New BBC drama set locations ready for influx of tourists
By Ruth Doherty
The National Trust is preparing for an influx of visitors to properties chosen as location sets for the new TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.
The properties in Somerset, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire were chosen as they provided the perfect backdrop for filming the story of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of Henry VIII.
The six-part BBC series, set to be broadcast next month, stars Damian Lewis as Henry VIII and Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell.
Six British National Trust venues were chosen for to film scenes for the show. Montacute House, in Somerset, was used as the set for Greenwich Palace, Henry VIII’s main London seat and the scene of Anne Boleyn’s arrest.
Lacock Abbey, also used in two Harry Potter films, will be seen as the exterior of Wolf Hall, the Seymour family seat.
Chastleton House (pictured directly above), in Oxfordshire, is the setting for the scene in which a young Cromwell is viciously attacked by his father.
Another Somerset house, Barrington Court (pictured top), is shown as the interior of York Place, later known as Whitehall – where Cardinal Wolsey, Cromwell’s mentor and friend, lived before his fall from grace, reports the Daily Mail.
Great Chalfield Manor, in Wiltshire, will stand in as the inside of Cromwell’s home, while Horton Court is the only National Trust property used that is not open to the public.
Filming also took place in Bristol Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral and Dover Castle in Kent.
Harvey Edgington, head of filming and locations at the National Trust, said TV programmes and films offered a noticeable boost to tourist visitor numbers, adding that Antony House, in Cornwall, went from having 24,000 visitors a year to 95,000 after Tim Burton shot his film version of Alice in Wonderland there.
According to the Daily Telegraph, he said film-makers had been given strict rules to ensure historic artefacts were kept safe, like the use of no-drip candles.
Speaking of the Wolf Hall adaptation, he said: “It’s quite exciting. It’s been proven in the past that you get a massive boost in visitor numbers, and we hope people will want to find out more about the real locations and history behind them.”