One look at Harewood House’s opulent Gallery, with its Chippendale furniture and Renaissance masterpieces, and it’s easy to see why this country estate in West Yorkshire became a favourite filming location for the Downton Abbey film in 2018 and two seasons of ITV’s Victoria. Its extensive network of bridleways and paths also featured in Channel 5’s Anne Boleyn (2021).
Designed by architects John Carr and Robert Adam, Harewood House was built between 1759 and 1771 for wealthy plantation owner Edwin Lascelles. Nothing was too good for Lascelles, who commissioned the finest craftsmen of the day and employed Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to landscape his 1,000-acre grounds. The Lascelles family still call the estate home, and bent over backwards to welcome more than 100 filming crew and actors including Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville when the house was transformed into the set of Downton Abbey. Film fans will recognise several areas that can be toured on a visit, including the Gallery, Cinnamon Drawing Room and Terrace.
After admiring the expansive honeycomb facade, you can enter to explore the knock-out art collection with works from El Greco to Turner and Hockney, see the Chippendale antiques and learn about the Grade I-listed architecture that has wooed location scouts. Outside, roam the lands that were used in the BBC’s Gentleman Jack to film scenes at Southolm Farm. In real life, there’s a Bird Garden, Adventure Playground and boating lake here.