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The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden's Yorkshire filming locations

Julie Smith 29 September 2020

The Secret Garden is a classic piece of English literature that has been loved by children and adults alike since it was first written by Frances Hodgson Burnett and published in 1911.

The book is set within the North York Moors at the fictional Misselthwaite Manor and celebrates the rejuvenating power of the bracing Yorkshire air and the beauty that can be found in an English country garden.

It has been adapted for film and TV several times over the years and we can’t wait to watch the latest star-studded version - especially as it showcases a number of our favourite Yorkshire locations. If you fancy following in the footsteps of cast members such as Colin Firth and Julie Walters, here are some of the Yorkshire locations featured in the film:  

Allerton Castle

This 19th-century gothic revival castle has been featured in various film and TV shows over the years including Sherlock Holmes - The Sign of Four and Lost in Austen. It’s set within 200 acres of grounds between York and Harrogate and the grand building and garden were used for several exterior shots of the fictional Misselthwaite Manor.

As well as featuring in TV and film productions, Allerton Castle can be booked as a sumptuous wedding venue and used for hosting an extravagant private dinner. Typically there are a number of public tours throughout the year, but you’ll need to wait until 2021 to uncover Allerton Castle’s The Secret Garden filming locations for yourself. 

Address: Allerton Castle, Allerton Mauleverer, HG5 0SE 

Stay nearby: Moat Hall Cottage, a cosy two-bedroom cottage located in the nearby hamlet of Little Ouseburn.

Fountains Abbey

The magnificent Fountains Abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s nestled in the rolling hills of Nidderdale. The sprawling gardens had already been featured in a 1993 adaptation of The Secret Garden so were top of the list to be used as a filming location for this latest incarnation of the classic novel. 

In the 1993 version Fountain Hall was used as the exterior of Misselthwaite Manor, however this time the ancient abbey ruins are the star of the show. They were transformed into a garden temple complete with vine-covered walls and you’ll see Mary run around them with her trusty canine companion Jemima in the latest The Secret Garden film.

There are plenty of adventures to be had around Fountains Abbey and the adjoining Studley Royal Water Park. The beautiful dog-friendly grounds are filled with scenic trails, mesmerising viewpoints, secret follies and the wonderfully atmospheric abbey ruins.

The National Trust site is typically open to visitors throughout the year and standard prices are £13 for adults and £6.50 for children.

Address: Fountains Abbey, Ripon, HG4 3DY

Stay nearby: Skell Garden Cottage, a two-bedroom cottage on the edge of Ripon with a secret garden of its own that makes the most of its secluded spot.

Helmsley Walled Garden

The glorious Helmsley Walled Garden was first built in 1758 to provide fruit, vegetables and flowers to the Feversham family who lived at the nearby Duncombe Park estate. After falling into disrepair, the garden was restored in the 1990s with an ethos of the restorative power of horticulture that matches perfectly with the message of The Secret Garden.

The beautiful borders here were shot for a number of different scenes and the riot of colourful plants really do capture the magic of protagonist Mary’s secret garden.   

Helmsley’s secret walled garden is hidden behind the towering Helmsley Castle and features a number of different sections, including a new Secret Garden area, which you can wander around at your leisure during a visit. Entry to the dog-friendly garden is £8 for adults and free for children until the end of October.

Address: Helmsley Walled Garden, Cleveland Way, Helmsley, YO62 5AH  

Stay nearby: Coco, a vibrant and contemporary dog-friendly holiday home in the heart of Helmsley for up to 4 people and a dog.

Duncombe Park

Image credit: Berwickswan

 

The Duncombe Park estate is one of Yorkshire’s finest historic houses, nestled in around 450 acres of North York Moors parkland near Helmsley. The majestic building dates back to the early 18th century and has been previously featured in ITV’s Victoria and the 2016 Dad’s Army film.

In the 2020 version of The Secret Garden, Duncombe Park is featured as the imposing Misselthwaite Manor during a number of scenes. Other sections of the grounds that can be seen in the film include a Father Time Sundial sculpture and an impressive tunnel of trees.

If you fancy visiting Duncombe Park for yourself, the parkland is open throughout the year and you can enjoy exploring the nature reserves and walks for a cost of just £1 per person. The formal gardens are open for around eight weeks each summer and the entrance fee is £5 for adults and £3 for children. Duncombe Park is also home to the National Centre for Birds of Prey where you wander around 40 different aviaries and can watch incredible flying demonstrations from falcons, hawks, buzzards and eagles.  

Address: Estate Office, Duncombe Park, Helmsley, YO62 5EB

Stay nearby: St Aidans, a dog-friendly converted church with original features located in a sleepy North York Moors hamlet near Helmsley.

Farndale

Located right in the centre of the North York Moors, Farndale is known for its peaceful heather-clad moorland and a swathe of native wild daffodils which flower along the length of the valley each spring. 

Farndale was used to film the North York Moors landscape for The Secret Garden and the moorland here is a popular choice for walkers with scenic trails, unspoilt views, sleepy hamlets and the odd sheep wandering across the road.

A popular Farndale walk to try is the route up to Blakey Ridge, the highest point in the North York Moors and home to 16th-century The Lion Inn where you can call in for refreshments after taking in the views. You can also follow the path of the ‘Daffodil Dale’ to the nearby village of Hutton-le-Hole. It’s one of the prettiest places around, with a stream running right through the village green.   

Address: Low Mill Car Park, North York Moors National Park, YO62 7UY

Stay nearby: West View Cottage, a dog-friendly three-bedroom farmhouse that’s located in the Farndale hamlet of Church Houses with a country pub close by. 

More UK filming locations used for The Secret Garden:

As well as the five Yorkshire locations featured in The Secret Garden, a collection of other UK National Trust sites, stately homes, and gardens were used to bring Misselthwaite Manor to life. Here are some more of the UK filming locations you can actually visit:

Bodnant Garden, Conwy - a secluded National Trust owned garden that’s nestled in the foothills of Snowdonia with an idyllic stream surrounded by flowers and a stunning 55-metre long Laburnum Arch that was featured in the film.

Osterley Park, London – The National Trust’s Osterley Park makes an appearance in The Secret Garden as the kitchens of Misselthwaite Manor and there are also beautiful gardens to explore at this Georgian country estate in Isleworth.

Knebworth House, Stevenage - the grounds at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire are probably best known as a concert venue but it’s the ornate rooms at this romantic mansion house that are featured in the film. 

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Weymouth - the gardens at this sheltered woodland spot in Dorset were used for the grounds of Mary’s parents’ colonial home in India. Abbotsbury dates back to the 18th century and its unique microclimate is ideal for growing an array of tropical plants. 

Harlaxton Manor, Grantham - the facade of this grand 19th century country house in Lincolnshire was used, along with Duncombe Park in Yorkshire, to shoot the exterior of the fictional Misselthwaite Manor.     

Trebah Gardens, Falmouth - these gorgeous 26-acre subtropical gardens in Cornwall were perfect for the more exotic parts of Mary’s secret garden and the ponds and tropical tree dells at Trebah are featured in several scenes of the film. 

Puzzlewood, Coleford - this fairytale style woodland is located deep in the Forest of Dean and made the perfect enchanted setting for Mary’s magical secret garden. There’s an otherworldly feel to Puzzlewood and from twisted trees to hidden nooks there is lots to seek out during a visit. 

Other Yorkshire gardens to visit

If The Secret Garden has inspired you to seek out some other gorgeous gardens, here are some of our favourite gems that are tucked away in the North Yorkshire countryside: 

Himalayan Gardens & Sculpture Park, Ripon

The 45 acres of Himalayas-inspired gardens include 80 contemporary sculptures, three lakes, and a feature Balinese pagoda. There are nearly 20,000 plants in the garden including the North of England’s largest collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias. 

Scampston Walled Garden, Malton 

This contemporary walled garden is made up from a collection of contrasting ‘rooms’, created by Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf. It’s set within the 18th-century walls of the grand estate’s original kitchen garden and is surrounded by acres of Capability Brown-designed parkland.   

Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens, York

This quintessential English country cottage garden has been carefully tended for over 40 years by owners Vanessa and John Cook. Stillingfleet is the private garden of a family home but the wildlife meadows, rare shrubs and formal Rill Garden are open to the public on selected days.   

Newby Hall Gardens, Ripon

The gardens at Newby Hall were mostly created in the 1920s and include one of the UK’s longest herbaceous borders along with a curving pergola of laburnum trees and a walled autumn garden with late flowering plants, chosen specifically to attract bees and butterflies.

Yorkshire film and TV locations

The Secret Garden is just one of the productions that have been filmed in Yorkshire over the years.  All Creatures Great and Small, another classic Yorkshire book which tells the story of vet James Herriot, has recently been re-made for TV with Grassington standing in as the fictional village of Darrowby. Some of the other places featured on the screen over the years include:

  • Goathland - the fictional Aidansfield in Heartbeat and Hogsmeade Station in Harry Potter
  • Kettlewell - featured as the fictional village of Knapeley in Calendar Girls
  • Castle Howard - best known for featuring in two adaptations of Brideshead Revisited
  • Aysgarth Falls - featured in the 90s classic, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Discover more Yorkshire filming locations

Plan your visit to Yorkshire

If you have been inspired to visit Yorkshire, you'll find lots of lovely places to rest your head after days of exploring. From romantic boltholes in pretty North York Moors villages to family farmhouses that are perfect for an outdoor adventure in the Yorkshire Dales, browse our range of Yorkshire cottages and find your perfect base. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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