Fairy Tales – Castles used as a Film Location

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The English charity English Heritage Trust manages the National Heritage Collection and takes care for over 400 historic buildings, monuments and sites all over England. According to their website they bring the (his)story of England to life for over 10 million people each year. They have conducted quite an interesting survey in connection with their #LoveCastles campaign.

While many adults saw a castle in real life for the first time, it turns out that children often remember fictitious castles. Even when almost two thirds of children enjoy visiting castles, 12% of the children questioned in the survey have never visited one in real life and less than 40% did visit a castle in the past year. English Heritage hopes to change that this summer, and that families make real memories of castles this summer.

We all know the castles from films and fairy tales. But often real castles were the inspiration for films, or were used for filming. No wonder that some of these locations try to attract visitors by making use of these connections to films and tv-series. Just a few examples.

  • For the highly popular tv-series of Outlander filming was done in several locations in Scotland, among them Aberdour Castle, Blackness Castle, Callendar House, Dean Castle, Drumlanrig Castle, Drummond Castle, Gosford House, Hopetoun House and Linlithgow Palace.
  • Alnwick Castle was used as a film location many times like for example Robin Hood and Ivanhoe films. But also for Mary, Queen of Scots in 1971 and for some Harry Potter films.
  • In 2008 Arundel Castle was used for The Young Victoria, but before it was already used for royal films like Henry VIII and Victoria & Albert.
  • As you can’t film at Balmoral of course, the Scottish parts of the film The Queen were filmed at Blairquhan Castle. For some Buckingham Palace scenes Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire was used.
  • Broughton Hall in Yorkshire was used for filming Wuthering Heights.
  • Over the past years the Fürst zu Schaumburg-Lippe has allowed several teams to film at Bückeburg Palace in Germany, like for example in 2016 Mata Hari.
  • The French Castle of Chambord was the inspiration for the creators of the Disney film Beauty and the Beast.
  • In the late 1960s the then popular Dutch TV-series Floris was filmed at Doornenburg, Loevestein Castle and Hernen Castle.
  • Doune Castle in Scotland has been used for filming Ivanhoe, Monty Python & the Holy Grail, as well as Game of Thrones and Outlander.
  • For one of the locations for the film The Other Boleyn Girl you should go to Dover Castle, where over the years many  other films were recorded.
  • The Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland has served as a film setting quite often, including Highlander. It is also said to have been the inspiration for the Disney film Brave. In 1999 this castle was the Scottish headquarters of MI6 in the James Bond film The World is not Enough.
  • For the fans of the TV-series Downton Abbey a visit to the Highclere Castle in Newbury, west of London, is a must. They have been filming at Inverary Castle in Scotland also, as well as at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.
  • Lancaster House in London was actually built in 1825 for a royal. Nowadays it regularly features as location in films and tv-series, like The Crown, The Young Victoria or The King’s Speech.
  • If someone is looking for the castle from Frozen should go to the Hotel De Glace north of Quebec City, Canada.
  • Germans know the Moritzburg Castle in Saxony especially from the 1973 film “Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel” (Three Gifts for Cinderella).
  • The design for the Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland, California, was based on the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. Films like Ludwig II (1955), Sleeping Beauty (1959) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) were partly filmed here.
  • Luckily the creators of the Sissi trilogy about Empress Elisabeth of Austria in the 1950s were able to actually film at Schönbrunn Palace. But did you know it was also a film location for the James Bond film The Living Daylights in 1987?
  • As the Palace of Versailles of course is a museum and not a residence anymore, it was easier to film Marie Antoinette here in 2006.
  • Wilton House in Wiltshire stood in for Windsor Castle in The Madness of King George, and was used for filming Pride and Prejudice in 2005.
  • Wrotham Park in Hertfordshire featured among others in The Crown and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

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