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Great British Bake Off 2020 filming location: Step inside Down Hall Hotel and Spa

Olivia Olphin September 21, 2020
great british bake off 2020 filming location

Everyone’s favourite baking show is back and fans are all wondering, where was Bake Off 2020 filmed? How did they protect everyone against coronavirus? Here’s everything you need to know about the luxe Great British Bake Off 2020 filming location – Down Hall Hotel and Spa.

So grab a slice of cake and a hot brew and settle down for the most wholesome show on British television. Its been too long since we’ve heard the words “soggy bottom” or guffawed at Prue’s casual innuendos.

Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Keep reading to find out the 2020 filming location of The Great British Bake Off and what is in store for contestants this year at Down Hall Hotel and Spa.

Great British Bake Off 2020 filming location

Unlike previous seasons of the Bake Off, the 2020 series was not filmed in Welford Park in Newbury, Berkshire.

About Last Night | Season 1 Official Trailer | Studiocanal International

This year’s contest got around pandemic-imposed filming constraints by renting out one of the many empty hotels in the UK and in effect creating a huge biosphere. Love Productions decided on Down Hall Hotel and Spa in Essex, hosting the production tent on the grounds along with “20 hotel staff who entered the bubble alongside 80 Love staff and around 20 children, chaperones and dog walkers”.

Inside Down Hall Hotel & Spa

Down Hall is an 110 acre estate, full of beautiful flowering gardens and walking routes throughout the surrounding forest.

Photograph: Down Hall Estate

First record of the property was in 1420, after the dissolution of the monasteries due to Henry VIII. The manor had been acquired by the Glascock family and stayed with them until they sold it in 1720. It has passed through many owners’ hands since then, all seeking to restore and preserve the Hall’s unique aesthetic.

The main building was conceived in the Mannerist Italianate style. During World War II, it was used as a hospital, but it has also served as a girls’ school and a residential management training centre in recent years.

Now, it has been restored and converted into a beautiful hotel and spa surrounded by the idyllic countryside and historic grounds. A perfect setting for the Bake Off.

The Great British Bake Off filming biosphere

That’s fun to say!

Photograph: Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions via The Guardian

A biosphere is defined as “an artificial structure enclosing a self-contained ecosystem or ecosystems”. Bake Off 2020 made the executive decision to have everyone working on the show live together on location during filming, in order to reduce the risk of them contracting the novel coronavirus.

Before entering the hotel, everyone had to isolate for nine days and test negative for covid-19. This ensured that the contestants didn’t have to socially distance on the show, meaning Bake Off would feel the same as it always has.

Living and filming on location was hard work, as the shoot schedule was much more intense than usual. The show opted for a two days on and two days off approach.

Creative director Kieran Smith told Broadcast: “It was a massive operation, we even built 12 practice kitchens for the bakers to use on their days off.”

What can we expect from The Great British Bake Off 2020?

Paul’s steely blue glare

Even a pandemic cannot stop the power of Paul’s icy blue eyes. Watch contestants squirm and melt like butter underneath the cool heat of his piercing glare. He may also give out a few of his famous handshakes (which are allowed because of the show’s covid-19 prevention biosphere, hooray!)

THE GREAT AMERICAN BAKING SHOW – “Semi-Final and Final” – This week, the judges present the four remaining bakers with their toughest challenges yet. With the bakers hoping to wow Paul and Sherry with their culinary creations, it’s a showdown of sugar and spice as only one baker can be named “America’s Best Amateur Baker” on “The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition,” THURSDAY, JAN 2 (9:00-11:00 p.m. EST), on ABC. (Mark Bourdillon via Getty Images) PAUL HOLLYWOOD

Matt Lucas as the new Bake Off host

Matt Lucas has been announced as the new host after the departure of Sandi Toksvig at the end of the last series. The series fully immersed Lucas into the show, as he was practically living and filming with the bakers on location! We can’t wait to see his trademark wit and silly antics.

Even bigger disasters

Who can forget the infamous #BinGate where 69-year-old Diana was accused of taking Iain’s baked Alaska out of the freezer, resulting in Iain frustratedly – and frustratingly – chucking his own hard work in the bin.

This one may go down in history as the most British tantrum ever recorded. Who knows what cake-toppling disasters we have in store this season?

Photograph: Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Crazy flavour combinations

Fear invades the heart of every Bake Off fan when someone mentions they’re using rose, lavender or cardamom. Bakers love to push the boat out with new and interesting flavour combinations but they don’t always pull them off. Who wants a cake that tastes like soap?

Innuendos

The reason we all love the Bake Off. The show’s wholesome charm is juxtaposed with the most gorgeously naughty innuendos. These have included derivations on the soggy bottom such as a “sweaty bottom”, or even the classics “you know we love chunky nuts on Bake Off”, or “they’ve got to beat it until it’s really, really stiff” when Paul was talking about whisking meringues.

All we know is this season is going to be better than ever and we can’t wait.

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Olivia Olphin is an English Literature graduate and a film and literature fanatic. She has many years of reviewing experience, recently working as accredited press for the London Film Festival. She has also written widely about culture and sex education, as well as LGBTQ+ and women's issues.