If you, like millions of fans worldwide, have been following the Great British Bake Off, you may be wondering where the Bake Off is filmed?
For the longest time since 2014, the Great British Bake Off, which is usually abbreviated as GBBO, has been filming at Welford Park, Newbury in Berkshire. The filming is done in a white tent erected in the pristine grounds of the breath-taking country house and estate.
Before 2014, the first four series of the Bake Off were shot in different locations across England. Series one was shot in London at Fulham Palace, while series two was filmed at Valentines Mansion in Redbridge. Series three and four were shot at Harptree Court in Somerset.
Due to the effects of the coronavirus, series 11 of the GBBO was filmed at the Down Hall Hotel and Spa in Hatfield Heath, which is located near Bishop’s Stortford on the Essex and Hertfordshire border.
A History of Welford Park Where Bake Off Filmed Since 2014
Over the years, Welford Park has become a private stately home, currently owned by John and Deborah Puxley. It has a rich history given its characteristic snowdrops, which were believed to have been planted by monks living there in the Norman era.
The dwelling of the monks at Welford Park came to a stop when Henry ⅤⅢ dissolved monasteries. He used the park as a hunting lodge before Sir Thomas Parry took it over. Sir Francis Jones bought the park in 1618, and it has since then remained in the family.
The snowdrop season brings many visitors to the home, and they are welcomed and served by the Puxleys. The Bake Off team uses the home’s cafeteria for its activities.
A History of Down Hall Hotel and Spa Where Bake Off Filmed in 2020
Down Hall Hotel and Spa in Hatfield Heath rests on 110 acres, which was enough space to host the Bake Off contestants, some children, and the Love Productions team in strict adherence to COVID-19 social distance regulations.
The hotel is one of the many well-established country house hotels and is only 45 minutes away from central London. In addition, it is strategically placed near Stansted Airport.
The house’s history dates back to the 11th century, which gives it an authentic historic setting, with many people loving the panoramic views over its beautiful gardens.
Down Hall Hotel comprises 98 elegant bedrooms that Bake Off contestants and the production team enjoyed during the filming of the 11th series that started in July 2020.
Why Did the Bake Off Tent Move?
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the filming location of the Great British Bake Off had to change from the usual place at Welford Park to Down Hall Hotel, as earlier mentioned.
The contestants and Love Productions crew had to observe COVID-19 protocols strictly. Other than social distancing, they had to adhere to three key control measures. Firstly, they all had to undergo a series of three tests for coronavirus.
Secondly, each member had to observe a strict nine-day self-isolation before moving into the hotel. The third measure involved participants quarantining themselves for 14 days at the hotel before production.
Some of the major challenges the entire team had include getting the participants safely to the hotel and establishing 12 kitchens for the 12 contestants.
Sharing with Radio Times, producer Kieran Smith said that Down Hall Hotel and Spa became an ideal escape space for many of the 120 people in the production team, which was a relief following many months of stress-packed lockdown.
Love Productions managing director Letty Kavanagh arranged for the filming and the team’s seven-week stay at the hotel. Due to COVID-19 issues, the Bake Off team exclusively used the hotel in a self-catering capacity.
How Long was Bake Off Filmed at Down Hall Hotel?
Love Productions usually films GBBO across 12 or 13 weeks, mainly over the weekends since the bakers can still go to their weekly jobs. While producer Kieran Smith observes that they were set to work with 12 to 13 weeks at the start, the production took only six weeks.
Speaking to Radio Times, Kieran Smith said they asked the contestants to take six weeks’ leave from work to live in a biosphere at the hotel during the production. Smith says, “Everything was complicated, everything was different, but everybody wanted to do it.”
Over the six weeks, the production happened in cycles, with two days of filming and then two days off the production schedule. Contestants practiced during the two off days.
When they weren’t working on the production, the Bake Off contestants and Love Productions crew engaged in football matches or bingo for extra entertainment.
New Faces in Bake Off 2020 Series 11
Now that we know where the Bake Off is filmed, you might want to know some of the other changes that occurred in the 2020 production. Series 11 of the Channel 4 show included Matt Lucas, who came in to fill Sandi Toksvig’s place.
Sandi Toksvig left the show to focus on her efforts in Stand Up To Cancer.
Matt Lucas presented the show together with Noel Fielding, a fellow comedian.
Another notable part of the 2020 Bake Off show team was Prue Leith’s dogs. Prue Leith was one of the judges, the other one being Paul Hollywood. Each participant had to take part in baking contests to produce cakes, pastries, bread, and some other assorted baked goodies.
Down Hall Hotel also hosted hotel staff, some children, dog walkers, and chaperones, all of whom worked cohesively towards the successful production of the 2020 Great British Bake Off that aired on Channel 4 on September 22.