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Filming At Historical Properties – The Empress At Combermere

Estate – 06.12.22


Our country is known across the world for its outstanding period properties and heritage locations.

Some of these have been the set of many famous and renowned TV shows like Highclere Castle (good friends of Combermere!), which was famously the set for Downton Abbey, to the interiors of Knebworth House and Wilton House, which have doubled for interiors of royal palaces in countless dramas and films.

Filming at historical properties offers a number of huge benefits for a production company which not only helps to create a realistic timepiece for any TV show or movie but one which could not be replicated without huge cost to the production company. The dramatization of our stories not only helps to immortalise historic homes, but it also vitally helps in the maintenance and upkeep of these beautiful buildings, as well as allowing so many to relish in their beauty.


Filming At Historical Properties Such As Combermere Abbey

Many of the beautiful period properties around the UK offer a location for filming and a level of authenticity and historical accuracy that is hard to match anywhere else in the world!  

Did you know Combermere Abbey is one such of these buildings? Our historic home has been the backdrop for a number of projects over the years, from famous music videos, advertising campaigns, full length feature films, well-known UK and several Netflix TV series. With such a wealth of interiors and exteriors to choose from, we offer lots of choice for location scouts.

When historical properties open their doors to big picture opportunities, it can bring a wealth of benefits to not only the homes themselves but the surrounding towns and the local economy. Many a time we’ve seen previously a boost in local rural economy during the filming processes at Combermere. Sometimes, hundreds of cast and crew can descend on nearby towns and villages as well as ‘location pilgrims’ who visit after the footage has aired.


TV & Film Based Around Historical Properties

At Combermere Abbey, we have had the wonderful opportunity to be host to many famous and even aristocratic guests over our time, which included esteemed royalty, Elizabeth, Empress of Austria!

With the latest success of the series “The Empress” on Netflix UK, which follows the early life of ‘Sisi’ Empress Elisabeth, we hope to see her journey over to Combermere Abbey, “the most romantic place in all Europe” in later seasons.

With that being said, let’s take a little review Empress journey to Combermere!

The Empress Of Austria & Combermere Abbey

 Elisabeth preferred hunting in England and Ireland and enjoyed lavish entertainment in keeping with her status. When she decided to spend the season in England in 1881, she rented Combermere Abbey for a period of two years from Viscount Combermere. The agreed rent was £600 per month, which equates to around £14,000 today! So she did not do things by halves.

To accommodate her stay, a regal waiting room was built at Wrenbury railway station. The Empress also travelled with such a large retinue and so much luggage, that a special train was required, and the platform extended. The modifications to the small rural station cost the enormous sum of £10,000 (equivalent to around £1.5 million today).

Elisabeth arrived at Combermere on the eve of 20th February 1881, accompanied by Prince Liechtenstein, Countess Festetics, Baron de Nopsca, Herr Aiuger, and her secretary Herr Firfallach. Eight of the Empress’  horses arrived at Whitchurch station on the 30th of the month from Ireland and were taken to Combermere, along with her other horses from Vienna.

Today, the stables where her horses were kept have been renovated into our award-winning holiday-cottages available to rent and all decorated to a very high standard, including one that is aptly named ‘Empress’ to honour her time staying on the estate.

‘Sisi’ travelled to England (and namely Combermere) with a personal retinue of 25 staff out of a staff number of around 80. Rooms had to be re-furnished at the abbey to create an imperial bedroom, a sitting room, bathroom, gymnasium, dressing room, and even a Roman Catholic chapel. A private telegraph line was put in to keep her in touch with her husband and family in Austria.

The Empress’ life at Combermere Abbey was not without the drama that seemed to follow her everywhere. She wished to take her meals in her apartments, unseen by others, but she also wanted her meals served hot. Thus, a completely new (secret) staircase to the kitchen was built, just for this purpose.

Staying at Combermere made her one of the abbey’s most distinguished guests and she wrote that she thought Combermere Abbey to be “the most romantic place in all Europe”


We truly hope to see Elizabeth’s stay at Combermere portrayed in one of the upcoming seasons of ‘The Empress’ and welcome all admirers of the show to visit and even live like the Empress once did.