Finding Oakwell Hall hidden down a lane in Birstall, West Yorkshire, comes as quite a surprise. Built in 1583, it is a rare example of an Elizabethan manor house set in 100 acres of country park and has delighted visitors for centuries, including Charlotte Brontë. Today it’s a popular filming location, and most recently some of the timber-framed interiors played Henry VIII’s chambers in Channel 5’s Anne Boleyn starring Jodie Turner-Smith. Oakwell has also hosted dramas such as Kay Mellor’s The Syndicate (series 4, BBC), Gentleman Jack (BBC), Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (BBC), The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (BBC) and Wuthering Heights (ITV).
The grounds attract local families on days out, but history buffs will love the house itself, furnished as a family home in the 1690s. Rooms such as the airy grand hall, oak-panelled parlour and beamed kitchen chamber offer fascinating insight into a post-English Civil War household and feel perfectly suited for Brontë adventures – both in real life and on TV.