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Visit Historic England Through Film


Article by Hayley Hyer

Photography by Stock Images

One of my favorite elements of traveling to Europe is the rich history in the architecture and art. In England, there are so many beautiful areas that feel like you are stepping back in time.

If you'd like to take a historical trip to the English countryside from home, try watching some of these great films and shows that will provide tons of entertainment and education at the same time.

Vanity Fair

This miniseries on Amazon Prime Video is only seven 45-minute episodes, so if you're really committed, you can watch it all in a day! Or you can spread it out over a weekend or longer. Based on the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair is a story about an orphaned girl, who is low in class and destined to be a governess, trying to work her way up in society and marry rich. It's tons of fun humor and drama, and you get to learn about the fascinating culture and history of England in 1814–1832.


"Ross Poldark returns to England after fighting in the American Revolution. His family and friends thought he was dead. The woman he hoped to marry is now engaged to his cousin. His father is dead, and the property he has inherited has been allowed to deteriorate. It is the late 1700s in Cornwall, England. This is a family drama, but is also about the challenges and conflicts between the rich and the poor. It is a time when fishermen are not catching much fish, tin and copper mines are closing down because prices are too low, but the price of food and rents are high. Ross faces the challenge of making his land productive, caring for the tenants who rely on him, and trying to win back the woman he loved - or finding a reason to live without her."


The Duchess

"Georgiana Spencer became Duchess of Devonshire on her marriage to the Duke in 1774, at the height of the Georgian period, a period of fashion, decadence, and political change. Spirited and adored by the public at large she quickly found her marriage to be a disappointment, defined by her duty to produce a male heir and the Duke's philandering and callous indifference to her. She befriends Lady Bess but finds she is once again betrayed by her husband who wields his power with the three eventually living uncomfortably together. Against this background, and with the pressures of an unfaithful husband, strict social pressures and constant public scrutiny, Georgiana falls passionately in love with Charles Grey, a rising young Whig politician. However, despite his ongoing liaison with Lady Bess, the Duke refuses to allow her to continue the affair and threatens to take her children from her."


Jane Eyre

"After a bleak childhood, Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) goes out into the world to become a governess. As she lives happily in her new position at Thornfield Hall, she meets the dark, cold, and abrupt master of the house, Mr. Edward Rochester (Michael Fassbender). Jane and her employer grow close in friendship and she soon finds herself falling in love with him. Happiness seems to have found Jane at last, but could Mr. Rochester's terrible secret be about to destroy it forever?"



"Jane Austen's beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending, is reimagined in this. Handsome, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse is a restless queen bee without rivals in her sleepy little town. In this glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing up, Emma must adventure through misguided matches and romantic missteps to find the love that has been there all along."


Follow Hayley Hyer @hayhyer