man oh man, when Hila sent me this guest post i actually squealed like a little girl. one of my favourite things about her blog is when she talks about films, and quite a few of those are period dramas. we have actually done a couple of comparisons projects that fall into this category, so we are kindred spirits when it comes to our love for a good costume drama. plus who wouldn’t enjoy getting another look at colin firth as darcy?

Hello, I’m Hila from the blog, le projet d’amour. When Diana asked me to contribute a guest post, I wanted to compile a special one to thank her for her own fabulous guest posts on my blog last year. When I asked her to do these posts, I was in the middle of writing my book (and very, very stressed). I recently finished this book and sent it off to my publisher. A few days later, I started getting all sentimental about the process of researching and writing the book. So I thought it would be nice to share one of the loveliest aspects of my research here.

My book is on film and television adaptations of famous literature. Along the way, I’ve delved into the various locations where these period and costume dramas were shot. Here are a few of my favourite locations …

The Temple of Apollo, Stourhead Garden, Wiltshire, England

In Joe Wright’s 2005 version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Darcy dramatically proposes to Lizzie in the grand Temple of Apollo in Stourhead Garden. This shooting location seems like a good nod to the Regency period in which Austen’s novels were originally set, because neo-classical buildings such as this one were quite popular during this time. Austen’s society had a bit of a craze for the style, architecture and fashion of ancient Greece and Rome, and many Regency buildings imitated ancient classical temples.

Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, England

The latest 2011 film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre directed by Cary Fukunaga was partly filmed at Haddon Hall, which served as the setting for Rochester’s family home in the book, Thornfield Hall. There were many, many other period dramas filmed in Haddon Hall, including Elizabeth (1999), Franco Zeffirelli’s Jane Eyre (1996) and the BBC’s 2006 production of Jane Eyre with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. I personally think though that Fukunaga made the best use of the impressive space of Haddon Hall to highlight the original Gothic undertones of Brontë’s novel.

Lyme Park, Cheshire, England

Lyme Park is the famous location for Darcy’s heart-stopping lake swim in the BBC’s 1995 television serial of Pride and Prejudice. I think we can all agree that this lake scene with Colin Firth will go down in history as one of the best moments in period drama. They just don’t make sexy British repression like they used to.

Saltram House, Plymouth, Devon, England

Saltram House is the shooting location for Norland Park in Ang Lee’s version of Sense and Sensibility (1995). This is my favourite adaptation of the novel, and Saltram House seems to encapsulate the Regency’s ‘Era of Elegance’ with its cool white exterior, harmonious architecture and perfectly manicured grounds. And while we’re speaking of Lee’s Sense and Sensibility, you really have to go read these hilarious extracts from Emma Thompson’s personal diaries while shooting the film. You can thank me later.

Manorbier Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle was one of my favourite novels when I was growing up. When it was turned into a film in 2001 by Tim Fywell, I was instantly smitten yet again. The eccentric Mortmain family’s castle home is set in Manorbier Castle in Wales, although many of the interior scenes were shot elsewhere. But there is a unique romance to the rugged exterior scenes and crumbling castle.

The Moors, Yorkshire, England

Nearly every single film and television version of Emily Brontë’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights, features sweeping shots of the Yorkshire moors. Although the moors cover vast areas of England, when most people refer to ‘the moors’ they’re usually speaking about the landscape known as ‘Brontë country’ in West Yorkshire, England. I was lucky enough to visit the village where the Brontës lived and wrote for my research, staying in a house that was the former residence of their doctor. It was just lovely (but cold!).

Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire, England

Agnieszka Holland’s beautiful adaptation of The Secret Garden (1993) was filmed on location at Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire. I remember reading The Secret Garden when I was younger, loving all the small details about plant life and the natural environment. I think Holland’s film homage to the novel is a loving and sumptuous visual interpretation of such passages in the book.

I hope you enjoyed my mini period and costume dramas tour!

All images are screen-grabs made by me from the following films and serials (top to bottom): Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, I Capture the Castle, Wuthering Heights and The Secret Garden.


  1. Ok, this is a perfect guest post and so very much just what I love. Thank you so much for sharing, Hila and Diana!

  2. such stunning locations! such a shame I never visited much of rural England! it looks amazing! thanks for that wonderful post Hila!

  3. Beautiful post. I can see I’m now going to have to spend much of my weekend watching period dramas and planning a few inspired adventures to the countryside!

  4. This is such a wonderful post, really fascinating. Aside from anything else, it rather sorts out my summertime stately home visiting schedule for this year (as well as my period film-watching schedule)! I had no idea that the Joe Wright Pride & Prejudice location is only an hour away, and I somehow have never seen that adaptation of The Secret Garden. I’ll definitely be seeking both of them out.

  5. I love this. I’ve visited a few of these incredible Halls. I can’t believe people still live in some of them.

  6. OK, I squealed like a little girl. In my head, because I’m at work, but still. Beautiful pictures, illuminating info — and Emma Thompson made my day (again).

  7. Oh I loved this guest post Hila! And thanks for sharing the link to Emma Thompson’s diaries – such a treasure.

  8. What a great post! I never knew these architectural aspects of some of my favorite films. Thanks for sharing, Hila! :)

  9. Ok what I love about this post is that all of the locations are amazing and in the UK. It really makes me appreciate where I live- you can forget sometimes.

    Gorgeous post!

  10. Oh what a lovely post to gaze upon this morning!! I have always especially love the locations used for Ang Lee’s Sense & Sensibility. They were absolutely perfect and set the tone for each section of the novel fantastically. And Emma Thompson’s diary excerpts are indeed hilarious!

    Thanks for a fun post. Think I may have a little 1996 P&P marathon tomorrow while the hubby is working! ;-)

  11. What a wonderful guest post Hila! My love for costume drama is what drew
    me to your blog. I love that you got to stay in the Bronte’s village. Ang Lee’s
    Sense and Sensibility is one of my favorites as well!

  12. fantastic list of locals that im gonna keep somewhere should i find the time to travel to the country one day! i love the temple of apollo. so gorgeous.

  13. I’m a born Yorkshire lass so this post killed me. I live in NYC now but miss the dales and the Yorkshire countryside. Thanks for this post!

  14. Oh My! You managed to nab some of my favorites. “I Capture the Castle” just always gets me. One of my favorite novels, too.

  15. I do love country houses, and you’ve reminded me that I need to watch I Capture The Castle.

  16. What a cool post! I also have an inexplicable obsession with Sense and Sensibility. I actually own the screenplay with Emma’s diary. I can confirm that there are some even funnier gems that weren’t in the blog post you linked to. One of my favs is when she overhears the actress who plays her mother comment on H. Grant’s infamous arrest in LA.

  17. thanks for the Emma Thompson diary extracts link, so entertaining. Loved this one in particular:

    SATURDAY 13 MAY: Overheard later:

    Kate: ‘Oh God, my knickers have gone up my arse.’

    Alan [Rickman]: ‘Ah. Feminine mystique strikes again.’

    … can you just imagine …

  18. Great post, it’s making me want to visit these locations.
    I’m from North Yorkshire and I just thought I should point out that the building in the picture is actually Allerton Hall, North Yorkshire. Fountains Abbey was the setting just for the garden in the film and probably some interior shots, but I think the exterior is Allerton Hall. Just in case people were wanting to go and see the house and garden you will have to go to two places!

  19. It made my day to see Haddon Hall included in this fantastic post, I grew up nearby and in my opinion its the only suitable location for Jane Eyre. There’s also Chatsworth nearby, which was used as Pemberley in the Joe Wright Pride and Prejudice and is well worth a visit.

  20. This is just amazing! Thank you so much for sharing all this information. It was lovely to read about all these places, and I will most definitely research them further. Best blog post I’ve read in a while.

  21. What a beautiful post! I used to live near Saltram House, my mum and I used to walk through the house reciting the film on the weekends! Thanks for sharing x

  22. You know, England really is very beautiful. I need to make more of an effort to get out of London and experience it. Thank you for this post its beautuful!

  23. I love love this post! So much I had to tweet about it. I adore period movies and such a big fan of Jane Austen’s works.

  24. Another beautiful setting is Highclere Castle, it appeared in the version of The Secret Garden which starred Colin Firth (as older Colin) and Derek Jacobi, as Mr Craven. You might now know it as ‘Downton Abbey’ :)

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  26. Screen version of the classic English novels are great and wonderful films. We love this movies!

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