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The Pursuit of Love film locations

Andrew Scott in the Gilt Leather Parlour at Dyrham Park during the filming of The Pursuit of Love
Andrew Scott in the Gilt Leather Parlour at Dyrham Park during the filming of The Pursuit of Love | © BBC

The Pursuit of Love is a 2021 BBC drama that follows the wild at heart Linda Radlett, played by Lily James, as she embarks upon a quest in search of romance. Dyrham Park, Stourhead and Lacock proved to be ideal backdrops for Linda’s whirlwind tour taking on a starring role in her journey and providing the house team with some memorable moments during filming.

About The Pursuit of Love

Set during the interwar period, The Pursuit of Love, based on Nancy Mitford’s 1945 novel, stars Lily James as Linda Radlett and Emily Beecham as her best friend Fanny Logan. In the series, which aired on the BBC in 2021, their friendship is put to the test as Fanny settles for a quiet life, and Linda decides to follow her heart, whatever the cost. Most of the filming took place in the South West of England, including several of the historic houses we look after.

Filming at Dyrham Park

Dyrham Park near Bath is no stranger to period dramas, having appeared in The Remains of the Day, Sense and Sensibility (2008) and ITV’s Sanditon. For The Pursuit of Love, the 17th-century mansion stood in for parts of Alconleigh, the Radlett family’s home.

Most of the action took place in the Gilt Leather Parlour, which was transformed into a ballroom for two coming out balls. The first in honour of Linda’s older sister Louisa, followed by Fanny and Linda’s joint celebration where Linda meets Tony Kroesig for the first time, the handsome young heir to a banking family.

Andrew Scott’s silk pyjamas

The house team were on hand throughout filming to make sure that the precious interiors and works of art we care for were protected. Although this meant long hours and a lot of hard work there were plenty of highlights too, including watching Andrew Scott, who plays the Radletts’ eccentric neighbour Lord Merlin, dancing around the parlour in silk pyjamas.

‘It was fascinating to see how the props teams were able to transform a room within hours and think of everything from flowers to the details of a light switch.’

A quote by Eilidh AucklandNational Trust Dyrham House and Collections Manager

Other parts of Dyrham were also used for filming, including the Great Hall which was the site of Linda’s first London dance, and the Plod Room, which was transformed into the bookshop where Linda works in episode two. The garden also makes a brief appearance as part of Lord Merlin's estate.

Filming of The Pursuit of Love in the Plod Room at Dyrham Park, Bath
Filming of The Pursuit of Love in the Plod Room at Dyrham Park, Bath | © BBC

Filming at Lacock Abbey

The cloisters of Lacock Abbey have played the part of several schools and universities, most famously taking on the role of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. For this series they stood in for Christ Church College, Oxford, where Linda and Fanny attend a party hosted by Tony Kroesig in episode two.

Lily James on the set of The Pursuit of Love at Stourhead, Wiltshire
Lily James on the set of The Pursuit of Love at Stourhead, Wiltshire | © BBC

Filming at Stourhead

Stourhead is known for its world-famous landscape garden, but in this case it was the Palladian-style house that took centre stage, providing the interiors of Linda’s chic Parisian apartment in episode three. Filming took place in the Column Room and the Italian Room, which became her bedroom and living room respectively.

Despite the garden's fame, Stourhead House has rarely appeared on screen, so it was a new experience for the house team. It took almost a month to prepare for the eight-day shoot; moving precious paintings and objects, taking out furniture the film crew didn't need in shot, and covering non-movables with protective layers.

Transforming the house

The team even had lessons in making bespoke door protectors from a specialist filming conservator and discovered the many and varied uses of pipe lagging, such as fitting it around wires to prevent them rubbing on skirting boards.

Once the film crew arrived, all their props and furniture were laid out on the drive for inspection to make sure no pests were brought in which could endanger Stourhead’s precious objects and works of art. Once everything was given the all-clear, the crew got to work set-dressing the rooms, including the Entrance Hall, which was transformed into a glamorous art-deco nightclub.

What it’s like on set in a historic house

Stourhead’s House and Collections Officer Peta Henley was on set throughout to help make sure that everything went smoothly: ‘On filming days there would be a lot of frenetic activity with the crew dashing about setting up cameras, lighting and sound equipment, all under the watchful eyes of the house team. Then the shout of “rolling!” would echo throughout the house and it would suddenly go quiet, until someone called “cut!” and everyone sprang back into action.’

‘We were able to watch the scenes being filmed on monitors which was incredible, especially if we were in the same room as the director's cohort. It really brought home the fact that movie magic was happening just around the corner.’

A highlight for the Stourhead team also involved actor Andrew Scott, in this instance watching him eat multiple chocolate eclairs while filming a scene in the Italian room, and the house team were allowed to finish off the leftover eclairs once filming wrapped for the day.

Supporting special places

As well as showing off beautiful locations, filming directly benefits the places in our care that star in the production. The income from location fees goes straight back into conservation work to care for historic houses and landscapes, so that we’ll all be able to see them both on screen and in real life for years to come.

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Fancy taking a break somewhere you've seen on screen? From The Secret Garden to Game of Thrones and Harry Potter, many of the places we care for have been filming locations for much-loved movies and TV shows.