England really is the place to experience the pomp and majesty of the Tudor court. Here, Alex Williams round up six of our favourite film locations for Wolf Hall, BBC2’s new six-part period drama adapted from Hilary Mantel’s award-winning novels.
Lacock Abbey’s half-timbered exterior stars as Wolf Hall itself, the Seymour family’s historic seat. The abbey’s link to the Tudors extends further, however. Following the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII had the building sold to one of his courtiers, who converted it from a 13th century nunnery to an eclectic country home. Luckily, you can still catch a whiff of the abbey’s monastic past with a stroll through its medieval cloister court.
The village is also host to events throughout the year and the odd spot of filming too, having starred
in films like Cranford, Pride and Prejudice, Emma and more recently, the BBC production of Hilary
Mantel’s Wolf Hall.
This Tudor manor sits snugly enveloped by seven acres of pretty gardens and even has its own moat.
Built between 1465 and 1480, Great Chalfield Manor appears in the TV series as Austin Friars,
Thomas Cromwell’s family home. The house is accessed by private tour only, giving visitors a chance
to admire the ornate oriel windows and oak-panelled rooms.
A glittering Elizabethan mansion surrounded by sweeping parkland, Montacute appears as Greenwich Palace, Henry VIII’s primary London seat and the scene of Anne Boleyn’s fatal arrest. Rich with period tapestries and furniture, the mansion is home to England’s longest gallery, with more than 50 Tudor and Elizabethan portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.
Free from collections and furniture, Barrington Court’s spacious, well-lit rooms formed the perfect
canvas for recreating York Place, the comfortable London townhouse where Cardinal Wolsey lived
prior to his fall from grace. Almost derelict by the 1920s, the Tudor manor house was restored to its
former glory by the Lyle family and is prized by visitors for its colourful gardens.
Owned as a hunting lodge by Henry VIII and a base from which to court Anne Boleyn, it seems appropriate that Penshurst Place act as a film location for Wolf Hall. Its medieval Baron’s Hall, with its 60ft-high beamed ceiling and octagonal fireplace, has hardly changed in 600 years and conjures up images of the lavish banquets once held there.
Eagle-eyed viewers of the TV series might recognise the Tower of London in Wolf Hall is actually Dover Castle in Kent. The mighty fortress pre-dates the Tudors and was raised by Henry II to imprison scoundrels, welcome pilgrims and protect England’s South Eastern shores. Visit the Great Tower and you might just meet the Plantagenet king himself!
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