Love Netflix’s Persuasion? 5 movie locations you can visit, from a picturesque seaside town to grand houses
- The Netflix adaptation of Jane Austen’s final completed novel was filmed across a range of charming places in England, many of which the public can visit
- Time will tell whether Netflix’s free walking tours of locations from hit shows such as Emily in Paris and Bridgerton will be extended to Persuasion
Netflix’s new production of Persuasion, which includes Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding among its ensemble cast, has had Jane Austen purists reaching for the smelling salts.
Austen’s final completed novel follows the travails of heartbroken heroine Anne Elliot (Dakota Johnson) who was once “persuaded” to reject the marriage proposal of Captain Frederick Wentworth as he had no status or fortune.
When Wentworth reappears several years later, Anne is also been wooed by the charming and handsome William Elliot (Golding), who as her distant cousin is heir to her family home, Kellynch Hall.
Netflix’s version has been criticised for gauchely including modern-day language and breaking the fourth wall with knowing quips direct to the camera.
Although the adaptation has sparked controversy over its inauthenticity, what Netflix has stayed true to are the locations. Austen’s novel was partly set in Lyme Regis and Bath in southwest England – one of the rare instances the author referenced real places in her fiction. Both were used as locations for the Netflix production.
Netflix has found that the settings of its dramas are a key part of their appeal to viewers. A Netflix spokesperson recently noted that the location of a series or film frequently becomes the destination viewers most want to visit, and that they show an increased interest in the landmarks, history, and food and drink of those locations.
“Now we want to find new ways to connect members to the stories, and the places, that they love,” the spokesperson added.
That’s why Netflix recently partnered with Sandemans New Europe Tours to offer a series of free guided walking tours of Paris, Madrid and London that not only shared the history of the cities but highlighted locations from Netflix shows such as Emily in Paris and Bridgerton, and revealed behind-the-scenes insights.
Time will tell whether the tours will be extended and if Persuasion will be added to the roster. In the meantime, a number of locations seen in the production are open to the public.
Kellynch Hall, which Anne’s vain and feckless father Sir Walter (Richard E Grant) has to rent to Admiral Croft to make money, is, alas, a private house (Trafalgar Park, in Wiltshire). But the following locations the public can visit:
1. Lyme Regis, Dorset
Jane Austen was apparently a fan of “Lyme”, a picturesque and historic seaside town on the south coast of England, and its surrounding countryside. The author stayed there at least twice with her family – as her letters record – and included the location in Persuasion.
In the 1818 novel she wrote, “the remarkable situation of the town, the principal street almost hurrying into the water, the walk to the Cobb, skirting round the pleasant little bay, which, in the season, is animated with bathing machines and company; the Cobb itself, its old wonders and new improvements, with the very beautiful line of cliffs stretching out to the east of the town, are what the stranger’s eye will seek; and a very strange stranger it must be, who does not see charms in the immediate environs of Lyme, to make him wish to know it better.”
The town – also a star of the BBC’s 2020 period drama Ammonite – features in several key scenes, including the one in which Anne first encounters William.
Lyme Cobb – a distinctive harbour wall built to protect the town – is also central; notably when the party is out for a stroll and Anne’s friend Louisa Musgrove falls. The exact location is thought to be the precarious “granny’s teeth” stone steps that link the upper and low levels of the Cobb.
Several of Lyme Regis’ sand and pebble beaches and clifftop walks feature in the film. The scenic South West Coast Path National Trail passes through the town and takes in the Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast, with stunning views over Lyme Bay.
Austen is said to have stayed on Broad Street and a plaque on the road’s Pyne House reads, “This is the most likely lodging of Jane Austen.” No doubt it will now become an Instagram hotspot for Persuasion fans despite the film’s brutal reviews.
2. Chenies Manor, Buckinghamshire
For the Musgrove family’s Uppercross estate, two locations were used.
The scenes for “the great house” were filmed at Brympton House, Somerset, which is accessible only through private hire. The interiors of Uppercross Cottage – home to Anne’s sister Mary and her husband, Charles Musgrove – were filmed at the sprawling Tudor manor house, Chenies, in Rickmansworth. Guided tours detailing the house’s colourful history – described by architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner as “a fascinating puzzle” – are available, bookable in advance. And the pretty gardens play host to plant and flower festivals in the summer months.
3. West Wycombe Park, Buckinghamshire
This beautiful Palladian-style house stands in for the grand residence of Lady Dalrymple and her daughter – relations of the Elliots. The bucolic parkland was also the filming location for Uppercross’ woods and meadows – the setting for Anne and her friends’ frequent walks.
The house was commissioned in the 18th century by Sir Francis Dashwood, founder of the Hell Fire Club; not the high-school Dungeons and Dragons group from Stranger Things Season Four but the louche club for upper-class rakes otherwise known as the Order of the Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe.
The house is open to the public from June to August and the grounds from April to August.
4. Osterley Park and House, Greater London
Standing in for Bath’s assembly rooms is this Georgian country estate on the far reaches of West London (you can reach it on the Piccadilly tube line, en route to Heathrow Airport).
The house was originally built in the 1570s but transformed in the 1760s and is preserved as it would have been in the 1780s. Its Long Gallery is the setting for Bath society gatherings in Persuasion. The property is closed for other filming engagements on some dates this summer.
5. Bath, Somerset
The city, renowned for its honeystone Georgian architecture and highly fashionable during Austen’s time, makes several appearances in the film.
The striking facade of Royal Crescent features in a scene of Anne and Lady Russell walking together in intense discussion. The two were also filmed on the colonnaded Bath Street, with some of the high-street store windows propped with Regency finery and renamed Madame Lefroy Haberdasher and Milliner. Bath Street is also where you’ll find the entrance to the Thermae Spa – a modern incarnation of the ancient hot springs that drew visitors to the town in Austen’s day.
Gravel Walk, a footpath that links Royal Crescent with Queen’s Square, appears both in the book and the film location as the backdrop for – without giving anything away – the most important scene of all.
Persuasion is available for streaming on Netflix now