We’re spotlighting some of the shows and movies we’re loving—and traveling vicariously through. Here, learn how you can jet off to London right from your living room with the Netflix hit The Crown.
When The Crown premiered the end of 2016, it made a splash in the made-for-streaming TV scene. The first ten-episode season is Netflix’s most expensive project to date, with the tab coming in at more than $100 million dollars. That big budget goes to The Crown’s impeccable cast—including Claire Foy as Elizabeth II and Matt Smith (whom you might recognize as the 11th Doctor Who) as her husband, Prince Philip—as well as costumes and, of course, sets.
Capturing the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II, from her father’s final days to her rocky relationship with an aging Winston Churchill, writer Peter Morgan gives viewers a peek into the notoriously private monarch’s past. It also means we get a look at life in midcentury London—at least from the Windsor family’s point of view—and get to visit some of Great Britain’s most famous places on screen.
A lot of The Crown’s interior scenes of Buckingham Palace are sets, but some filming also took place inside a real-life London landmark, Lancaster House. The mansion is situated near Buckingham Palace, on the edge of Green Park, and was once home to the Duke of York. Lancaster House has also served as a stand-in for a famous locale in the past and was used to shoot scenes for the 2013 Christmas episode of Downton Abbey.
While you can see the real Westminster Abbey on a tour of London, The Crown used the interiors of Ely Cathedral in the scholarly city of Cambridge for filming. Westminster has been the site of weddings and coronations since 1066, but Ely Cathedral’s Gothic interiors made it the perfect stand-in for staging Elizabeth’s marriage to Prince Phillip for The Crown*. It’s not the first time Ely Cathedral has doubled as its iconic counterpart—it also appears on the big screen in the film *The King’s Speech, which is about Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI.
The Crown recreated Winston Churchill’s residence at 10 Downing Street—the Prime Minister’s headquarters since the 1900s—on set. But, you can see the iconic, black-bricked Georgian abode yourself (from the outside) if you visit London on tour.
Elizabeth and Phillip attend a royal gala, which is set in the real-life Lyceum Theatre in London’s West End. Today, The Lion King is on the Lyceum’s stage, but the Beaux Arts building boasts more than 100 years of hosting performances from Shakespeare to Rogers and Hammerstein.
In for a bit of theater trivia? Bram Stoker, the author behind Dracula, worked as a business manager at the theater during the late 1800s. It was there that he got his idea for his famous vampire, inspired by the spooky appearance of his boss, Sir Henry Irving.
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