Where was The Secret Garden filmed? Yorkshire filming locations for the 2020 movie - and when it’s out in cinemas

Much of the new film was shot in God’s own county – but where exactly did the crew visit?

Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 2:47 pm
(Photo: Sky)

Sky’s adaptation of classic fantasy novel The Secret Garden has finally been released, following a spate of Covid-19 related delays.

Originally scheduled to hit cinema screens in April, the film was pushed back to August, and then October. But now it’s finally here to be enjoyed both on the big screen and through Sky Cinema.

Starring Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Dixie Egerickx, the CGI-enhanced spectacular tells the story of Mary, an orphan raised in India who’s sent to live with her uncle in Yorkshire.

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(Photo: Sky)

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But where exactly was the new film shot? Here is everything you need to know.

Where was The Secret Garden filmed?

(Photo: Sky)

Much of the filming took place in the North York Moors, where Frances Hodgson Burnett's 1911 novel is set, and where Mary's uncle owns a brooding fictional mansion called Misselthwaite Manor.

"Yorkshire is the setting for The Secret Garden, and we were so keen to film here," said producer Rosie Allison. “We could not have been more thrilled with our time in God’s own county!

"The beauty of the locations is just breathtaking - and we were blessed with 10 days of continuous spring sunshine during our shoot there.”

Helmsley Walled Garden

(Photo: Sky)

Helmsley Walled Garden is a five-acre garden located beside the ruins of the 12th century Helmsley Castle, about a 50-minute drive north of York.

The garden dates back to 1759, and is a maze of gravel paths and hidden corners – the essential elements of a secret garden - enclosed by ivy-clad stone walls.

It’s also intended as a place to heal and reflect, by harnessing the restorative power of nature – a theme key to the film and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s original book – and in the film, is used as one of the magical garden settings.

Duncombe Park, Helmsley

The Walled Garden was built as a kitchen garden for the Feversham family at nearby Duncombe Park, which serves as Misselthwaite Manor, Mary’s new home in the film.

Abandoned in the 1980s (until it was revived as a centre for horticultural therapy in the 90s), Duncombe Park is a stately home situated one mile south-west of Helmsley within 300 acres of parkland, featuring sweeping grass terraces, towering veteran trees, and classical temples.

The garden and surrounding parkland is designated a National Nature Reserve, and home to the National Centre for Birds of Prey, which houses the largest collection of birds of prey in the North of England.

While the house is closed to the public, it does host weddings and events. The Duncombe family also revealed that the gravel forecourt at their ancestral seat was transformed into a battlefield set.

Fountains Abbey, Rippon

Perhaps England’s best-preserved example of a medieval monastery, although Fountains Abbey is a skeleton of its former glory, it is still in remarkably good shape.

Arching cloisters and partial stairwells invite investigation, while black marble columns soar into a space where a roof would once have been.

Overrun by mosses and climbing plants, the abbey’s East Guest House, part of a small complex that was originally used to accommodate important visitors, was chosen to become one part of the garden in the film.

The production team constructed a series of pools to transform it into an adventure playground for Mary and her friends Dickon and Colin, but it’s still a fantasy land even without the special effects.

Fountains Abbey also appeared in the 1993 film adaptation of the book starring Dame Maggie Smith.

Where else was The Secret Garden filmed?

As far as Yorkshire goes, landscape shots also depict the moors near Rievaulx Terrace and the Roman road near Goathland.

Filming also took place within Iford Manor Gardens near Bath, and the National Trust site of Bodnant Gardens, near Conwy, North Wales, seen on screen for the first time in history, and where a temporary dam was built by the film crew to make the water deep enough for the children to swim in.

Certain interior shots were filmed at Osterley Park, a Georgian country estate in west London that portrayed the kitchens of Misselthwaite Manor, and “only needed a bit of set dressing” to make then fit the part, according to the National Trust.

Filming locations also include Woodhall Estate in Hertfordshire, Trebah Gardens in Cornwall, Harlaxton Manor in Lincolnshire, Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens in Dorset, and Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean as well as Tilbury landing stage.