Combine Britain’s rich history with the production and storytelling might of the BBC, and you can see with British period dramas are popular worldwide. And it’s not just the stories of the past that make our TV shows and movies so bingeworthy. The settings, costumes and historical characters keep your eyes glued to the screen.
So, which TV shows and movies give you a glimpse into the UK’s history? Here’s our favourites.
Downtown Abbey tells the tale of an aristocratic family and their servants during the early 20th century, a time when the UK’s social makeup was going through some radical changes. Besides the storyline, what we do love most about Downtown Abbey? The castle in which it was filmed.
Highclere Castle in North Hampshire is where most exterior scenes of Downtown Abbey were shot. This 19th-century, Jacobethan mansion is truly awe-inspiring, as are the beautifully landscaped gardens within the 5,000-acre estate.
You can see the beautiful Blenheim Palace, where Sir Winston Churchill was born and raised, plus visit some iconic filming locations from the popular BBC TV series ‘Downton Abbey’ on a fantastic tour with Evan Evans.
The British Royal Family is probably the world’s most famous monarchy. The Crown, a Netflix hit that’s been running since 2016, is a biographical drama that chronicles the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who is currently the world’s longest-serving monarch.
The Crown shows you what life was like for the upper classes during the 1950s. And some of its scenes feature our nation’s most regal locations. Ely Cathedral, London’s Lyceum Theatre and Hertfordshire’s extravagant Hatfield House can be seen in all their glory in The Crown.
Peaky Blinders features Cillian Murphy as the head of a crime family in Birmingham. It’s set during the aftermath of WWI, when poor economic conditions and corruption led to a high rise in gang activity. If you want to see England’s second-largest city when it was an industrial, smog-covered powerhouse – and watch one of the most fascinating gangster stories to come from the UK – we highly recommend Peaky Blinders.
Let’s leave the Capital and head up north to the Lake District, one of the UK’s most beautiful Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s England’s most mountainous region, covered in greenery with sweeping countryside views. And, the numerous chocolate-box villages throughout the National Park only add to its charm.
The Lake District was once home to the world-famous author, Beatrix Potter. Want to see her Hill Top home and the stunning settings that inspired her novels? What Miss Potter, the hit 2006 biographical movie that details her life.
The Darkest Hour
The Darkest Hour is a 2017 movie that tells the story of how Winston Churchill came to be the Prime Minister just after the UK declared war on Germany. His leadership skills have made him a legendary figure, and his personality is perfectly captured by Gary Oldman.
Most scenes were filmed in Manchester, in the Town Hall and John Rylands Library. Both locations were renovated to replicate the look of the Houses of Parliament. If you’re ever in Manchester, don’t forget to check out other architectural gems such as Manchester Central Library, Manchester Museum and the Cathedral.