It’s time to gather your cuppa tea and Princess Diana commemorative paraphernalia to settle in for the final season of Netflix’s hit series The Crown, which follows a fictionalized reinterpretation of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Fans of the popular show can hardly wait for the release of part one of season six on November 16 (part two comes out on December 14). This season begins in 1997, and we know it will portray the death of Princess Diana (played by Elizabeth Debicki this season) after her divorce from Prince Charles (played by Dominic West) and the ways the queen (Imelda Staunton) deals with the fallout.
And while viewers love the characters and actors, another fan favorite of the show is the remarkable British settings, ranging from impressive castles to scenic seasides, mostly across England, Scotland, and Wales. But, of course, the show was unable to gain access for filming to the real royal estates like Buckingham Palace, Balmoral Castle, and Windsor Castle, which are all still in use. So where did the producers film instead? And can mere civilians visit them? We’re here to share the most beautiful filming locations of The Crown throughout the United Kingdom, with tips on how to visit and, in some cases, stay overnight.
Where was The Crown Filmed?
Most of The Crown was filmed across the United Kingdom, including England, Scotland, and Wales.
1. Balmoral Estate
Real-life location: Ardverikie Estate
The imposing Balmoral Castle and Estate in Scotland is the setting for a number of pivotal scenes, including a particularly memorable season four episode called “The Balmoral Test,” in which Lady Diana (Emma Corrin that season) and the new prime minister Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) are subjected to vetting by the queen at her favorite Scottish escape. Situated by Kinloch Laggan, about 2.5 hours north of Edinburgh, Ardverikie was built on ancient clan lands in the 1800s and has hosted royalty in the past, including Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901. With all its turrets and Gothic flourishes, it makes an excellent substitute for Balmoral. Its grounds—also home to about 1,000 red deer—are open to the public. And while you typically can’t go inside the main castle, there are eight cottages for rent that let you sleep on the estate and, if available, gain exclusive access for a tour of the castle. Ardverikie is at the edge of Cairngorms National Park, the home of Balmoral; if you fancy a hike by the royal grounds, you can even book a tour with a ghillie (a Gaelic term for a hunting, fishing, and hiking guide) who worked for the royal family for 15 years.
2. The Ritz Paris
Real-life location: Waddesdon Manor
In season five episode three, Mohamed Al Fayed (Salim Daw), the father of Diana’s boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed (Khalid Abdalla), purchases the grand-dame Parisian hotel Ritz Paris. Waddesdon Manor, a French Renaissance château–style house in the English countryside built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the late 1800s, is the stand-in for the interiors of the hotel in that episode. The hotel is also where the real Diana and Dodi spent their final night together before they were both killed in a car accident, so it may be featured again in season six. The lavish Waddesdon Manor is open to the public and offers daily tours of the house and grounds. During the Christmas season, it has various events and festive feasts.
Real-life location: Somerley
This 7,000-acre Georgian estate dating back to the 1600s was used to depict Highgrove, Prince Charles’s country getaway in Hampshire, about 100 miles southwest of London, near the coast by Bournemouth. The palatial house with opulent furnishings and artwork among its nine bedrooms, seven bathrooms, library, drawing room, and more is adjacent to New Forest National Park, and the verdant grounds are home to deer and pheasants. While it’s not exactly open to the public, you can book it for weddings, festivals, concerts, and other events, or you can gather your crew and reserve the house in its entirety. There are also two other accommodations for rent on the property: the Old Salmon Hut, an 150-year-old refurbished lodge that sleeps two, and the wisteria-clad, multi-room Farmhouse.
4. Caernarfon Castle
Real-life location: Caernarfon Castle
This imposing medieval fortress castle is one of the few actual historical locations that the series was able to film in. Located in Gwynedd, Wales, about 85 miles west of Liverpool, it was featured in season four as the site of Prince Charles’s investiture as the Prince of Wales. That ceremony took place here in 1969, and it is open to visitors.
5. Windsor Palace (seasons one through three)
Real-life location: Belvoir Castle
The queen’s home of Windsor Palace has featured heavily in the series, but the crew couldn’t film there. Instead, for the first three seasons, they chose Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, about 70 miles east of Birmingham. With a history dating back to the 11th century, the grounds have been home to four castles; the current one was built between 1801 and 1832, making it an excellent example of regency-era architecture. Today the massive estate is open to the public and hosts everything from tours to afternoon tea to a Christmas spectacular. You can even sleep over on the grounds, with several cottages and glamping-style options.
6. Windsor Palace (seasons four and five)
Real-life location: Burghley House
For seasons four and five, the crew switched to filming at Burghley House in Lincolnshire, about 30 miles south of Belvoir Castle, to represent Windsor Castle. Sir William Cecil, the first Baron of Burghley, built Burghley House in the mid-1500s, and it’s one of the oldest and grandest surviving estates. Visitors can tour the home, gardens, and massive surrounding parkland. Plus, there is a woodland-themed play area for kids and several cafés and restaurants.
7. Buckingham Palace
Real-life location: Wilton House
We can’t forget the queen’s London residence, the famous Buckingham Palace. Wilton House is one of several stand-ins used for Buckingham (some of which, like Lancaster House, are not open to the public) in the show. The 450-year-old house, about 95 miles west of London, is still owned by the Earl and Countess of Pembroke, and it is filled with art and antiques. Visitors can stop by seasonally (it closes for fall and winter), and the vast grounds contain a children’s playground and a café.