Look out for the Good Journey Mark – where car-free visitors are welcome and enjoy a discount
How to travel car-free to TV locations forThe Crownaround London and the South East
Royally engaging as ever, The Crown returns to Netflix for a third season, from November 17th 2019, now starring Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies. Here are some of the amazing places where the earlier seasons were filmed. You can get to all these quite easily without a car and will find it’s a rewarding journey even if you don’t happen to be a fan of the series - especially at places that give you money off for arriving by train. Lots of scenes in The Crown take place in Buckingham Palace or Sandringham, but most of the series wasn’t filmed there (partly because the actual Queen is sometimes in residence). Instead, the producers chose a series of picturesque alternative locations, many of which are open to the public and can be part of a right royal car-free day trip.
1. Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
One of the mansions standing in for Buckingham Palace is this huge and splendid late-Victorian château-style stately, built for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild to entertain his weekend guests and showcase his art collection.
- How to get to Waddesdon Manor: Follow the Good Journey directions. And enjoy 2-for-1 entry with this voucher. For cyclists or keen walkers, there’s the new Waddesdon Greenway from Aylesbury Vale station. But make sure you’ve got enough energy left to explore the magnificent grounds.
- The influence of eighteenth-century France is clear inside Waddesdon Manor in the opulent silk hangings and Sèvres porcelain, the antique French furniture, royal Savonnerie carpets and Gobelins tapestries.
- There are paintings by famous Dutch, Flemish and French artists as well as portraits by Reynolds and Gainsborough, with contemporary artworks throughout the grounds.
- With its movie-star quality, the manor is a popular film and TV location and has also appeared in The Queen starring Helen Mirren and in Downton Abbey.
- For more ideas in the area, see our car-free guide to Aylesbury.
2. Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire
This breathtaking cathedral stands in for Westminster Abbey when Queen Elizabeth (Claire Foy) and Prince Phillip (Matt Smith) get married. It’s the location for that dramatic quarrel scene where Philip asks Elizabeth: “Are you my Queen or my wife?”
- Benedictine monks first built Ely cathedral in the 11th century when Ely was just a tiny hamlet on an island in the fens. It’s been rebuilt over the centuries and is full of beautiful details.
- Don’t miss the tower tours, especially the fascinating climb up inside Ely’s Octagon, a marvel of medieval engineering. There are incredible views from the cathedral roof and of the interior, down through the painted panels of the octagon itself.
- How to get to Ely cathedral: Turn left onto Station Road and right onto Annesdale, leading to the pretty riverside with its choice of pubs and cafés. Turn left, with the water on your right, left again through Jubilee Gardens, cross the road, and keep going, following map below.
- It costs £9 to visit the cathedral (or £13 for a joint ticket with the Museum of Stained Glass), but you can get 2 for 1 entry when you show your train ticket and a voucher (get vouchers online or pick up a leaflet in the station). For more details, see our car-free guide to Ely with further interesting sights (also marked on the map below).
3. Chatham Historic Dockyard, Kent
Chatham’s Historic Dockyard has starred in numerous films and TV series, including recent release The Aeronauts and lots of scenes from Call the Midwife. The Crown filmed a dockside scene on Chatham’s Anchor Wharf. With thanks to the Historic Dockyard and Robert Radford for the photo.
- The docks are more like a whole town full of visitor attractions than just one. You could easily spend a day or more exploring and a ticket to the dockyard entitles you to visit as many times as you like for 12 months.
- You can book on the way into the docks for tours of the submarine HM Ocelot or of the Victorian Ropery, where rope is still made on the ¼ mile ropewalk.
- How to get to the Historic Dockyard: Take the train to Chatham. An arrow outside the station points right with a sign telling visitors the dockyard is a mile away (or about 30 minutes’ walk).
- Or get the bus: Buses 1 and 2, which leave frequently from the train or bus stations, stop close to the dockyard. If you already have a ticket, get off at “Main Gate” and go on in! If you need to buy a ticket, go one stop further and walk left at the roundabouts.