For the Anglophile who loves all things period and historical, the popular Netflix series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story more than fits the bill. Focusing on the meteoric rise of a young Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and her whirlwind marriage (a mere six hours after she arrives in London) to King George III in 1761, as well as her later years in Bridgerton (1815 to be exact), the prequel transports audiences to a time of elegance, grandeur, and pageantry. Romantic storylines, sumptuous costumes, glittering ballrooms, magnificent palaces, and picturesque country estates await.
Defining the style of the times (the show jumps between the Georgian period of its main setting and Bridgerton’s later Regency era), the series was filmed at a variety of stunning pedigreed locations across England, from Blenheim Palace and Belton House to Badminton Estate and Wilton House—all of which are destined to trigger a case of serious wanderlust. The good news? Each of these historical estates and palatial wonders are open to visitors as well as events (Bridgerton-themed wedding, anyone?). Just book an airline ticket to the UK, take a day trip from London, and step back in time with a visit to the elegant world of Queen Charlotte.
“We have nothing to equal this,” the real-life King George III reportedly said to Queen Charlotte upon their first visit to Blenheim Palace, the famously opulent seat of the Dukes of Marlborough (and, later, birthplace of Winston Churchill), in 1786. In the world of Queen Charlotte, however, Blenheim doubles as the royal couple’s actual home, Buckingham House.
Located in Oxfordshire, the 300-year-old palace is famous for the works of the prominent landscaper Lancelot “Capability” Brown (the concept is a “naturalistic version” of Versailles with two lakes). A popular filming location (eagle-eyed movie fans might recognize it from The Favorite and Pride and Prejudice), Blenheim was at the top of Queen Charlotte supervising location manager Tony Hood’s wish list: “It took me quite a lot of time to get in there, but I managed to do it. Blenheim Palace is our ‘big jewel’ in the crown,” he says of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. “It was a quite a fabulous place. It’s Queen Charlotte’s world, and it looks fantastic.”
The palace has its moment in the spotlight with the series’ final ball scene. “It was a fantastic set with great dancers, courtiers, and just amazingness everywhere,” Hood adds.
The interior of Belton House in Lincolnshire doubles as Queen Charlotte’s Kew Palace, where the young king and queen first met. “It’s a National Trust property with really lovely grounds,” says Hood. “The interiors really lean towards this period.”
The grounds of the estate, boasting an actual orangerie and four-quadrant garden filled with vegetables, was the filming location for Buckingham House gardens. (King George’s passion for farming earned him the nickname “Farmer George.”) Visitors will also enjoy a stroll through the Italianate gardens.
Built for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild between 1874 and 1889, the Neo-Renaissance style Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire doubles as the exterior of the Kew Observatory. The observatory’s interior, built on a soundstage on Shinfield Studios, pays homage to King George’s love of astronomy.
Taking their cues from the Kew Observatory’s original design, commissioned by architect Sir William Chambers in 1769, Queen Charlotte production designer David Ingram and set decorator Kevin Downey incorporated Neoclassical design elements including statues, architectural models, and paintings of animals and nature, and even added a towering reflecting telescope, built from scratch.
Situated on 52,000 acres of land in Gloucestershire, Badminton House was the filming location for interior rooms at Danbury Estate, home to Queen Charlotte’s close friend Lady Agatha Danbury. The house’s original structure dates back to the medieval era; it has been the principal seat of the Dukes of Beaufort since the late 17th century. Badminton is perhaps best known as the namesake of the racquet sport. (Whether or not badminton was actually invented there by the Eighth Duke of Beaufort’s children during the winter of 1863—they used lightweight shuttlecocks so as to not damage the art in the house’s Great Hall—or actually exported from British India is apparently still up for debate.)
While Badminton House remains the private family home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Beaufort, its gardens are open to the public for tours, while the grounds and some of its buildings can be rented out for weddings and other events. It’s also the site of the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials, which takes place each May.
Firle Place, a country house in Sussex dating back to the late 15th century, was used as the filming location for Ledger Estate, home of the young Violet Ledger (a.k.a. the future Viscountess Violet Bridgerton) on Queen Charlotte. The estate dates back to the days of Henry VIII but underwent major renovations during the Georgian period. Selected by the series’ crew for its stately rooms (painted Bridgerton Blue, of course), it was also featured in the 2020 film Emma as the heroine’s home, Hartfield.
Still privately owned, Firle Place is open for tours from May through October; clay pigeon shooting and a night at the nearby Glyndebourne Opera House are also available.
Wilton House made its debut in the original Bridgerton as the setting for St. James’s Palace and the backdrop for Queen Charlotte’s introduction. In the prequel, its interior plays the additional role of Untere Schloss in Germany, where Charlotte was born. Located near Salisbury in Wiltshire, the English country house has been the home of the Earls of Pembroke for more than 400 years, and is a favorite filming backdrop (The Crown, Young Victoria, Outlander, Pride & Prejudice, and Sense & Sensibility, just to name a few).
Open for tours from May through September, visitors can also enjoy the Cecil Beaton Exhibition and Lord Pembroke Classic Car collections.