Where was The Crown filmed? Season 1 - 5 filming locations

From the surprising to the resplendent - we've got all the The Crown locations covered

Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, and Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles in The Crown
(Image credit: Netflix/Future)

Every The Crown filming location shared - including where those scenes of 'Buckingham Palace' are really shot.

Not only is The Crown known for the incredibly talented actors bringing the history of the Monarchy to life throughout several decades, the budget busting show is well known for its stunning backdrops. Many hours were spent recreating iconic locations - often when the real ones could not be used. The attention to detail throughout the entire series is astounding, and with intrigue about the show at an all time high, interest in filming locations is also surging. Read on for the filming locations used for seasons 1 - 5 of The Crown, and how central every carefully chosen location was to documenting the life and times of the beloved Royal Family.  

Viewers who've watched The Crown season 5 trailer and tuning in to the series are frantic to find out if The Queen watched The Crown - we have the answers, plus other royal reactions to the Netflix smash hit. We also have a definitive guide to The Crown cast throughout the years, offering a reminder of who played The Queen and Prince Philip for each season as well as the excellent supporting cast members. With the month for release confirmed, we also reveal everything we know about the upcoming The Crown season 5 release date

Where was The Crown filmed for Buckingham Palace?

Interior scenes representing Buckingham Palace in The Crown, include Wilton House, Lancaster House, and Goldsmiths, University of London. For exterior shots, Old Royal Naval College and Moor Park Mansion were used.

Wilton House in Salisbury, is home to the 18th Earl and Countess of Pembroke. Visitors are welcome to purchase tickets to visit the historic house and grounds at the residence. An adventure playground, cafe, gift shop, and special exhibitions can be found on site. The exhibitions include the Cecil Beaton Exhibition and the Classic Car Exhibition. 

Lancaster House was formerly known as York House, followed by Stafford House, and is situated in the St James's district of London’s West End. It is close to St James's Palace, and was once part of the palace complex. The neo-classical Grade I listed building is now managed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 

Goldsmiths, University of London is situated in New Cross, South East London. In 2019 it was recognised as a world-leading Arts and Humanities educational facility, placing in the world’s top 100 for these subjects. The site has a rich and varied history, dating back 200 years. 

Goldsmiths, University of London as featured in The Crown

(Image credit: Steve Vidler/Alamy)

Old Royal Naval College is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and architectural centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich. UNESCO have described the site as being of "outstanding universal value" arguing it to be the "finest and most dramatically sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles.” Originally constructed as a Royal Hospital for Seamen at Grrenwich, the hospital closed in 1869. It was The Royal Naval College between 1873 and 1998. Now managed by the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College, the buildings have been conserved to act as a cultural destination.

Moor Park Mansion in Hertfordshire is a Grade 1 listed Palladian building, with 300 acres of landscaped parkland. Built in the late 17th Century for the Third Earl of Bedford, Moor Park was opened as a golf club in 1923. During World War 2 the building acted as headquarters for the 1st Airborne Corps, between 1944 and 1945. The Moor Park Golf Club continues ownership of the Mansion and grounds, with complimentary guided tours offered throughout the year.  

 Where did they film The Crown season 1? 

Season 1 of The Crown was filmed at locations including Lancaster House, Ely Cathedral, Eltham Palace, Greenwich Naval College, Goldsmith’s Hall, Shoreham airport, Slains Castle, and South Africa

According to the Radio Times,  the original plan was to build most of the sets in a studio. However, building opulent stately homes from scratch proved to be one step too far, and location scouts scoured the country to find the perfect stand-ins. Executive producer Suzanne Mackie said at the time of season 1 filming “Everywhere you look, every detail, I don’t think we would have ever really got that”. 

She continued to add “What’s wonderful is when you have that incredible scale, beauty and grandeur, as well as something that’s quite intimidating, then you put one of our characters, on their own perhaps, in that vast state room, and suddenly that image can speak volumes for what we’re trying to say”.

Lancaster House, as previously discussed, was formerly part of the St James’s Palace complex. Queen Victoria is said to have been very fond of the house. When her friend the Duchess of Sunderland was residing there, Queen Victoria reportedly said “My dear, I come from my house to your palace”.

Ely Cathedral  stands in for Westminster Abbey, acting as backdrop to the Queen's wedding and Coronation - the cathedral was filled with a huge amount of extras for this scene.  The site has been a centre for religious visitors and pilgrims for over 1300 years. It now offers a look into centuries of English heritage alongside the beautiful art and architecture of the building.

Eltham Palace was used for a variety of scenes, namely the Queen's quarters of the Royal Yacht Britannia, Bermuda Government House, and the HMSS Queen Mary. The building began life as a medieval palace and Tudor royal residence. Purchased in the 30s by millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, the pair transformed the location into what it is today. Now owned by English Heritage, the house and grounds are available to visit, where guests are invited to try on period costumes, and cross London's oldest working bridge in the historic gardens. 

Where Greenwich Naval College was used as the Buckingham Palace courtyard, Goldsmith’s Hall was used for the scene in the Palace where King George has his lung removed. Real surgeons from nearby Guy's Hospital were used in the scene, to ensure ultimate realism. The Hall is not usually open to the public, only when the annual Goldsmiths' Fair takes place. A small number of Open Days are held throughout the year, with hour-long guided tours included for a fee. 

Shoreham Airport is an Art Deco airport near Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex - it is the oldest airport in England. It was used in The Crown for scenes when the Queen arrives back from South Africa following her father’s death, and when she travels to Northern Ireland. It is now part of Brighton City Airport

Aberdeenshire’s Slains Castle stands in for Castle Mey in Caithness - the castle purchased by the Queen Mother to be used as her holiday home in 1952. The ruined castle is located on a cliff edge, and played host to many celebrities throughout the 19th Century. Bram Stoker stayed at the castle and it is believed it served as inspiration for the setting of Count Dracula. 

South Africa stood in for Kenya in the show, where Elizabeth and Philip take a Commonwealth tour and a holiday. This is the location Elizabeth is told of her father’s death, and becomes Queen. 

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth, and Matt Smith as Prince Philip in The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

Where did they film the crown Season 2? 

The Crown season 2 was almost entirely filmed in South Africa, apart from scenes featuring Prince Philip in Antarctica - which were filmed in a London quarry. The Castle of Good Hope also featured as the Queen’s 1961 tour of Ghana

In reality the show covers Philip’s tour at the time, which saw him travel through Bermuda, Tonga, up the Amazon, across Antarctica, and conclude with the Melbourne Olympics. The series’ production designer Martin Childs, spoke to the Radio Times about the decision to film predominantly in South Africa. He said “South Africa is a gift of a place because it can be so many different countries in one. We filmed a lot of Philip’s world tour there, except for Antarctica, which was a quarry near London”.

According to the publication, Cape Town stood in for Melbourne, with Western Cape’s Kogel Bay becoming a Tongan beach. 

From Tonga, Prince Philip would have sailed to Bermuda. In the show, the Hermanus fishing port of New Harbour in South Africa, became the King’s Wharf dock of Bermuda. The Arabella Hotel golf course became Bermuda’s Port Royal course.

Hermanus’s Old Harbour was said to be the perfect replica for a Mediterranean fishing village in Corfu. It takes centre stage during a flashback to 1922, where an 18-month-old Philip and his family flee their Greek royal residence when King Constantine I of Greece - his uncle - was forced to abdicate by a military government. 

Deck scenes on Britannia were filmed at Cape Agulhas, where a fake deck hanging over the sea was constructed. The Amazon river scenes were filmed in nearby Keurbooms River, which takes a winding trip through mountains and forest, to the Keurbooms Nature Reserve on the Garden Coast. 

On filming these scenes, Matt Smith said “Coming up that river in a tiny boat was a real joy, I loved filming in South Africa; it gave me an insight into Philip. He’s obviously an alpha. He’s on the horse riding into the battle, sword in hand. We can recognise that in the 40s and 50s no man would have knelt to his wife – so if she says you’ve got to give up your job and name, and the kids are taking my name… You can see how he’d say, ‘Hang on. I didn’t sign up for that.’”

Meanwhile, the Queen is dealing with the Suez Crisis, and Fisantekraal Airfield stood in for an Egyptian airforce base being attacked. Built in 1943 for the South African Air Force, the building is now a private flying school. 

Scenes depicting Egypt’s Colonel Abdel Nasser and negotiations surrounding the demise of British rule in Suez,  were filmed in Cape Town City Hall built in 1905. When negotiations are finalised and the Queen began her tour of Ghana, The Castle of Good Hope - a 17th-century Dutch East India Company bastion - was the only location outside South Africa to feature in place of Ghana. 

The Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town

(Image credit: Benny Marty/Alamy)

Where did they film The Crown season 3?

The Crown season 3 was filmed at Winchester Cathedral, Lancaster House, Belvoir Castle, Caernarfon Castle, West Wycombe House, Wilton House, Old Royal Naval College, and Hylands House

According to Lonely Planet, where the opening episode of season 3 covers Winston Churchill’s death in 1965, Winchester Cathedral stood in for the real location of his funeral - St Paul’s Cathedral. Located in Hampshire, visitors are welcomed at the cathedral, where a number of guided tours are available from a team of knowledgeable guides.  

The staircase and central hall of Lancaster House with its Louis XIV style charm, once again featured as the interior of Buckingham Palace throughout season 3. For this season, Belvoir Castle stood in for Windsor Castle. Located in Leicestershire, the castle is a hive of activity - featuring a huge adventure playground, seasonal pop-up markets, accomodation, beautiful gardens and lakes, and much more. 

Season 3 also saw Prince Charles’s investiture as the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle in north Wales. This was one of the only times the real life location was used during filming, and this really took place at Caernarfon Castle. The fortress-palace is built on the banks of the River Seiont, and is now a World Heritage Site. It is seen as one of the greatest buildings of the Middle Ages, taking 47 years to build and costing £25,000. The castle is open to visitors for much of the year.

Buckinghamshire’s West Wycombe House stood in for the Duke of Windsor’s home in Bois de Boulogne, Paris. Prince Charles and the Queen take a visit to the unwell Duke and his wife Wallis Simpson in the show. The current Premier Baronet of Great Britain Sir Edward Dashwood currently resides at West Wycombe House with his wife and family. The house is open to visitors, and also serves as a wedding and events location, as well as a popular filming location. 

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Wilton House and Old Royal Naval College once again stood in for various Buckingham Palace locations, while Essex’s Hyland’s House amazingly stood in for Princess Margaret’s visit to the White House. The house was built around 1730 for Sir John Comyns, and was originally a red brick Queen Anne style mansion. The venue is only open to the public one Sunday of every month, but otherwise has a plethora of classes and workshops on offer, and is available for weddings and other hire. 

Where did they film The Crown season 4? 

The Crown season 4 was filmed at locations including Somerleyton Hall, Ardverikie Estate, Knebworth House, Goldsmith’s Hall, Winchester Cathedral, Burghley House, Brocket Hall, and Stevenson Square.   

Lonely Planet states that Suffolk’s Somerleyton Hall stood in for Sandringham during filming - this is where the Queen traditionally chose to spend Christmas. Somerleyton Hall is considered one of the country’s finest examples of a Victorian Stately home. The Jacobean Manor house’s exterior is sculpted by John Thomas - who worked extensively on the houses of Parliament. Only the gardens are open to the public, and are gradually being landscaped as a series of interconnected “rooms”. 

When Diana Spencer and Margaret Thatcher are invited to undertake the “Balmoral test”, the Scottish estate of Ardverikie on the shores of Loch Laggan stood in for the Balmoral grounds. The estate grounds are open to visitors, and there are a number of holiday cottages on site available for rental. Only those staying in the cottages are permitted to enter the house. 

Interior shots depicting Balmoral were filmed at Knebworth House in Stevenage. Both the building and grounds are Grade II listed, and it is on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. The famous Knebworth Festival has been held at the site since 1974. The house, gardens, and park are all open for the public to visit, as well as a number of seasonal activities being available. 

Goldsmith’s Hall made another appearance for season 4 as the interior of Buckingham Palace, while Winchester Cathedral once again stands in for St Paul’s Cathedral - this time for Prince Charles and Diana Spencer’s wedding rehearsal. Burghley House in Lincolnshire made its debut, standing in for Windsor Castle. Burghley is one of the largest and grandest surviving houses of the sixteenth century, the idea of William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I. The house and gardens are open for the public to visit, and there is also a golf course on site. 

Brocket Hall stood in for Kensington Palace - the Hall is a large estate dating back to 1239. The Hall is now a hotel, with two golf courses and a fine dining restaurant. The Hertfordshire house has seen previous Royal visits from Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria. The Auberge du Lac riverside restaurant on site is critically acclaimed with two AA Rosettes, and the accomodation Grade 1 listed.   

Season 4 sees Princess Diana’s first trip to New York alone, in 1989. However, instead of relocating to America for filming, Manchester’s Stevenson Square was transformed into downtown New York. Yellow taxis and a subway station were added for authenticity. 

The Crown season 5: Filming locations 

Season 5 of The Crown sees the return once again of Lancaster House, Ardervikie Estate, Brocket Hall, Burghley House, and Somerleyton Hall. New locations featured include San Telmo in Mallorca, Somerley House, and Hedsor House. 

According to Country and Town House, Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West as Princess Diana and Prince Charles, have been seen filming in San Telmo, Mallorca. The beachside town of Andratx where they were seen, is thought to be standing in for the location of a holiday the pair took with their children. 

Somerley House is standing in for Highgrove for the upcoming season. Situated on the Hampshire/Dorset border, the house is a popular wedding and events venue. Designed in the 1790s, the classical Georgian building is owned by the Earl of Normanton, and also plays host to an array of festivals and events. 

Hedsor House will be standing in for Downing Street. Gillian Anderson was only set to appear in the show for season 4, and season 5 sees Jonny Lee Miller taking over Prime Ministerial duties as John Major. 

Standing 15 miles from London, this country home has played host to Royal visits since 1106. In 2007 the house opened its doors to the public for the first time in 800 years, and is now a proud private events venue following extensive renovation.

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Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and moms.com. In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.