Filming in Heritage Locations: The National Trust

Latest 3 May 2022

News Story

London is known worldwide for its amazing period properties and heritage locations. These offer location filming a level of authenticity and historical accuracy that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. However, preserving and protecting these locations from the activity of a busy film or television production, can be a challenge unto itself.

Film London’s Winona Navin-Holder spoke to some of our partners about the different creative ways in which they protect and conserve heritage locations, and parkland.

The National Trust

The National Trust look after hundreds of locations across the country, along with vast areas of coastline, countryside and green areas. With their staff, members, volunteers and supporters they account for the biggest conservation charity in Europe.

Their locations have played host to some of the most iconic period dramas, including the infamous Colin Firth scene in Pride and Prejudice, filmed at Lyme Park. More recently, they have worked on Pursuit of Love, Enola Holmes, Bridgerton, Belgravia and Britannia.

We asked Vicki Marsland, National Conservator for Filming & Locations at the National Trust, to share her top tips.

Barrington stone and timber protection - Photo Credit: Spencer & Fry - Sally Doran

Top tips from the National Trust to protect heritage locations during filming

1. Rule no. 1: don’t put anything down without protection in place!

2. Take lots of photographs before the production starts on site, e.g. empty floors, doorways, entrance gates and any areas that are going to get a lot of traffic. It will help to compare conditions when walking round with the Location Manager after filming to check for any damages.

3. Hired mats are versatile and provide great re-usable protection for floors, preventing abrasion and impact damage while absorbing dirt and water from wet feet and/or spillages. Mats should always be cleaned before use.

4. Split tennis balls work well on tripod feet.

5. Foam edge protectors that ‘clasp on’ are great on door jambs, staircases, and cabling around doorways and windows.

6. Wrap doorknobs and frequent touch points with sacrificial materials to avoid cleaning historic fixtures and fittings for Covid-19 purposes.

7. Supervise all filming activities on site. The National Trust deploys freelance filming conservators to support property teams.

You can find further details on filming with the National Trust here.