Posted 18 September 2020

Behind the scenes

Lights, camera, action!

Discover Waddesdon's long career starring on both big and small screens as we take a tour of some of the films we've featured in.

Over the past 50 years, Waddesdon has featured in films, television series and even a J-pop video! Since it first appeared on film in 1966, it has undergone many magical onscreen transformations from Haxby Park in Downton Abbey to a Parisian country club in Our Kind of Traitor. Take a look at some of our favourite reincarnations of Waddesdon below.

During filming, the rooms at Waddesdon are often completely transformed as the collection is put away and props are brought in. In Never Say Never Again, the Dining Room at Waddesdon was reimagined as the luxurious lair where James Bond (Sean Connery) goes head to head with villain Max Largo (Klaurs Maria Brandaeur) in the eternal battle computer game, Domination.

James Bond Never Say Never Again, 1983

Watch Bond and Largo battle it out>

In Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, the façade of the Manor doubles as a chic Parisian hotel and Moriarty (Jared Harris) has a scene in the Dining Room. The Dining Room is a popular location at Waddesdon as filming is only allowed in places where large crews and equipment can be safely accommodated.

Sherlock Holmes and a Game of Shadows, 2011

Recognise these stone steps? Waddesdon’s South Front masqueraded as the exterior of Buckingham Palace in The Queen. Here, the Queen (Helen Mirren), Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) and of course, the corgis are seen walking down the steps to the Parterre. The Manor also stood in for the Palace in the second series of The Crown on Netflix! Can you spot us in the season two trailer?

The Queen, 2006

Buckingham Palace isn’t the only royal residence that Waddesdon has represented. In A Little Chaos the Manor transformed into Château de Fontainebleau, a French palace located just south of Paris. You’ll spot the Breakfast Room with it’s elegant 18th-century French panelling and the Dining Room too. Particularly apt, as the mirror frames on the walls are from a French nobleman’s house in Paris and the tapestries were designed by François Boucher, one of the most influential artists of the 18th-century.

A Little Chaos, 2014

Look closely and you might recognise the backdrop of this scene. In The Infiltrator, starring Brian Cranston, the exterior of Waddesdon featured as a Parisian building.

The Infiltrator, 2016

In a further transformation, the North Front features in the Bollywood classic Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), in which Waddesdon doubles for the Raichand family estate in Delhi, where Rahul Raichand (Shah Rukh Khan) arrives by helicopter.

Most recently you may have spotted Waddesdon in Netflix’s Rebecca. The film features several shots of Maxim’s Bentley cruising up the long driveway to Manderley – which in reality were filmed at Waddesdon Manor. Some rooms within the French Renaissance-style château also made the perfect stand-in for parts of the Monte Carlo hotel at the start of the film.

Lily James and Armie Hammer in Rebecca
Lily James and Armie Hammer in the Breakfast Room

The Breakfast Room, Dining Room, Conservatory and East Gallery were transformed for the filming, with all of the furniture, most of the textiles and several of the objects temporarily removed to accommodate the set design.

Watch the trailer> 

Discover more about filming at Waddesdon>

Visit the Manor

From Wed 16 Sept – 1 Nov 2020, we are trialling a free, short, one-way, ground-floor route around some of the rooms in the Manor. We’re using this opportunity to display these interiors in ways visitors don’t usually see them, since this is the first time we’ve opened the house to the public this year. Following the route, visitors will discover the East Gallery and Dining Room cleared of most objects to allow for recent filming and the Red Drawing Room as it looks when we are closed during the winter or ‘put to bed’, with precious items packed away and delicate furniture covered. Further on, the Grey Drawing Room, West Gallery and Morning Room will look more familiar, ‘set’ as they would usually be seen, with fabulous items from our collections on display.

Entry to the house is free with pre-booked grounds tickets and will be offered on a first come basis between 11am-3.30pm (closing at 4pm). Visitors will be asked to queue outside and will be invited into the house in family or household groups. Unfortunately, entry cannot be guaranteed.

Find out more>