Inside the real-life English manor where Saltburn was filmed 

A little-known medieval mansion sets the scene for writer-director Emerald Fennell’s debaucherously divisive film, Saltburn.
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Saltburn is the hot film on everyone’s lips right now. While Barry Keoghan, who plays the titular character Oliver, almost scored a Golden Globe this week, the true star of Saltburn is undoubtedly a 127-room mansion in the English countryside of Northamptonshire.

Drayton House, named ‘Saltburn’ in the eponymous film, is considered Northamptonshire’s most impressive medieval mansion. (Credit: Prime Video)

With its imposing Baroque façade, sumptuous interiors and sprawling gardens, the privately owned mansion Drayton House was the perfect location for the fictional home of an aristocratic family at the heart of the story. But the divisive movie, written and directed by Emerald Fennell, is a world away from Downton Abbey or Bridgerton. It’s edgy, to say the least. Plus, it’s set in the hedonistic, pre-GFC, pre-pandemic world of 2006. 

If those centuries-old walls could talk: Felix and Oliver by the pool in Saltburn. (Credit: Prime Video)

What is Saltburn about?

Oliver Quick is a gifted Oxford University freshman with a troubled background, struggling to fit into college life. Privileged and handsome ‘man about campus’ Felix Catton (played by Australian Jacob Elordi) takes him under his wing and, after Oliver receives some sad news, invites him to his eccentric family’s mansion, ‘Saltburn’, for the summer. From a sinister welcoming by the butler — and actual footmen — to lazy pool days to bacchanalian parties, Oliver navigates the Cattons’ bizarre, dysfunctional family life — all while surrounded by priceless art, opulent furniture and bucolic views. You get the sense that, despite Saltburn’s beauty, things are about to go pear-shaped for Oliver.

Room with a view: Is this how the other half live? (Credit: Prime Video)

Where was Saltburn filmed?

In real life, ‘Saltburn’ estate is Drayton House in Northamptonshire, north of Oxford in the UK. The stately home has been in the same family since 1770, but its construction may have started in the early 1300s.

Determined to use a property that hadn’t been seen on film, TV or even in photos before, writer-director Emerald Fennell and production designer Suzie Davies fell in love with the best-kept secret that is Drayton House. They persuaded the homeowners to hand over the keys by promising the cast and crew would never mention the name of the mansion or its location. (Meanwhile, a local woman outed Drayton House, and how to find it, on TikTok; Drayton House also has its own Wikipedia page).

Ultimately, the filmmakers wanted Saltburn to feel like a real home — inhabited by a real and flawed family — not a set or sound stage.

Richard E. Grant, as Catton family patriarch Sir James, enjoys a ‘casual’ meal in one of the home’s many dining rooms. (Credit: Prime Video)

How Drayton House became ‘Saltburn’

While strict heritage rules mean English period homes are notoriously hard to modify for film and TV, Drayton House’s owners gave Fennell and Davies almost free rein to tweak the interiors.

For example, in the fictional Cattons’ television room, Davies removed the carpet, painted the walls red and added silk panels. A connecting room between Felix and Oliver’s bedrooms was seemingly converted to a bathroom, which they share in the film. The focal clawfoot bath was custom-designed to accommodate Jacob Elordi’s (Felix) 195-centimetre frame for that now-infamous bathtub scene.

The custom-designed clawfoot bath was placed in a room connecting Oliver (pictured) and Felix’s bedrooms. (Credit: Prime Video)

Davies repurposed an existing dining table in one of the home’s three (three!) dining rooms but brought in chairs with removable covers. She also added red curtains to set the mood for one nightmarish scene. The artwork in the house is a combination of contemporary art supplied by the production design team and original pieces owned by the family. The team sourced furniture from Lots Road Auctions in London, Pierre Frey wallpapers were added and marble busts were topped with silly hats — adding to the whimsy.  

Gothic glamour: production designer Suzie Davies wanted Saltburn’s scenes to emulate a Caravaggio painting. (Credit: Prime Video)

Unfortunately, the topiary maze isn’t real but is mostly CGI (computer-generated imagery). The centre, featuring a minotaur sculpture by Nicola Hicks and potted hedging, was constructed in the flesh for a pivotal scene, but the rest of the maze? Digital wizardry.  

You can stream Saltburn now on Prime Video.

Shop the look: Saltburn house


Reef pool float, King Living

$495 (usually $762)

While the day away on this dreamy pool bed, as though you’re in a heady film about desire and class. Luckily the Reef float comes with a removable, machine-washable cover and an electric pump… for those of us who don’t have maids. Just add water (and a book and a martini).


Fienza clawfoot bath, The Blue Space

$1529 (usually $1799)

You can’t embody the lavish ye olde English aesthetic without an ornate freestanding bath. Create your own (but wholesome) bathtub scenes in this traditional Victorian-style clawfoot number. A durable inbuilt metal frame and acrylic finish will ensure you can bliss out for years to come.


Addison cream and purple multi-colour distressed rug, Miss Amara

from $199

At the core of Saltburn’s production design and interiors are layers and textures. Think velvet drapes, jewel-toned cushions and overlapping rugs. This colour-rich Turkish rug features elaborate floral motifs and is pet-friendly and stain-resistant (so it’ll survive any wild Saltburn-esque parties). Best of all, you can see how Miss Amara rugs look in your space in seconds by uploading a photo.


Business & Pleasure Co. premium beach umbrella, The Iconic


The Cattons may have an ethereal pond and pool and possibly even a moat, but for some of us mere mortals, the beach is the best way to cool off. Pump up your style cred on the sand with this gorgeous umbrella, featuring UPF 50+ water-resistant fabric, a timber pole and a matching carry bag.


Majestic magenta fringed lampshade, Queen K


Lampshades, side tables, sculptures, tassels, ashtrays and general clutter were all thrown together to make the Saltburn mansion feel like a lived-in family home. This gold-fringed lampshade, which can be used on a table or floor lamp, is handcrafted in Sydney and will add instant glamour and eccentricity to your space — minus the mess.

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