Crown filming locations post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.