Where is The White Queen filmed?

RadioTimes.com catches up with producer Gina Cronk for the exact filming locations in and around Bruges from the highly anticipated BBC TV adaptation of Philippa Gregory's historical novel…

Set during the Wars of the Roses, new BBC drama The White Queen stars Olivier Award-winning Aneurin Barnard and Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson. The series relays the story of the women caught up in the quest for the English throne. However, the beautiful gardens, historical buildings and mysterious forests are not filmed in Britain, but in Flanders. 


All the on site locations can be seen in the flesh for real, and many are spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We catch up with series producer Gina Cronk for the best backdrops to visit…

Gravensteen Castle, Gent
This atmospheric middle ages building was used to film Pembroke Castle in west Wales. “There’s a refectory from an old monastery that was built at the time our story was set. It’s really not on the tourist travel list,” recommends producer Cronk. “It’s an amazing old building, a really great castle.”  Here we see some gruesome beheadings in the series, bloodied blocks and actors being dragged out.

 Visit Bruges with Radio Times Travel, see here for more info

St Martin’s Cathedral, Ypres
This church doubles for Westminster Abbey in the series, and is particularly interesting to visit for the white marble sculpture of the Madonna and Child, created by Michelangelo around 1504. “There’s also a plaque on the wall that commemorates Edward IV visiting the church when he fled England – one of the many times he had to escape during the Wars of the Roses,” recounts Gina Cronk. “It’s a beautiful cathedral that has detailing from different periods… a fantastic space.”

This medieval bell tower serves as Westminster Palace Court in the drama, and can be found in central Bruges. Up close it’s just as spectacular as on screen. Tourists can hike up the narrow 366 steps to the top for an incredible view over the historic city.

 Visit Bruges with Radio Times Travel, see here for more info

Knokke Beach, Knokke
Two stops north of Bruges on the train, you’ll find the Knokke Nature Reserve and Knokke Beach, which doubles as the Welsh coastline in the series. “It’s like Bond Street on the sea. It’s like a Belgian Hamptons, and where all the bureaucrats go,” says Gina. “They have €1 million-plus flats and houses up on the coast. There’s a polo club and a country club and designer wear right at the centre.”

Stadhuis, Bruges
The White Queen series uses this building as the hall in Westminster. It’s one of the oldest town halls in the Netherlands and the detailing is incredible. Under the gabled ceiling visitors will find walls with gold-detailed paintings, created by Albrecht de Vriendt. Look closely for an account of the city’s history. On the outside, the pointy turrets and detailed sculptures all over the building are well worth a photo. 

Nuit Blanche, Bruges
Owned by local artists, this bed and breakfast is a fully restored late 15th-century merchant house with wooden shutters, windows, flooring and ceilings. It also has a private garden that overlooks the cathedral. This appears in The White Queen when the story switches to France. It also doubles for the interiors for Grafton Manor later in the series. “It appears in about five or six different episodes, all redressed in different places. You can even stay there, and it’s a lovely place,” says Gina.

Otherwise known as Blind Donkey Street (the literal translation), this area of Bruges was used a lot in filming street scenes, with its narrow cobbled walkways, regal arches and detailed doorways. “We called it Coronation Street,” jokes Gina. This is the setting for the coronation in the series, where we see petals being thrown as Elizabeth’s procession passes.

Visit Bruges with Radio Times Travel, see here for more info

Ryckevelde Woods, Bruges
The crew set up camp here to film the Battle of Bosworth: here we see tents, woods and dry ice creating that misty battle scene feel. Plus horses, armour, swords and bloody fight scenes. Exciting stuff and very atmospheric.

Visit Bruges with Radio Times Travel, see here for more info

Pictures courtesy of Rainer Halama, Wiki Commons and BBC 


See the first trailer from the show here: