After last year’s dramatic lakeside duel, Ross Poldark made a sedate return to London’s Hyde Park in Series 5’s second episode (21st July 2019).
However, for actor Aidan Turner, other leading cast members, some 40 extras (including horses!), camera crew and many more involved in filming, last Sunday night’s five ‘Hyde Park’ scenes were in fact filmed here at Bowood where the action unfolded. The wide, open spaces of the historic Estate’s 2,000-acre Grade 1 listed Capability Brown parkland understudy Hyde Park and its lake suggests the Serpentine as Ross, Demelza and many more promenade, play and romance.
Filmed last October, the landscape wears the autumnal hues of Bowood’s Pleasure Grounds and Arboretum – well matched with the colours of Demelza’s costume and hair!
The romance of the surroundings clearly works its magic on young Geoffrey Charles Poldark as he secretly woos Cecily Hanson by the edge of the lake and in front of the Doric Temple, poised above its bank.
Children are also seen delighting in their outdoor play, with Ross and Demelza’s son riding his hobby horse and their daughter rolling her hoop. Present-day descendants of theirs are more likely to be found in Bowood’s highly-acclaimed Adventure Playground: whizzing down the Space Dive, tackling the aerial walkways, clambering aboard a life-size pirate’s galleon and then heading on to the Tractor Ted Little Farm.
The episode is set in 1800 at which time the Lansdowne family had lived at Bowood for the past 26 years. Today’s visitors to Bowood may dress very differently – and there are no swan boats being rowed across the lake – but otherwise there is a timelessness to the setting that those of all ages can appreciate on a daily basis, annually from spring to autumn during Bowood House and Gardens’ open season.
This is the second year that Bowood appears in ‘Poldark’. In 2018, three episodes featured scenes filmed at Bowood: in addition to other ‘Hyde Park’ depictions, Bowood House’s Robert Adam Orangery and Italianate Terraces provided interior and exterior footage for fine houses of the day.
Four days of filming took place at Bowood last year for Series 5 in a roped-off area well away from the visiting public – although many were fascinated by the activity they could see in the distance. Since Sunday, many of our fans have posted on social media that they had recognised the location – and that the lakeside temple was a particular identifying clue.
In the coming weeks and on into autumn, the same landscape will be offering many more reasons (over and beyond costume drama filming) for more to head to Bowood. There’s the Classic Ibiza open-air concert (Saturday 3rd August), Summer Classic Car & Motorcycle Show (Sunday 18thAugust) and the Wiltshire Game & Country Fair (Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th September), to name a few.
At some point too during the summer, Bowood House and Gardens’ five millionth visitor is expected – probably around mid-August. Having first opened to the public in 1975, Bowood annually attracts some 120,000 visitors – from toddlers to senior citizens. Whoever that five millionth visitor may be, they will be rewarded with a complimentary family season ticket for the rest of their life – as Bowood’s own long-running storyline continues into the future.