There Is & There Isn’t A Real Bly Manor

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Warning: There are mild spoilers ahead for The Haunting Of Bly Manor.
Chances are you wasted no time before diving into the brilliant gothic romance of The Haunting of Bly Manor. Mike Flanagan's follow up to The Haunting of Hill House is a totally different beast with a new family, new ghosts, and a whole new house to get spooked by. If you've been wondering whether you need to avoid the real Bly Manor, or want to know just what inspired the show, then you're in the right place. While the short answer is that Bly Manor is the stuff of fiction, the real story isn't quite that simple.
So light a candle, put on your best '80s outfit, and get ready to explore the halls of Bly Manor. 

Bly Manor comes from Henry James' novella

The most obvious influence on Bly Manor are the stories of Henry James. The series is mostly based on The Turn of The Screw, which is legitimately terrifying despite being published in 1898. Just like Netflix's newest spooky show, the novella is about a young woman who becomes a live-in nanny for some recently bereaved children at a house called Bly.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
The Haunting of Bly Manor changes up the setting from the olden days of the 1890s to the slightly less olden days of the 1980s. In the book it's unclear whether Bly's ghosts are real, but in both the series and the book, one thing is consistent: Bly Manor, or Bly, is an imposing home in England that begins as an idyllic escape and soon becomes something much scarier.

Bly was most likely inspired by Lamb House

Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images.
Henry James residence. Lamb House, London.
Though he was apparently happy — and unhaunted — there, the fact that James wrote The Turn of the Screw after visiting the sprawling mansion Lamb House in Sussex, UK can't be ignored. The nationally protected building was leased by the author in 1897 and he purchased it two years later. The way that he found the house is a little bit of a spooky story itself, as the author saw a painting of the house and fell in love with it. If you've already watched Bly Manor you'll know that paintings play a key part of the tragedy of Bly Manor, as well as the chilling credits sequence, so I like to think that's Mike Flanagan paying a little homage to Lamb House and James' time there. 
The fact that James loved Lamb House — 'The sweetness of this old house comes out,'' he once wrote his friend Edward Warren — likely played into the vision he had for Bly Manor, which is meant to be a beautiful, serene, and happy place. At least until you discover its secrets. Just like Dani in the show, in the original novella the new arrival to Bly is far from scared when they arrive. In fact, they're pleasantly surprised by the grand and beautiful place they've found. 
Another hint that James' one time residence was a big influence on this iteration of Bly Manor is that Mrs. Grose herself: Actor T'Nia Miller told Refinery29 and other reporters during a January set visit that she believed the fictional house she resides in and takes care of in the series was in Sussex. Which is the location of the real Lamb House. Coincidence? I think not!
Lamb House even became the star of its own fictional ghost story years later when beloved British author Joan Aitkin reimagined James' time in the manor in The Haunting of Lamb House. A spooky tale set in the Sussex stately home, it centers on a centuries old tragic mystery that James deciphers only to be forced out by strange spirits. Years later a pair of siblings — echoing the children in The Turn of the Screw — discover the house and its terrifying secrets.

What about the house used to film Netflix's Bly Manor?

Unlike The Haunting of Hill House which was shot in Atlanta and used a mix of on location and sets to film — with Bisham Manor as the exterior of the spooky abode — The Haunting of Bly Manor was shot in Vancouver.
During that same February set visit, production designer Patricio Farrell told Refinery29 and other journalists how he approached creating the world of Bly Manor:
"I tried to make sets that are as beautiful and somewhere you would actually like to live or visit. And not consciously try to make it spooky. There’s some, like a basement or an attic — they are more inherently scary. In anybody’s house, nobody really wants to go, unless you already did it as a playroom or something. You don’t really want to go to the attic. You’re going to do whatever you need to do and run away from there. "
According to the designer the series had an incredible five stage based sets, including the eerie chapel, a huge water tank for the lake, and the attic.
Photo: via Joe Mabel/Wikimedia.
Thornewood Castle in Lakewood, Washington.
When it comes to that creepy exterior, it definitely looks like Netflix's latest haunted house took inspiration from another famous ghost story. Stephen King's Rose Red miniseries was filmed at Thornewood Castle in Washington and it looks incredibly similar to the titular building we see in Bly Manor (catch a glimpse at the 33 second mark below).
Both of the regal buildings share spiked roofs, multiple chimney towers, and large bay windows. And the balcony on which Dani (Victoria Pedretti) first sees the ghost of Peter Quint (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) looks an awful lot like the right-side balcony of Thornewood.
There are a few differences that could suggest a mere homage rather than a shared filming location though, most notably the curved driveways, the fountain directly in front of the front door of Thornwood (there is no such thing at Bly), and the differing left sides of each building. 
Netflix did not comment on the similarities, but at the very least, visually speaking, the Bly exterior appears to be a very cool easter egg as Rose Red was heavily influenced by The Haunting of Hill House — a.k.a. Shirley Jackson's classic gothic novel that inspired Flanagan's first season of his Haunting Netflix series. 

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