In 2009, the BBC aired a four-part mini-series of Jane Austen’s beloved novel Emma. The BBC adaptation of Emma stars Romola Garai as Emma Woodhouse and Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley.
The Emma television drama was written by Sandy Welch, who also wrote the acclaimed adaptations of Jane Eyre and North & South. The story follows Emma Woodhouse, a clever, young, and wealthy woman who lives with her father at Hartfield House. She loves the meddle in the love lives of the people close to her.
The BBC series was filmed in the Spring of 2009 in charming villages and beautiful historic houses in England. You can visit most of these BBC Emma film locations and this article will tell you more about the stately homes, villages, and other buildings that were used as a film location.
Where Was the 2009 BBC Adaptation of Emma Filmed?
Emma was filmed in historic houses and villages close to London so the film locations make for a perfect day trip from London. The majority of the BBC series was filmed in Surrey, Hertfordshire, and East Sussex. Beautiful stately homes, charming villages, and English country landscapes were used to let this Jane Austen story come to life. Read more about the Emma locations in this article.
Squerryes Court as Hartfield
The family home of Emma Woodhouse and her father is Hartfield. And in the BBC adaptation of Emma, the scenes at Hartfield are filmed at Squerryes Court in Kent.
Squerryes Court is a late 17th-century manor house outside the town of Westerham. The house has been owned by the Warde family for almost three hundred years. The early Georgian style house houses a fine collection of Old Master paintings. The paintings are from Italian, Dutch, and English painters. But you will also find a good collection of furniture, porcelain, and tapestries at the house.
Squerryes has been a working estate since the Warde family took residence. The North Downs estate is now a vineyard and events, tours, and wine tastings are offered. The estate is also the home of an AA Rosette award-winning restaurant.
The house can be visited through a guided tour. On the website you will find more information.
Loseley Park as Donwell Abbey
Donwell Abbey is the home of Emma’s friend Mr. Knightley. The scenes at the fictional Donwell Abbey are filmed at Loseley Park in Surrey. Loseley Park is a Tudor manor house that was built between 1562 and 1568 using stones that were bought from the ruined Waverley Abbey. It replaced a smaller house that Queen Elizabeth I deemed “inadequate”, she would only visit the house if something bigger was built instead.
In the house, you can find one of the few paintings of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s famous second wife. The gardens are Loseley Park are also worthy of a visit. They are based on a design by Gertrude Jekyll and feature several “rooms” with their own theme.
As a Jane Austen lover, you may recognize Loseley Park as it was also used as the film location for Barton Park in the BBC adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. But you can also see the house in The Crown, Belgravia, and Rebecca.
Chilham as Highbury Village
In the valley of the Great Stour River lies the charming village of Chilham. The well-preserved historic buildings make this village a popular film location and in the BBC series Emma, Chilham was used as the film location for Highbury Village.
In Chilham, you can also find Chilham Castle. Though technically no longer a castle, the name comes from the Norman castle that stood in this location. Today, you can visit the Jacobean manor house that was built in its place.
Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Send, Surrey
For 800 years, the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Send has been a place of worship. This country church in the country of Surrey was used as the wedding and Sunday service scenes in the 2009 adaptation of Emma.
Stocketts Manor as The Ball at the Crown Inn
Stocketts Manor is a medieval hall which dates back to the 15th century, though it has been restored in the 17th and 19th centuries. The Tudor-style house is located in the county of Surrey and it was used in Emma as the film location for the ball scenes at the Crown Inn.
6 Fitzroy Square, London as Mr. Knightley’s London House
6 Fitzroy Square is an elegant Georgian terraced house in London. This 18th century house was designed by the famous architect Robert Adam and in Emma it was used as the film location for Mr. Knightley’s London townhouse.
The scenes where Emma and Harriet Smith visit the poor are filmed at Hatfield in Hertfordshire. Along the wooden path, you see a church which is St. Etheldreda’s Church in Hatfield.
Hatfield is a small town in Hertfordshire, not too far from London. The town is known for Hatfield House, a Jacobean country house that was built by Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I. It is currently the home of the Marquess of Salisbury. The historic early 17th-century house is open to the public and, together with the Emma filming locations, well worth a visit during a day trip from London.
Beachy Head as the end shot
Due to the careful nature of Emma’s father, she has not traveled. In the BBC series Emma we see a scene which we normally do not see in a Jane Austen adaptation: namely a short glimpse of what happens after the wedding.
In BBC Emma, Mr. Knightley takes Emma to the coast to see the sea. These scenes are filmed at Beachy Head in East Sussex. Beachy Head is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, located on the south coast of England. The mighty white cliffs offer a great view of the English Channel and it’s certainly worthy of a visit.
Take a look at this guide to Beachy Head if you’re thinking of visiting this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England.
About BBC Emma
The 2009 BBC adaptation of Emma was writted by Sandy Welch. The series was nominated for four Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe.
The cast includes Romola Garai as Emma Woodhouse, Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley, Michael Gambon as Mr. Woodhouse, Louise Dylan as Harriet Smith, Rupert Evans as Frank Churchill, Tamsin Greig as Miss Bates, Robert Bathurst as Mr. Weston, Jodhi May as Mrs. Weston, Christina Cole as Augusta Elton, and Blake Ritson as Mr. Elton.
In 2020, Emma was adaptated into a movie directed by Autumn de Wilde and starring Anya Taylor-Joy as Emma and Johnny Flynn as Mr. Knightley. The film locations of that adaptation, including Wilton House and Firle place cna be found here.