When Emma Thompson’s Oscar-winning version of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility opens, we meet sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, who have grown up in the grand estate known as Norland Park:
Saltram House, the largest country house in Devon (U.K.), was used as the location of Norland Park. It was built in 1743 but expanded on over the generations. It has belonged to the National Trust since 1957 and is open to tourists.
This treehouse on the grounds of Norland Park is one of my favorite “houses” in the movie. I love it! Elinor’s little sister Margaret likes to hide out here:
When Elinor and Marianne’s father dies, they are evicted from Norland Park by their older brother and his wife and must move into Barton Cottage. They consider it “humble,” but I personally prefer it!
Moving to the cottage is not easy for them. The Dashwood women must suddenly adapt to life without a house full of servants doing everything for them.
It’s not all bad, though. As Fanny (Harriet Walter) says in the movie: “Ooh, a cottage! How charming. A little cottage is always very snug.”
Thompson reportedly wanted sisters Natasha and Joely Richardson to play Elinor and Marianne, but director Ang Lee insisted that Thompson play Elinor instead.
Since she was too old to play a 19-year-old girl, the character’s age was changed to 27. At the time, Thompson was 36, so it was still a stretch (as many movie critics pointed out).
Efford House is the name of the actual cottage where they filmed the movie. It’s located on the South Devon coast of England, and you can rent it for your next holiday. Here’s how it looks today:
For information about how to rent it and to see interior photos, visit the Flete Estate website. This is the lovely view of the estuary from the cottage: