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Tuesday July 23rd 2024

Emma | 1996

Emma filming location: Came House, Winterborne Came, Dorset
Emma location: ‘Hartfield’ – home of Emma and her father: Came House, Winterborne Came, Dorset | Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo / Caroline Eastwood

Director Douglas McGrath (co-writer of Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway) sets his adaptation of the Jane Austen novel in a perpetually golden late afternoon, though unfortunately its syrupy sweetness was upstaged by the more spirited Nineties update, Clueless.

‘Hartfield’, the home of compulsive matchmaker Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow) and her hypochondriac father is mostly Came House at Winterborne Came in south Dorset. Came House previously featured as ‘Barton Park’ in the 1981 BBC TV mini-series of Sense and Sensibility.

It's two miles south of Dorchester and five miles north of Weymouth, and romantic Austenites will be delighted to know that it’s now a country house wedding venue.

Emma location: Stratfield Saye, Berkshire
Emma location: the dinner party at 'Hartfield': Stratfield Saye, Hampshire | Photograph: Shutterstock / BasPhoto

Some of Hartfield’s interiors were filmed elsewhere. The dinner party, where Emma introduces Mr Elton (Alan Cumming) to Harriet Smith (Toni Collette) and Mr Weston announces that his son, Frank Churchill (Ewan McGregor) is returning to the village, is the Dining Room of Stratfield Saye, between Reading and Basingstoke, in Hampshire.

Once home to the Pitt family, Stratfield Saye was bought by the state in 1817 and presented as a gift to the Duke of Wellington following his victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. There are guided tours, which allow you to see the grave of Copenhagen, the horse Wellington rode at Waterloo, and the Duke's own astonishingly elaborate funeral carriage.

Stratfield Saye was recently used as the cavalry barracks in Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, and its grounds hosted filming for Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

Emma location: Syon House
Emma location: Emma expects Mr Churchill to reveal his feelings: the Long Gallery, Syon House | Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo / Bildarchiv Monheim GmbH

Hartfield’s book-lined gallery in which Emma later assumes that Frank Churchill is about to reveal his feelings for her, is the Long Gallery of Syon House, Syon Park.

Set in grounds landscaped by Capability Brown, the house is on the north bank of the Thames eight miles west of London, off the A4 between Brentford and Isleworth (tube/ rail: Gunnersbury Park). The Great Hall is open to the public.

A frequent film star, you can see more of its elegant rooms and corridors in The Madness of King George, Joseph Losey’s Accident, The Wings of the Dove and even The Avengers (the 1998 film of the Sixties TV series) and Transformers: The Last Knight.

The local village of ‘Highbury, Surrey’ is Evershot, eight miles south of Yeovil in Dorset, where the Old Manor stands in for the schoolhouse and the main street, Fore Street, was dressed with sheep pens and straw. The ‘haberdashery store’ is the village's double-fronted post office at 21 Fore Street.

Evershot was the model for ‘Evershead’, where Tess of the d'Urbervilles stops to have breakfast in the Thomas Hardy novel.

Emma filming location: Mapperton, Bridport, Dorset
Emma location: ‘Randalls’: Mapperton, Bridport, Dorset | Photograph: Flickr © Rictor Norton & David Allen

‘Randalls’, the Westons’ house, is Mapperton, home of the Earl and Duchess of Sandwich, five miles northeast of Bridport, also in Dorset.

Its beautiful gardens were previously seen in 1995 historical drama Restoration, with Robert Downey Jr and Meg Ryan, while the house itself becomes the farm inherited by Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) in Thomas Vinterberg’s 2015 version of Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd.

Emma filming location: Crichel House, Newtown, Dorset
Emma location: ‘Donwell Abbey’, the home of Mr Knightley: Crichel House, Newtown, Dorset | Photograph: Wikimedia / Toby

Remaining in Dorset, the exterior of ‘Donwell Abbey’, the home of Mr Knightley (Jeremy Northam), is Crichel House, Newtown, a private home set in 400 acres of parkland.

The original Tudor house was largely destroyed by fire in 1742. It was rebuilt for Sir William Napier by Francis Cartwright and the strangely-named John Bastard – one of the Bastard brothers (if you're wondering, Bastard is an ancient Norman surname, dating from a period before illegitimacy had acquired snobbish social stigma).

To improve the view from the house, the local village was moved – hence the name ‘New Town’. Those were the days, eh?

Emma filming location: Claydon, Middle Claydon, Buckinghamshire
Emma location: The grand dance at ‘Donwell Abbey’: Claydon, Middle Claydon, Buckinghamshire

The grand dance, where Harriet is cruelly snubbed and Mr Knightley thoughtfully steps in and asks her to dance, is the magnificent yellow and white rococo North Hall of Claydon House, Middle Claydon, a National Trust property thirteen miles northwest of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, a grand 18th century home decorated with astonishing wood-carving by Luke Lightfoot.

Claydon is another location used in the 2015 film of Far From The Madding Crowd, as the home of Mr Boldwood (Michael Sheen).

Emma and Harriet visit the ailing Mrs Clark in her meagre home, which is one of the 17th century Helyar Almshouses at East Coker, in Somerset. The twelve Almshouses are still run as senior housing.

More interiors were filmed at Stafford House, West Stafford, east of Dorchester in Dorset, which is now home to Gosford Park and Downton Abbey scriptwriter Julian Fellowes.