UK Movie Locations to Visit Near London

Visitors to the UK's historic homes and gardens often experience a strong sense of deja vu. No, it's not because you've been there in another life. It's because you've seen them in a movie.

Those stately rooms, elaborate ceilings, winding woodland walks, sparkling fountains, rolling lawns, lakes and vistas have usually starred in a movie - or two or three or four. The National Trust estate, in particular, is so popular with producers of period and costume dramas, that they've even published a map of some of their best film locations. And apparently, Keira Knightley fans should feel especially right at home, because, according to the National Trust, she's been on location in their properties more than any other actress.

If following the Harry Potter trail or visiting the real Downton Abbey at Highclere Castle has whet your appetite for movie tourism, you'll enjoy exploring these movie locations for both their real and fictional stories.

And though the stories that have been filmed in them take place all over the country (and beyond), these three are handily with a Tube journey or a short train ride from London.

  • 01 of 03

    Ham House

    Ham House
    Maxwell Hamilton
    • What is it? A luxurious 17th century house that remained in one family and was little changed for more than 300 years.
    • Where is it? Beside the Thames in Richmond, in London's western suburbs.
    • What Films Were Made There? Keira Knightley played the tragic Anna Karenina here when its Long Gallery stood in for Count Vronsky's grand apartments in St. Petersburg. She also played Ruth, the love struck clone in the film of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, a chilling tale of an alternate 20th century. In the film, Ham House stood in for the exterior of Hailsham, the strange school where the story begins.
    • What Really Happened Here? The house was a gift from the ill-fated King Charles I to his childhood friend William Murray. Murray was a supporter of the king during the English Civil War and spent much of his time in exile and on the run raising money for the king. His daughter, Elizabeth, managed to flatter her way into the good books of Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, and hung onto the house while secretly sending messages to the prince, later Charles II, in exile in France. After the restoration, she married the Duke of Lauderdale and turned the house into a glittering place of entertainment. She and the Duke were noted for their decadent love of luxury and the house was famous for its excess. Much of its elaborate decoration and furnishing can still be seen.
    • Visit the website for travel directions, hours and admission costs.
  • 02 of 03

    Osterley Park

    Osterley Park
    • What is it? One of the last country houses in London. Besides the house, there is parkland for walking and cycling and a winter garden to explore.
    • Where is it? The London Borough of Hounslow, just a tube ride from the city center.
    • What Films Were Made There? Osterley has been a film star for years. Back in 1960, Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr made a film here. But you've most likely seen it as the interior of the Wayne Manor in the Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, with Christian Bale. The house also stood in for Buckingham Palace in the film Young Victoria with Emily Blunt, and, Keira Knightley fans will be happy to know that several scenes from her film The Duchess were shot here. Other films made at Osterley include Miss Potter, Burke & Hare and Gulliver's Travels,
    • What Really Happened There? Not a lot, actually. It was a typical red brick Tudor house, built in the 16th century. In 1713, it was acquired by English politician Sir Francis Child. As he became wealthy, he expanded and remodeled the house to reflect his status and wealth. In 1760, he employed the noted architect and interior designer Robert Adam, to turn the house into a palace. It remains an outstanding example of the Adam style in London.
    • Visit the website for travel directions, hours and admission costs.
  • 03 of 03

    Clandon Park

    Palladian ceiling
    Tim Schofield

    A serious fire broke out here on April 29, 2015, reducing Clandon Park to little more than a shell. A proportion of the treasures were saved but many were destroyed, including the house's magnificent Marble Hall.

    But the good news is that Restoration is underway and you can make a hard hat visit to see how the National Trust goes about repairing and restoring a national treasure. Booking is essential though. Find out more about the open days, here.

    Click here to read more about the Clandon Park fire and to see a video.

    • What is it? A Palladian mansion created by a Venetian architect in 1720. It is considered one of the most complete examples of this style in the country.
    • Where is it? In West Clandon, a few miles from Guildford, Surrey.
    • What Films Were Made There? Interiors of the house stood in for Devonshire House in the Keira Knightley film, The Duchess
    • What Really Happened There? The Onslow family, who built the house and who owned the estate from 1641 to the present day, were active in politics, sending three speakers to the House of Commons over the centuries. During WWI, the house was used as a hospital for veterans. In WWII it became the Public Records Office archive. The house was given to the National Trust by a Guinness heiress in 1956 but the Onslow family still own much of the surrounding parkland. One of the house's most unusual features is the Maori Meeting House in the grounds, brought from New Zealand by an Earl of Onslow in 1892.
    • Visit the website for travel directions, hours and admission costs.