Immerse yourself in the history and heritage of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall saga with these locations from the books and TV adaptation.
With real-world settings from the lives of Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII, there’s no better place to see the world of Wolf Hall come to life.
Montacute House in Somerset
As well as representing Greenwich Palace in the ‘Wolf Hall’ adaptation, this Elizabethan manor has also appeared in major films such as ‘The Libertine’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility’. You’ll recognise it from the ‘Wolf Hall’ series as Henry VIII’s main London seat and the site of Anne Boleyn’s arrest.
Blickling Hall, Norfolk
This Jacobean house that stands on the site of a former medieval manor thought to have been the birthplace of Anne Boleyn. The manor was bought by Anne’s great-grandfather and Anne’s ghost is said to haunt Blickling on May 19th, the anniversary of her death.
Barrington Court, Somerset
This Tudor house was restored by the Lyle family in the 1920s and represented York Place, the home of Cardinal Wolsey, in the BBC adaptation of ‘Wolf Hall’. It was specially dressed for filming, but is usually free from collections and furniture – allowing you and your imagination free reign. Outside, you’ll find breathtaking gardens and working orchards.
Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire
Lacock Abbey is open to the public all year round and visitors of all ages are likely to be familiar with this building from TV and film. As well as representing the exterior of Wolf Hall, the Abbey has also appeared in ‘Cranford’, the ‘Harry Potter’ films and ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’.
The Abbey does not only share this television link with the king. The real Henry VIII actually sold the Abbey, following the dissolution of the monasteries, to one of his couriers who converted it into a house.
Chastleton House, Oxfordshire
Chastleton House was built between 1607 and 1612 by a wealthy wool merchant as a demonstration of his status and power. His descendants couldn’t afford to update the building and so it remains a stunning ‘time capsule’ in its original form. You may have to book in advance as tickets are ‘timed’ to restrict visitor numbers, giving you an authentic feel for the history of the place.
In ‘Wolf Hall’, Chastleton’s small stone courtyard provided the backdrop for the dramatic scenes of Cromwell’s childhood, while interiors represent Wolf Hall, the Seymour family seat and the place where Jane Seymour first catches Henry’s eye.
Great Chalfield Manor and Garden, Wiltshire
Great Chalfield Manor is a moated manor built between 1465 and 1480. Another popular filming location, it has been seen in ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’, ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ and ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’. For ‘Wolf Hall’ its interiors stood in for Austin Friars, Thomas Cromwell’s home.
The gardens are the jewel in the Manor’s crown, with terraces, topiary houses, a gazebo, lily pond, roses and views across the spring-fed fishpond.
Nunnington Hall, Yorkshire
This location evolved from Tudor beginnings. William Parr, brother of Henry VIII’s sixth and last wife Catherine Parr, inherited Nunnington Hall but his involvement in the scheme to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne led to his estates being forfeit to the Crown.
Holy Island, Northumberland
If you’re heading to the Scottish Borders, Holy Island is a scenic spot to visit – but you’ll have to wait for low tide in order to drive across the access road. Henry VIII took over Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island as part of the dissolution of the monasteries. Located close to the Scottish border south of Berwick upon Tweed, Holy Island was strategically important as a deep water harbour.
Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire
Once one of the richest religious houses in Europe. Its ruins are now the most complete Cistercian abbey remains in the country. The ruins can be viewed at a distance from ‘Anne Boleyn’s Seat’ in Studley Royal Water Garden, so named because of the headless statue which stands there facing them.