The Duchess (2008) was peak Keira Knightley, wasn’t it? Well, Pride & Prejudice (2005) was the film that sold her as a period drama leading lady, then came Atonement (2007) and now this film. I don’t think it hurts that some of the most popular The Duchess filming locations were also the most popular locations in Pride & Prejudice too.
Knightley is the titular character, the Duchess of Devonshire. Her marriage to the Duke (Ralph Fiennes) is a joke, and they both find solace in the arms of different people. Basically, there’s heartbreak, illegitimate children, and betrayal all around. It’s based on a biographical book called “Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.” The marketing materials for this film really played on the fact that Lady Georgiana Spencer was, in fact, the great-great-great-great-great aunt of Lady Diana Spencer AKA Princess Di. They both married older men, both suffered from bulimia and both had “three people in their marriage” at least. Awkward.
The Duchess is set in the 1700s, so all the gorgeous English stately homes in the Derbyshire countryside feature. They shot some of the other The Duchess film locations in London, Bath, and elsewhere around England. So, shall we find out where these beautiful locations are? Let’s get cracking!
Where Was The Duchess Filmed?
The Duchess Filming Locations in England
1. Kedleston Hall, Kedleston, Derbyshire
The first The Duchess filming location is Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire and it is one of the most prolific locations in the movie. The gaggle of girls (including Knightley’s Georgiana) bets on one young gentleman each to win their race on the grounds of this stately home. The National Trust own this property and it dates back to the late 1700s. It would have been a fairly modern estate at the time of the film. It stands in for Althorp House in Northampton, Georgiana’s family home.
Georgiana’s husband-to-be (though she doesn’t know it yet) is watching her from the library during this opening scene, also shot at Kedleston. Later in the film, its opulent and marble-columned dining room stands in as the Duke of Devonshire’s dining room. Cluttered with candlesticks and footmen, we are treated to this location when the Duke entertains other men of political power.
Kedleston strikes again as a third separate posh house. Its saloon stands in as the entrance hall to the Duke and Duchess’s rented house in Bath. And last but not least, it comes full circle when the grounds stand in as the place where Georgiana takes a walk through a park in Bath with Bess and her daughters. You can see the bridge which crosses the Cutler Brook river in this scene.
2. Chatsworth House, Bakewell, Derbyshire
Things escalate quickly! Georgiana soon becomes the Duchess in an intimate, candle-lit wedding ceremony to the Duke. This is one of the most authentic The Duchess locations as they shot it in one of the rooms in Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. And this stunning stately home is the real abode of the Duke of Devonshire. So this is where the real-life ceremony probably happened over 300 years ago! How amazing!
Actually, the real wedding probably happened in a church, right? But still! I’m so here for this level of realness. The Duchess house also appeared as a prominent location in another Keira Knightley period drama, Pride & Prejudice.
3. College Way, Old Royal Naval College, University of Greenwich, London
Georgiana and the Duke ride down College Way next to the Old Royal Naval College in London to the delight of onlookers. Of course, the production team set dressed this street to make it look like the late 1700s, but it’s still easily identifiable.
The Old Royal Naval College is so cinematic that it is one of the most famous filming locations in the world, let alone London. Much later in the film, Georgiana returns to this same spot to drum up support for Charles Grey’s (Dominic Cooper) parliamentary election campaign.
4. Somerset House, Strand, London
Georgiana and the Duke arrive at the most lavish and sprawling estate, they could never hope to use all of those rooms. It is Somerset House in London that is standing in for the Duke’s London estate in this scene. Somerset House is a prominent multi-disciplined arts venue in real life.
5. Holkham Hall and Estate, Norfolk
The Duke of Devonshire’s London home interiors is a blend of several marble halls in several different stately homes. Just in case you weren’t sure if he was that rich, you will now be sure he’s loaded. The first is the Marble Hall in Holkham Estate, Norfolk. It stands in as the Duke’s entrance hall.
6. Clandon Park, Guildford, Surrey
The morning after the Devonshires entertain about 500 politicians around their dining room table, they eat breakfast sitting at both ends of a comically long table. Yet another lavish Marble Hall stood in for this The Duchess film location, the one at Clandon Park House in Guildford, Surrey. Granted, it is a more modest marble hall (if there was such a thing) as it is only their breakfast room. The National Trust runs this house, too.
This is the scene where the Duke summons all of the audacity on planet earth by nonchalantly introducing Georgiana to his illegitimate daughter.
7. Royal Crescent, Bath
The title card reads “six years later” and Georgiana now has three beautiful daughters. The unhappy couple and their brood head out of London for the next few The Duchess movie locations. The first is a quick establishing shot of a quintessential Bath street, Royal Crescent. Just so you can be absolutely certain that they are, in fact, in Bath. It is a uniform row of terraced housing made out of Bath stone in the late 1700s. So, again, modern for this time period!
8. Tea Room, Bath Assembly Rooms, Bath
The next The Duchess location is the ballroom of their rented house in Bath. It is yet another National Trust property, the Bath Assembly Rooms. Their Tea Room stood in as the ballroom. This is where we are introduced to Lady Bess (Hayley Atwell) who is gonna stir up some sh*t.
Again, this property dates back to 1769 so it would barely be 20 years old in the time period of the movie.
9. Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Berkshire
Georgiana and Bess become fast friends. Bess confides in her how terribly her husband treats her, so Georgiana convinces the Duke to let Bess live with them at their house. She does this over dinner, and the dining room in the Devonshires’ rented house in Bath is in the dining room at Basildon Park in Berkshire.
I hope you’ve updated your National Trust membership because, yup, this is also a National Trust property. So many The Duchess filming locations are national treasures! They’re eating up English stately homes faster than Pac-Man eats pellets. This location was also in Pride & Prejudice.
10. Old Vic Theatre, Bristol
To celebrate bringing Bess home to live with them, Georgiana arranges a theatre trip to see “The School for Scandal” at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London. But in real life, it is Bristol Old Vic in Bristol. The production team added a lot of chandeliers, red curtains, and extra flounce to make it look much less modern.
11. West Wycombe Estate, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
After discovering the Duke is having an affair with Bess and he dotes on her sons, Georgiana arranges to meet Charles under the cover of… a wizard’s robe, from the looks of things. They converse in a secluded spot next to a lake on the West Wycombe Estate in Buckinghamshire.
Wanna know another brilliant British film that shot scenes here? None other than Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016)!
Read next: Bridget Jones Filming Locations in England
12. Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath
Bess secretly summons Charles Grey so Georgiana can start having an affair with him. Totally normal thing for your husband’s mistress to do for you, right? Charles rides up to Georgiana while she is playing with her daughters on some country estate. I’m not 100% sure where, I think it may be their rented house in Bath which we didn’t see the exterior of earlier in the film. But either way, The Duchess filming location is the exterior of the Holburne Museum in Bath.
13. Osterley Park and House, Isleworth, Middlesex
After her secret affair with Charles gets out as well as their illegitimate daughter Eliza, Georgiana is shunned by society. At the very end of the film, she is finally invited back in and attends a “post-holiday” ball at Lady Melbourne’s house. The Entrance Hall to Osterley Park and House in Middlesex stands in as the ballroom. You can whip out that National Trust membership again, you will be pleased to hear. Miss Potter (2006) also shot at Osterley Park.
And those are all the top The Duchess filming locations in England! Have you watched the film or visited any of the locations? Let me know in the comments below!