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Discovering the Hidden Charms and Secrets of Drayton House Featured in “Saltburn”

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The cinematic allure of “Saltburn” extends beyond the silver screen, as fans clamor to uncover the reality behind the dreamy mansion estate featured in the hit movie directed by Emerald Fennell. While the grandeur of Saltburn captures audiences’ imaginations, the true location, Drayton House, remains a closely guarded secret with its fascinating history and mysteries.

In the film, Oliver, played by Barry Keoghan, embarks on a transformative summer journey at his friend Felix’s family estate, Saltburn. The sprawling mansion becomes a symbol of the stark wealth disparity between Felix’s family and Oliver. Here’s a glimpse into the real-life Drayton House and its intriguing connection to “Saltburn.”

A 14th-Century Marvel
Drayton House, the enchanting backdrop for “Saltburn,” is a 200-acre estate in rural England. Dating back to the 14th century, its roots are intertwined with historical figures, with Simon of Drayton obtaining a license to build a manor on the property in 1362. The house passed into the hands of the Sackville family in 1770, and in 1843, Caroline Sackville and William Bruce Stopford became its custodians.

The Current Custodian
The present owner, Charles Lionel Stopford Sackville, keeps a low profile, with limited public information available about him. His name appears in a redacted version of an address book linked to legal proceedings involving Jeffrey Epstein. While attempts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful, he mentioned knowing Ghislaine Maxwell from his time at Oxford in the 1980s.

Exclusive Filming at Drayton House for “Saltburn”
“Saltburn” director Emerald Fennell set specific criteria for selecting the filming location — she aimed to shoot the entire film in one location and in a mansion that hadn’t been used on screen before. Drayton House met these criteria, and its owners allowed extensive modifications. Production designer Suzie Davies transformed rooms, creating the perfect backdrop for the film’s captivating narrative.

Film Set Transformations
Davies and her team undertook remarkable transformations within Drayton House. Rooms were repainted reordered, and repurposed to suit the film’s requirements. A spare bedroom became the setting for Barry Keoghan’s memorable bathwater scene, showcasing the team’s creativity in adapting spaces to the film’s needs.

Mysteries and Additions
While Drayton House served as the primary filming location, some elements were added or altered for the film. The intricate maze featured in “Saltburn” was constructed specifically for the movie, with visual effects enhancing its labyrinthine complexity. Other additions included CGI enhancements and custom-built fiberglass bathtubs to suit specific scenes.

The Fan Frenzy
Despite efforts to keep Drayton House’s location a secret, fans quickly unraveled the mystery and began visiting the estate. Drayton House, however, remains a private property, restricting access to the nearby road. The cinematic magic of “Saltburn” continues to attract enthusiasts, showcasing the enduring impact of film locations on popular culture.

In essence, the real-life “Saltburn” at Drayton House is a testament to the seamless blend of cinematic fantasy and historic grandeur. While fans can only admire the estate from a distance, its inclusion in the film adds an extra layer of mystique to both the movie and the centuries-old mansion.

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