With the long-awaited return of The Crown hitting our screens this week, many are curious as to how the cast and crew were able to film in so many important, and iconic, locations.
Given that many of the royal residences such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor castle are working castles, the showrunners relied on some of the best location scouts to find brilliant backdrops for the unfolding drama and rising tensions of season five.
Here, we take a look at some of the most iconic The Crown filming locations, and what real-life locations they were made to portray.
Ardverikie Estate – a stand-in for Balmoral
Not exclusive to season five, Ardverikie Estate has been a stand-in for Balmoral castle throughout The Crown series. The traditional Highland sporting castle is first spotted in season five as Queen Elizabeth II (Imelda Staunton) arrives with her entourage to the sound of bagpipes.
Owned by the same family for over 150 years, the 19th-century estate extends over 38,000 acres – much smaller than its beginnings and is now managed by the family as a center for conservation.
It is the estates exterior that makes it an iconic dwelling in the Scottish Highlands, situated in Kinloch Laggan, Inverness-shire, the baronial house is most famous for its 'pepper pot' turrets. The surrounding grounds are dominated by idyllic woodland and lush forest, with a backdrop of breathtaking mountains.
Although not a royal home itself, the estate has played host to a series of royals throughout its history. Most notable being Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who spent three weeks at the state in the summer of 1847 to hunt.
The estate is now open to the public to walk the grounds and stay in one of several holiday cottages on the premises.
Lancaster House – a twin for Buckingham Palace
It would not be a series about the British Royal family without Buckingham Palace, but what can you do when the palace is busy? Use its smaller twin of course. Lancaster House was a vital The Crown filming location this season, with the lavish 1820s townhouse used for several interior shots.
One of the world's best homes, the mansion is one of the last surviving examples of extravagant palaces built in the 19th century and, as such, is one of the last remnants of the lavish high society that dominated the era.
The interior of the property makes it an ideal filming location, with original neo-classical style columns, geometric features, and patterns adorning the architecture. Other finishes, such as oblique Baroque, rococo, and 19th-century additions maintain the air of grandeur needed for a royal party house.
The property is now used primarily by the UK government's Foreign and Commonwealth office – when it is not dressed to look like the palace, of course.
Knebworth House – the second stand-in for Balmoral
Despite its castle-like appearance, Knebworth house is an English country home in Hertfordshire. The Grade II listed building became another interior double for Balmoral during the shooting of The Crown season five – despite being a nine-hour drive away from the original castle.
The home has once again belonged to the same family since 1490, who have drastically altered the home both in and out over the centuries. Originally a red-brick Late Gothic manor house, later ancestors remodeled the home into a Tudor Gothic castle in the late 1800s – many of these changes are what we see today.
The romantic exterior may appear domineering, with countless turrets, domes, and gargoyles creating a mean-looking silhouette. Behind the Victorian-added facade, however, are the remains of the much simpler Tudor home.
The interior of the property has also seen extensive remodels, the most notable being the work of Sir Edwin Lutyens. The home has barely a plain ceiling idea in sight, with many of the rooms adorned with intricate plasterwork and hand-painted motifs, while the walls are either covered in expensive fabric hangings, original portraiture, or ornate wallpapers and paneling. It is perhaps of little wonder that the house can stand in so easily for a Royal castle.
Some parts of the garden date back to the 17th century, while the present layout is once again the work of the Edwardian period. Sir Edwin Lutyens saw to the simplification of the ornate beds and lawns, for example, while also ensuring the addition of avenues of pollarded lime trees and the planting of a herb garden.
The home is now owned by Henry Lytton-Cobbold who, after a career in the film industry, lets the property to produces such as Netflix to use as backdrops
Waddesdon Manor – a less obvious dupe for Paris' The Ritz
It may be strange to think of using such a splendid manor for a Parisian hotel, but the home's magnificent French Renaissance style lends itself perfectly to a recreation of the esteemed Ritz Hotel.
With the Ritz featuring as a key location in episode three of The Crown season five, both the exterior and interior of the property were used for the new season.
The manor was built over six years, beginning in 1877, by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild after he purchased a plot of barren agricultural land in 1874. The result is a stunning property surrounded by mature trees and wilderness created from what started as nothing.
The exterior of the house was designed in the style of the French Renaissance Châteaux of the Lore Valley by French architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur. Once complete, the home was celebrated with several house parties of a grand scale. The manors interiors make an obvious choice for replicating the Ritz too, defined by Neo-classical architecture and offering a masterclass in decorating with art.
The estate was by no means a family home, but the property was used to house over 100 refugee children during World War II – the first and only time children resided at the house.
Burghley House – Windsor Castles double
Season five of The Crown also depicts the destructive Windsor Castle fire of 1992. In the blaze, 115 rooms were completely destroyed, including nine staterooms all at a time when the royal family was facing crisis after crisis.
The Tudor mansion, built by Queen Elizabeth Is Lord High Treasurer between 1555 and 1557, became an obvious choice for replicating the famous and beloved castle and has been seen throughout the series.
No room was ever destroyed for the show, however, with set designers and prop makers working tirelessly to recreate Burghley House's Great Hall piece by piece on set to be burned for the cameras. From the grand Tudor fireplace ideas to the double hammer-beam ceiling, the showrunners left not one feature out of the soon-to-be-destroyed set.
Dodi’s Paradise Cove Home – Dianna's Malibu escape
One of the few The Crown filming locations that used the original setting, Dodi Al Fayed's Malibu home was reopened to the cast and crew as the backdrop for Princess Diana's illicit love interest.
The California 'dream home' is likely to feature more often in the show, with the sunny escape rumored to be the center of Diana's plans for escaping the palace and England as her marriage very publically fell apart.
The Tuscan-style villa is a far cry from the very traditional settings of the British aristocracy and marks a direct shift in the show's focus and the crisis the Royal Family faces between the late 1990s and early 2000s. Boasting 7,500 square feet, the home is situated on a wonderfully isolated five acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean and had been owned by Julie Andrews before Fayed's purchase.
The home has one reception room and several bedrooms on the ground floor, as well as an open-plan kitchen that opens up to an outdoor dining terrace and pool area. The modern living room with limestone fireplace seems the foil of the traditional marble of English palaces.
The master quite could have been seen as equally extravagant, however, with raw silk wall coverings and a high, wrought iron four-poster bed hung with pure cotton.
Where were Buckingham palace scenes filmed in The Crown?
Many of the Buckingham Palace scenes in The Crown were not filmed at the palace at all but in other royal properties or manors around the UK. While Lancaster House was used for much of the filming of season five, other seasons have used locations such as Wilton House is Salisbury or Goldsmith's Hall in London.
Chiana is a junior writer for Homes & Gardens having joined Future plc as a new graduate in 2022 after achieving a 1st class degree in Literature at university. She first became interested in design as a child after spending her summers helping her parents redecorate her childhood home. As a long-time reader of Future’s homes titles, Chiana is constantly finding new inspiration at work as she focuses on emerging trends, how-to’s, and news pieces.
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