‘Becoming Elizabeth’ filming locations: Bristol, Banbury and beyond

Do you miss royal content? Well, never fear, your drought is about to end. On June 12, Starz is set to premiere Become Elizabeth, which chronicles the life of Elizabeth Tudor (Alicia von Rittberg), also known as Queen Elizabeth I, as she becomes ensnared in the political and sexual intrigue of the English court en route to the crown . The series promises to delve into Elizabeth’s life in a coming-of-age style narrative, while exploring the depths and gender roles that permeate the monarchy, as well as those who dare to break them. As is often the case with lavish period pieces, the production design is just as important as the story, which is why it’s time to talk about where Become Elizabeth was filmed.

Bristol Studios and Bottle Yard

Perhaps the most frequently used location was Bottle Yard Studios, a massive studio in Bristol. The space includes several fully equipped warehouses, tanks, sound stages and green screen stages. The studio itself has published praise it has received from the Become Elizabeth before the show’s premiere: “The Bottle Yard Studios was the perfect base for Become Elizabethsaid producer Lisa Osborne. Additionally, the show’s production designer, Stevie Herbert, said that while most of the show’s exteriors were shot on location, interior shots of Haddon Hall, Wells Cathedral, the Palace of Whitehall and Chelsea Palace had all been filmed at Bottle Yard.

According Bristol Post, the production also used Bristol Cathedral as an exterior filming location, given its importance to Henry VIII, Elizabeth’s father. The construction of the cathedral took nearly 660 years. Henry VIII was actually one of those who elevated the building’s status to that of a cathedral in 1542, and a stained glass image of the former royal currently hangs within the walls of the structure.

Photo courtesy of Starz

Somerset

Wells Cathedral in Somerset was a major location for the production team, as were Somerset Bishop’s Palace and Barrington Court. It is not yet known exactly why the production team used the cathedral built in 1239, other than the exterior work. Within sight of the cathedral are the Bishop’s Palace and Gardens, also known as ‘the heart of the wells’. For over 800 years, the place has been home to the bishops of the Diocese of Bath and Wells. Additionally, exterior shots were captured at Barrington Court, which served as a Tudor mansion upon its completion in the 1550s.

Gloucestershire

Home to a region of the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire provided several filming locations for Become Elizabeth, sparticularly Holy Cross Church at Avening and Berkeley Castle. While the church isn’t as tied to the legacy of Elizabeth I, Berkeley Castle quite is. Elizabeth I was known to periodically stay at the castle, and the suite she frequented still proudly bears her name. In addition, the sheets that Elizabeth I used during her stays are still on display within the castle grounds. While much of the interior of the castle remains intact, the exterior of the castle was damaged during the English Civil War of 1642.

Cardiff

Almost 2000 years old, Cardiff Castle remains one of the most iconic structures in Wales. When production took over the estate, Wales Online reported that the exterior of the castle was being “transformed”. Considering all the palace intrigue that is sure to happen in Become Elizabeth, Cardiff Castle could realistically replace any number of Elizabethan structures popularized at the time.

Photo courtesy of Starz

Cooking well

Bakewell, England is home to Haddon Hall, a country house on the River Wye that has been home to many dukes since its origins in the 11th century. The location first started out as a medieval mansion, before frequent additions were made to transform the hall into a more Tudor-looking complex. Queen Elizabeth was known to stay at the estate, lodging in a large detailed bedroom which was recreated in watercolor in 1869.

Banbury

Banbury is home to Broughton Castle, which, despite having no obvious significance to Elizabeth I, still served as an exterior location for the series. It is known for its moated entrance and inner mansion dating from 1306. However, most of what you will see of the riverside mansion was added in the 1500s.

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