The real Lord Bolton may bear no relation to his fictitious namesake from Game of Thrones, but his family home is a castle – and a very striking one at that. Bolton Castle has been a looming fixture in Wensleydale since the 14th century and is one of England’s best preserved medieval castles. It was chosen by Channel 5 as a filming location for the new Anne Boleyn drama starring Jodie Turner-Smith.
Today’s Lord Bolton is a direct descendant of Sir Richard le Scrope, an English cleric who served as Archbishop of York and started building Bolton Castle in 1379. Despite an illustrious career, Scrope met a grisly end when he was executed in 1405 for his part in the northern uprising against King Henry IV. So it’s perhaps fitting that Jodie Turner-Smith walked the same castle grounds in the C5 production, which documents Anne Boleyn’s final months before her beheading less than 150 years after Scrope, in 1536.
In the 2021 Anne Boleyn drama, Bolton Castle’s gardens were used as a double for the grounds at the Tower of London, where Anne was imprisoned after her trial. Bolton Castle interiors also stood in for the Tower’s Royal Apartments where Anne lived out her final days – you’ll see the castle rooms in scenes set in her privy gallery and bedchamber. You might also recognise the Palace of Placentia’s Great Hall, which was recreated at Bolton Castle too.
The castle gardens were restored following an archaeological survey of the grounds in 1994. Follow in Jodie Turner-Smith’s footsteps and you’ll discover a castle maze, herb garden, rose garden and a surprise vineyard. Surrounding the grounds, the original medieval stone walls can still be seen. There are also falconry displays and a tearoom for visitors.