The long-awaited TV adaptation of The Essex Serpent will soon be available to stream on Apple TV+. Starring Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes, this 18th century period drama will take viewers on a journey across the beautiful Blackwater marshlands in Essex. But was the series actually filmed on-location?
The Essex Serpent takes place in 1893, set in the fictional village of Aldwinter. When writing the book, Perry took inspiration from her childhood memories of Essex — especially the town of Maldon. “I recalled beginning to be taken to Maldon as a child, where we’d watch the oxblood sails of the Thames barges go up and down the horizon,” she told publisher Serpent’s Tail. “All these memories, old and new, created a village that seems so real I am surprised I can’t go for a walk along the high road.”
During the filming of The Essex Serpent, production crews were spotted up and down the River Blackwater. The camera team made stops in the towns and villages of North Fambridge, Tollesbury, Maldon, West Mersea, and Alresford Creek.
Maldon’s Hythe Quay was a key location point. Traditional Thames sailing barges like the Pudge, Hydrogen, and Centaur were congregated to make it seem as though the area had travelled back to the 18th century. Locals were also given the opportunity to star in the series, including Maldon River Bailiff Nigel Harmer.
In the middle of town, Silver Street was transformed into a dirt track with time appropriate props dotted all around the area, according to Essex Live. The street is also home to the Blue Boar Hotel, a Grade II listed building that dates back to the 14th century.
Interestingly, The Essex Serpent is far from the only drama to be filled in Maldon. In fact, ITV thriller Liar also filmed scenes in the southern town.
Maldon council has welcomed the cast and crew of The Essex Serpent with open arms. At the time of filming, they said they were “delighted the production company has chosen the Maldon district as one of their locations.” With production based on Promenade Park in the south-east of Maldon, the council boosted its “enviable reputation for being extremely film friendly.”
Outside of Maldon, Brightlingsea, Essex, is another area that’s been used for filming — one where Tom Hiddleston was spotted with a film crew. He was also pictured in Tollesbury Saltings, per Essex Life, “walking dramatically through smoke, sporting fake blood on his cheek.”