The greatest gift of Christmas 2020 came courtesy of Netflix’s Bridgerton, a costume drama set in Regency London with all the pomp, romps and scandalous storylines we could hope for from a festive boxset. Based on Julia Quinn’s historical romance series, the show focuses on the Bridgerton family and the decadent lives of high-society London during the 1800s.
Adapted by TV superstar Shonda Rhimes, of Grey’s Anatomy fame, Bridgerton is already on track to become one of Netflix’s most-watched original series to date, having been viewed by 63 million households within its first 28 days.
But it’s not just the storyline that has captured the imaginations of viewers. Alongside the series’ exquisite Regency costumes and clever contemporary string quartet backing tracks, the lavish ballrooms and stately homes have us daydreaming of a decidedly more fabulous life. To create the perfect backdrop to Regency London, the crew took to some of Britain’s most extravagant country estates and heritage homes. Here are the most impressive sites to scout out once lockdown 3.0 is over.
Filmed at: Ranger’s House, Greenwich and RAF Halton
The Bridgerton’s residence is located in the heart of Mayfair, a grand wisteria-clad villa where the lives of the eight Bridgerton siblings play out under the watchful eye of the ton. In reality, the elegant Georgian property is located on the other side of the capital in Greenwich. Ranger’s House, as it is known in real life, sits on the boundary of Greenwich Park and Blackheath, and was built in 1720 for a naval captain. It eventually became the official home of the Ranger of Greenwich Park, a by-appointment position granted by the monarch, with the likes of Caroline, Princess of Wales and Princess Sophia Matilda taking up residence. Today, the building is part of English Heritage, and is home to the impressive Wernher Collection, the 700-strong art collection of 19th century diamond magnate Sir Julius Wernher.
The interior of the Bridgerton home was filmed at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire, one of the UK’s largest Royal Air Force stations, which was used to create the grand hall, stairs, hallway and smoking room.
Filmed at: Wilton House, Syon House and Badminton House
Wiltshire’s Wilton House has been home to the Earls of Pembroke since the 1540s, but in Bridgerton it doubles up as the Duke of Hastings' grand London abode. This Tudor house, which has appeared in The Crown and Pride and Prejudice, acts as both the exterior and interior for the fictional residence, with its portrait hall, hallway and entrance hall all used in the Netflix series. Other scenes inside the home were shot at Syon House in Brentford, such as the nursery and the Duke’s study and dressing room, and Badminton House in Gloucestershire, where scenes in the Duke’s parlour and morning rooms were filmed.
Filmed at: Castle Howard, North Mymms Park, Wilton House and Badminton House
Clyvedon Castle is the fictional country home of the Duke and Duchess of Hastings, to which they retreat mid-season for their honeymoon. The striking facade belongs to Castle Howard, a historic palace in north Yorkshire that was built in the 16th century and took more than 100 years to complete. It has been in the Howard family for three centuries and eight generations, but may now be better known as the backdrop to some of the Hastings’ raunchy exploits. Other scenes set at Clyvedon were shot at Wilton House (the dining room), Badminton House (the parlour and grounds) and Hertfordshire’s North Mymms Park (the nursery).
Filmed at: Royal Crescent, Hatfield House and RAF Halton
Perhaps the most recognisable of all the residences in Bridgerton is the facade of the Featherington’s home, for which Bath’s iconic Royal Crescent played a starring role. The Palladian frontage stands in for the Featherington’s Regency London home, which in the series is located opposite the Bridgerton’s residence. Designed by John Wood and built in 1776-1777, the Grade II-listed Bath stone crescent was originally designed as 30 terrace houses overlooking Royal Victoria Park. Today, the crescent is home to the museum No.1 Royal Crescent, the five-star Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa and private housing, and has been used as backdrops to films such as The Duchess and Pride and Prejudice.
The interiors of the Featherington home are as memorable as the exterior, not least because the colour palette so perfectly matches the family’s day-glo wardrobes. To find such complementing decor, the Bridgerton crew took to RAF Halton and Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, the stately home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury. Those with a penchant for period dramas may recognise this particular Jacobean building from its starring roles in The Favourite, Enola Holmes and Rebecca.
St James’s Palace and Buckingham House
Filmed at: Hampton Court Palace, Lancaster House and Wilton House
Bridgerton’s Queen Charlotte splits her time between Buckingham Palace (then known as Buckingham House) and St James’s Palace, both of which the Bridgerton set designers created using an amalgamation of stately homes. Her Majesty’s throne room, which appears in one of the first scenes in the series, is the striking Double Cube Room of Wilton House. It’s here that the debutantes in the series are formally introduced to the monarch at the beginning of the social season during Queen Charlotte’s Ball, a real event that was founded in 1780 by George III as a birthday celebration in honour of his wife. Eagle-eyed viewers may also have spotted the Long Gallery in Lancaster House, a favourite filming location for period dramas that has been seen in the likes of The Crown, Downton Abbey and The King’s Speech. For the exterior and the red brick courtyard of St James’s Palace, Hampton Court Palace in Richmond-upon-Thames stood in for the real deal.
Filmed at: Badminton House, Wilton House and the Holburne Museum of Art
The connection between Lady Danbury and the Duke of Hastings goes beyond their relationship; their homes were filmed in the same locations, too. Like Hastings House, the interiors of the Lady’s London residence was shot at both Badminton House (the hallway and the bathroom) and Wilton House (the drawing room and grand hall). For the exterior, the crew sought the imposing Bath stone facade of the Holburne Museum in Somerset.
For scenes in which the cast venture outdoors to Hampstead Heath, Kensington Gardens and Primrose Hill, the Bridgerton crew took not to London’s own beautiful parks but to the bucolic gardens of the home counties. Hampshire’s Somerley House stood in for Hampstead Heath, while Surrey’s Painshill Park, an 18th-century landscaped garden in Cobham, took the role of Primrose Hill. Kensington Gardens were reimagined in Sunbury Park & Walled Garden.
With the string quartet plucking out tunes by Ariana Grande, Maroon 5 and Billie Eilish, there’s little wonder the debutantes spend much of their time dancing. The lavish ballrooms that appear throughout the series as the social season gets underway were filmed in a number of grand heritage buildings, including Leigh Court in Somerset, Castle Howard, Bath Guildhall, and the Bath Assembly Room.