Solving mysteries with Enola Holmes
Based on the beloved book series by Nancy Springer, Enola Holmes is a dynamic new mystery-adventure film from Netflix which introduces the world’s greatest detective to his fiercest competition yet: his teenage sister. Taking starring roles were two of the places in our care: Benthall Hall in Shropshire and Ashridge in Hertfordshire.
The film features Millie Bobby Brown as Enola Holmes, Henry Cavill and Sam Clafin as Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, and Helena Bonham Carter as their mother Eudoria.
Benthall Hall, Shropshire
Surrounded by Shropshire countryside, and with a fine stone building and grand courtyard entrance, Benthall Hall was chosen as an ideal filming location for the exterior of ‘Ferndell’ - the Holmes family estate. However, a lot of work was needed to make this well-cared for historic place look wild and unkempt for the film.
Production Designer Michael Carlin said: ‘In the story we have the brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft, arriving home for the first time and Mycroft expressing dismay at the state of their home. He’s been sending his mother money for upkeep but she has more important things to do with the money.
‘The gardeners and the people taking care of the house at Benthall were brilliant in allowing the gardens to get really overgrown and letting us drape vines all over the exterior.’
Along with the return of Sherlock and Mycroft to their family home, this location was also used to film carriage rides through the horse chestnut avenue and through gates behind the church into the front courtyard. An assembling search party scene was also filmed on the front courtyard.
" It actually takes a lot of work to make a place look neglected - at Benthall the film crew added creeping vines, uncut grass, fake weeds and a shabby fake fountain. It was a really interesting comparison with how the house and grounds would normally appear."
Lying in close proximity to the major London film studios, the woods at Ashridge are no stranger to the silver screen. They’ve been used as a film location for a huge number of productions, from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to Les Misérables. However Enola Holmes was the first production that called for a temporary treehouse to be built in one of Ashridge’s beech trees.
Fortunately the local ranger team have plenty of experience when it comes to working with film crews, and were on hand throughout the filming process to make sure that the tree and it’s surroundings were well looked-after.
“All of the film kit was carried in rather than being transported by vehicles, which minimises damage to the ground and the roots of important trees,” said Area Ranger Chrissy Hardy.
“The construction team made sure that the tree bark was protected wherever the treehouse touched it, and a scaffold tower was erected to make it easier to get the kit, crew and actors up into the tree. On filming days we always had a team member on set to make sure that everything went smoothly, and answer any questions the crew had.”