The Saltburn Estate’s Owner Grapples With Trespassing Fans

“Drayton is one of the best-kept secrets of the English country-house world,” architectural historian Gervase Jackson-Stops wrote in AD’s January 1991 issue. “Where the atmosphere of other great British houses has been marred by tourist buses and shops, Drayton has remained hidden, mysterious, rarely open, guarding its privacy.” That same level of concealment shrouding the circa-1300 Northamptonshire estate has remained mostly intact—until it was outed as the filming location of Emerald Fennell’s popular 2023 dark comedy, Saltburn.

Fennell chose the 127-room house (which has sold exactly once in its long history, way back in 1361) to serve as the film’s location in part because it wasn’t well-known to the public: “It needed to be something that hadn’t been used before. This hadn’t been photographed even, let alone put on film,” she told AD. “We always wanted the exact sense that it is a real place.” (Clearly “hadn’t been photographed” is an exaggeration, but this home flew under the radar when compared to popular filming locations like Hatfield House.)

“Usually in National Trust and English Heritage properties you’re not allowed to paint anything or move pictures or augment or change anything,” production designer Suzie Davies told AD. “This family let us do quite a bit to the house and gave us free rein.”

Photo: Courtesy of Prime Video

Everyone involved in Saltburn’s production was required to keep the location’s identity a secret, but in August, Tatler identified the historic manor from the film’s trailer. Since then, fans of the thriller have traveled to the site in droves.

Dark still from Saltburn of mist over pond Barry Keoghan in foreground with back to camera estate in background lotus...

Many of the estate’s existing rooms were used in the film, as was the square pond, the chapel, and the gardens. The production team added topiary and contemporary art and sculptures.

Photo: Courtesy of Prime Video

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