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50 of the Best Romantic Period Drama TV Series of All Time to Watch

These are the best historical romance TV series and miniseries you need to check out!

Romance. Period Drama. A binge-able TV show. The perfect combination. If you’re a period drama fanatic like we are at The Silver Petticoat Review, you know just how much fun watching period drama television is. However, if you’ve yet to embrace the joy of binging period romance dramas, you’re in for a treat. We’ve rounded up 50 of the best historical romance TV series of all time.

period romance dramas and historical romance tv series

From popular romantic period TV shows like Downton Abbey to underrated series you should put on your watchlist, these choices include heart-thumping romances for you to swoon over.

RELATED: Where to Watch the Best Jane Austen Movies Right Now 

Now, this list only includes TV shows, limited series, and miniseries. So, no movies or TV movies. That’s for another day. 

We also focused on historical dramas with a heavy romantic angle. Just because a period drama is excellent doesn’t mean it’s on this list. And just because a romantic period series isn’t artistic and award-winning doesn’t mean we exclude it. Having a fantastic romance is what this list is all about!

So, without further ado and in no particular order, here is our list of the best romantic period shows ever! Enjoy.

(If you’re looking for only British period dramas, check out our list of 100+ of the Best British Period Dramas of All Time to Watch.)

Note: The availability of the period romance series in the where-to-watch sections is based on US availability and is subject to change at any time. The last update for availability was in November 2022. 



50 of the Best Romantic Period Drama TV Series of All Time to Watch; pinterest image

#1: A PLACE TO CALL HOME (2013-2018)

A Place to Call Home.
Credit: Acorn TV/ Seven Productions


A mysterious woman begins a new life in a small Australian town, becoming entangled with a wealthy and influential family. 

Why You Should Watch: 

This underrated Australian series is fantastically written with a perfect cast. Romance fans will enjoy a few different romances, though the best belongs to the love story between Carolyn and Jack, played by real-life married couple Craig Hall and Sara Wiseman.

Besides the romance, the stories and characters (especially the enigmatic Sarah) will grab hold of your heart and never let go. Plus, it’s entertaining, addictive, and binge-able.

Where to Watch: Stream on Acorn TV, Hoopla, or buy on Digital or DVD.

Content Note: Episodes range between TV-PG to TV-MA. There is brief strong language, brief nudity, a few scenes of violence, and a few explicit scenes throughout the six seasons.

#2: CALL THE MIDWIFE (2012-)

Call the Midwife. Barbara and Tom. 20 of the Most Romantic Period Drama TV Series to Watch
Barbara and Tom in Call the Midwife. It is one of the best historical romance shows. Photo: BBC/PBS/Neal Street Productions


Call the Midwife follows the lives of midwives and an order of nursing nuns from the 1950s to the 1960s.

Why You Should Watch: 

This British show is a must-see if you enjoy heartwarming period dramas with unforgettable female characters. While the series is heartbreaking at times, it’s also full of romance and female friendships.

Romance fans have love stories between Chummy (played by the always wonderful Miranda Hart) and the PC Peter, a love story between a nun and a Doctor, the optimistic and kind Barbara with the handsome Reverend Tom, Lucille and Cyril, and more.

You’ll have plenty to love whether you enjoy happily-ever-after stories or tragic romances.

Where to Watch: Stream on Netflix and Hoopla. When new seasons air, you can stream it on PBS Passport. You can also buy it on Digital or DVD.

Content Note: TV-14 for intense birthing scenes and thematic elements.

#3: DOWNTON ABBEY (2010-2015)

Matthew and Mary in Downton Abbey. 20 of the Most Romantic Period Drama TV Series to Watch
Mary and Matthew are one of the most romantic period drama couples. Photo: ITV/Carnival Films/WGBH


Downton Abbey – a lavish period drama series – follows the lives of the Crawley family and their servants at an English estate from the Edwardian Era to the 1920s. The show comes from the Academy Award winner, Julian Fellowes.

Why You Should Watch: 

The British period drama TV series has become a pop culture phenomenon for a reason. The show is unabashedly romantic, entertaining, and fun to watch. 

Don’t be surprised if you become obsessed with it and even plan trips to see the real Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle).

Where to Watch: You can stream on Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, or PBS Passport. You can also buy it on Digital or DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG/TV-14 for sensuality, mild innuendo, and mild violence.

#4: DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN (1993-1998)

Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman - Sully and Dr. Mike
Dr. Quinn and Sully! Photo: CBS Productions


Dr. Michaela Quinn leaves her upper-class life in Boston to become a town doctor in Colorado. There she creates a new family and finds love. 

Why You Should Watch: 

One of the main reasons I watched this show as a kid was for the love story between Dr. Quinn and Sully! 

And while this show is on the cheesy side, it’s an enjoyable ’90s series the whole family can enjoy. Jane Seymour is always fabulous too. So, if you’re looking for good, old-fashioned entertainment with a female lead, this is a great choice.

(See Jane Seymour and Joe Lando reunite in their new Christmas movie. Check out the Lifetime Christmas movie schedule for all the details!)

Content Note: TV-PG for mild violence and suspenseful situations.

#5: DRACULA (2013-2014)

Dracula Cast.
Photo: NBC Universal Television


The mysterious Dracula (played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers) arrives in London intent on revenge, only to fall in love with a woman who resembles his deceased wife. 

Why You Should Watch: 

While NBC canceled Dracula after season one, it’s worth watching if you enjoy a mix of British period drama, romantic vampires, Gaslamp fantasy, and steampunk. 

The love story is charming, Jonathan Rhys Meyers broods brilliantly as the Byronic monster, and the supporting characters are excellent.

Where to Watch: Stream Dracula on Tubi or buy the series on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: TV-14 for sensuality, violence, and intense scenes.

#6: GRAN HOTEL (GRAND HOTEL) (2011-2013)

Grand Hotel - Edwardian Period
Grand Hotel Photo: Sky

Grand Hotel is one of the most romantic period dramas of all time. Photo: Sky


Julio Olmedo comes to a Grand Hotel in the countryside to investigate his sister’s disappearance, only to fall in love with the owner’s daughter. 

Why You Should Watch: 

Because it’s one of the best, most swoon-worthy romantic period dramas of all time! It has everything from the star-crossed romance to mystery to shocking twists. You won’t be able to stop watching this excellent period drama.

Word of mouth made this Spanish series so popular that numerous remakes have popped up worldwide, including a contemporary American version. But don’t miss out on watching the original – it’s by far the best!

The romantic leading man, Yon Gonzalez, could give Aidan Turner a run for his money.

Where to Watch: Stream on Pantaya or buy on DVD. It’s currently only available to watch in Spanish without English subtitles. But hopefully, that will change soon, and it will return to Netflix.

Content Note: TV-14 for one brief explicit scene, sensuality, and suspense.

#7: THE HOUR (2011-2012)

The Hour
Ben Whishaw & Romola Garai as Freddie and Bel. Photo: BBC/Kudos Film and Television


The Emmy-winning series follows a TV news crew in 1950s England. The all-star cast includes Romola Garai, Ben Whishaw, Dominic West, Anna Chancellor, Peter Capaldi, and more.

Why You Should Watch: 

The slow-burn romance between Bel and Freddie builds to an epic climax, showcasing Garai and Whishaw’s undeniable chemistry. 

And while the network unfairly canceled The Hour after the second season, this series’ brilliance can’t be understated. 

The Hour is a romantic historical series to watch if you enjoy thinking shows. It’s like Mad Men but with more romance. 

Where to Watch: Stream on Acorn TV, Pluto TV, and Tubi, or buy on Digital or DVD.

Content Note: TV-14 for a few explicit love scenes, violence, and language.


lark rise to candleford
Photo: BBC


The emotional, uplifting, and funny series follows the relationship between two neighboring communities – one poor – the other wealthy. 

The series follows the teenage Laura, an aspiring writer, moving from her poor village, Lark Rise, to Candleford. There, she begins a postmistress apprenticeship with her second cousin and now boss, Dorcas Lane. 

Why You Should Watch: 

Lark Rise will become your one weakness! (This reason will become clear once you’ve seen the series.) 

Kidding aside, this is one of the best period dramas due to the memorable romances, interesting, layered characters, and brilliant emotional stories. 

With a top-notch cast, including popular period drama favorites and excellent writing, you can’t go wrong with this series.

Where to Watch: Stream on Britbox or buy it on digital and DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG. Safe viewing for the entire family.

#9: MERCY STREET (2016-2017)

Mercy Street. 20 of the Most Romantic Period Drama TV Series to Watch
Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Josh Radnor star in the PBS series. Credit: PBS


Inspired by actual events, Mercy Street follows the lives of two nurses – one from the North and one from the South during the Civil War. 

Why You Should Watch: 

While the diverse series starts slowly, it picks up the pace and includes a few intriguing romances. It’s also a great story with an excellent cast and a fantastic ending.

Where to Watch: Stream on PBS Masterpiece Amazon Channel and PBS Passport. You can also buy it on Digital or DVD.

Content Note: TV-14 for implied assault, violence, intense medical scenes, and brief strong language.


Jack and Miss Fisher. 20 of the Most Romantic Period Drama TV Series to Watch
Jack and Miss Fisher are on the verge of a waltz… Photo: Acorn TV/ABC/Every Cloud Productions


A stylish female sleuth solves crimes in 1920s Australia while exchanging witty dialogue with a handsome detective.

Why You Should Watch: 

For Miss Fisher’s wit, her incredible costumes, and the synergistic romance between Detective Jack and Phryne Fisher! 

There’s also a cute romance between her assistant, Dot, and the adorable Hugh Collins. 

This romantic mystery series became an international hit because it’s fabulous! It was so popular that fans around the world crowdfunded a new movie.

Where to Watch: Hoopla, Acorn TV. You can also buy it on Digital or DVD.

Content Note: TV-14 for sensuality, innuendo, brief strong language, and intense situations.

#11: MR. SELFRIDGE (2013-2016)

Mr Selfridge
Photo: ITV Studios/PBS


Mr. Selfridge, in a fictionalized version of the true story, follows the lives of Harry Selfridge, his family, employees, and friends from the start of his famous London department store in 1908 until 1929.  

Why You Should Watch: 

While a few viewers felt Jeremy Piven was miscast, the series is superb – especially on rewatch. With romance and engaging drama, you can’t go wrong with this romantic period drama series.

Katherine Kelly and Amanda Abbington are scene-stealers, and the romance between Agnes and Henry is passionate and charming.

Where to Watch: PBS Passport, PBS Masterpiece Amazon Channel, and Freevee. You can also buy on digital or DVD.

Content Note: TV-14, but the overall series is mild.

#12: OUTLANDER (2014-)

Outlander. 20 of the Most Romantic Period Drama TV Series to Watch
Photo: STARZ/Sony Pictures Television


An English nurse from 1945 time travels to 1783 Scotland and falls in love.

Why You Should Watch: 

For the epic Claire and Jamie romance! While I find the show too explicit, the good love story across time is undeniable, and the writing is excellent.

Where to Watch: Starz and Netflix. You can also buy on digital or DVD.

Content Note: TV-MA for excessive nudity, violence, and explicit content – including severe assault sequences. So, be aware.

#13: THE PARADISE (2012-2013)

paradise - denise and moray
The BBC romance series, The Paradise. Photo: BBC


Denise, a young shop girl, moves to the city to work at the first glamorous department store. There, she falls in love with the modern world and the department store’s owner.

Why You Should Watch: 

The Paradise is based on the classic French novel but tells a unique story separate from the book. 

The characters are excellent, the writing superb, and you won’t want to miss the swoony Moray and Denise romance.

Where to Watch: The Paradise is available to stream on Britbox or to buy on digital or DVD.

Content Note: The British series is TV-PG-like.

#14: POLDARK (2015-2019)

Poldark. 20 of the Most Romantic Period Drama TV Series to Watch
Poldark. Photo: BBC/Mammoth Screen/Masterpiece


Ross Poldark returns home to Cornwall after the American Revolutionary War – only to discover everything has changed. Poldark recreates a new life for himself and falls in love.

Why You Should Watch: 

For the epic romance between Ross and Demelza! Plus, Aidan Turner, as a period drama leading man, is one of the best. He broods like Heathcliff and brings his best acting to the performance. 

Besides Turner, the rest of the cast also shines. 

Overall, Poldark is a brilliant romantic period drama series with gorgeous scenery, a haunting musical score, beautiful costumes, intelligent scripts, and excellent actors. It’s based on a series of popular novels.

Where to Watch: You can stream it on PBS Passport, PBS Masterpiece Amazon Channel, or Amazon Prime Video. It’s also available to buy digitally or on DVD.

Content Note: TV-14 for sensuality, mild violence, and intense scenes.

#15: REIGN (2013-2017)

Reign - Renaissance and Elizabethan Era. 20 of the Most Romantic Period Drama TV Series to Watch
Reign wedding. Photo: CW/Warner Bros Television/CBS Television Studios


Reign follows the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots – mainly focusing on her early years. 

Why You Should Watch: 

If you prefer historical accuracy, this is not the show for you! However, if you enjoy YA romance, historical fantasy, and Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables), then this is a fun, entertaining series.

Megan Follows as Catherine de Medici and Craig Parker as Narcisse play the sympathetic villains/heroes and steal the show with their conniving plotting and zippy one-liners. 

Trust me. If you miss these two actors on screen together, you’re missing out.

But what about romance? This show is, by definition, a romance – the most significant romance between Mary and Francis. But there is plenty of love to go around.

Where to Watch: Stream on the CW Seed or buy on digital or DVD.

Content Note: TV-14 for a few semi-explicit love scenes, violence, and mild profanity.

#16: ROAD TO AVONLEA (1990-1996)

Gus and Felicity
Photo: Sullivan Entertainment

Official Synopsis

A young girl (Sarah Polley) is sent to live with her mother’s relatives in Prince Edward Island. Set in the early 1900’s, the series follows her adventures, as well as that of her family and the town’s people as she grows up in Avonlea.

Why You Should Watch: 

If you loved the ’80s Anne of Green Gables, then the spin-off TV series is a must-see period drama. The show is sweet, inspiring, and nostalgic. 

It’s also well-written, with fantastic romances (Gus and Felicity!), amazing characters, and memorable stories. It’s my favorite show of all time. Whenever I need to de-stress, this is the show I watch.

Where to Watch: Rent/Buy digitally from Gazebo TV. You can also buy the series on DVD.

Content Note: TV-G. It’s safe for the entire family.


Scarlet Heart: Ryeo
Scarlet Heart: Ryeo. Photo: SBS

Viki Synopsis of Scarlet Heart

After a terrible car accident, 25-year-old Zhang Xiao (Liu Shi Shi) travels from modern-day China back to the 18th century. She is incarnated as one of her previous lives – that of 16-year-old Maertai Rouxi, the daughter of a Manchu general, during the Qing Dynasty.

Viki Synopsis of Scarlet Heart Ryeo

Go Ha Jin is a young woman of the 21st century who, following her break-up with her boyfriend, finds herself by the sea. In trying to save a child from drowning, an eclipse appears and she is transported to the Goryeo era, during the reign of Taejo, the first king of that era.

She will then have to live under the identity of Hae Su, cousin of the wife of Wang Wuk, the 8th Prince, and will thus be involved in the conflicts between the Wang Prince. 

Why You Should Watch: 

If you enjoy time-travel romance or historical romance, both the Chinese and Korean adaptations are excellent. I prefer the Korean one, but it depends on your taste! 

The Chinese series has two seasons, while the Korean only one. The latter has a cliffhanger, and no word of a season two has yet happened. So, it’s unlikely to at this point. Thankfully, it’s not hard to guess what happens next.

Where to Watch: You can only buy Scarlet Heart Ryeo on DVD. You can watch the Chinese version on Viki.

Content Note: TV-14 for violence.


Kurt Seyit and Sura. 20 of the Most Romantic Period Drama TV Series to Watch
Photo: Star TV


The Turkish historical drama follows the love story between a noble Russian woman and a lieutenant from Crimea.

Why You Should Watch: 

For the epic love story based on real events! This Turkish series is both romantic and entertaining. 

This is a fantastic choice if you’re looking to dip your toes into foreign historical romance TV shows.

Where to Watch: You can stream this series on Film Box+ or the Film Box+ Amazon Video Channel. 

Content Note: TV-14

#19: VICTORIA (2016-)

Victoria. 20 of the Most Romantic Period Drama TV Series to Watch
Shown from left to right: Tom Hughes as Prince Albert and Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria. Credit: Courtesy of ITV Plc for MASTERPIECE


Victoria follows the early life of Queen Victoria and her romantic relationship with Albert. 

Why You Should Watch: 

Victoria is one of the better romance period dramas. No one does period drama better than the British, and this is an excellent example of that. 

This is a must-see series with gorgeous costumes, unforgettable romances, and an entertainment factor.

Where to Watch: PBS Passport, PBS Masterpiece Amazon Channel, and Amazon Prime. You can also buy on digital and DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG for sensuality and intense scenes.


Jack and Elizabeth in When Calls the Heart.
When Calls the Heart. Photo: Hallmark/Crown Media


A wealthy young schoolteacher from the East moves to the West to teach in a coal-mining town.

Why You Should Watch: 

If you enjoy Hallmark romances, you’ll likely enjoy their romantic period drama series! While it’s on the cheesy side, it’s a fun show to watch with the whole family. And the romance is good too.

Where to Watch: Netflix. You can also buy on digital or DVD.

Content Note: TV-G

#21: A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES (2018-2022)

A Discovery of Witches Season 2 - Diana and Matthew in Elizabethan London
Credit: Bad Wolf/Sky


A witch works with a vampire to uncover the truth behind the existence of witches, vampires, and daemons – only for the two to fall in love, a rule forbidden by the Council.

Why You Should Watch: 

A Discovery of Witches is a brilliant example of how to adapt a book series right. Yes, the final season seemed to have a budget cut and took out more scenes from the book than I would have liked, but overall, this romantic series is epic, well-written, and full of smoldering chemistry between Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer. 

While only part of the series takes place in the past (Season 2 is almost entirely set in Elizabethan times), historical fantasy fans should love this epic vampire show. 

Where to Watch: Stream on AMC+, Shudder, and Sundance Now, or buy on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: TV-MA but mild overall. There are a couple of sensual love scenes that are only semi-explicit. There is some violence and profanity – but not constant.


All Creatures Great and Small season 3 news; cast photo from season 2
Front Left to Right, Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West), James Herriot (Nicholas Ralph) & Tristan Farnon (Callum Woodhouse). Backrow: Helen Alderson (Rachel Shenton) & Mrs Hall (Anna Madeley). Credit: Courtesy of MASTERPIECE


Based on popular books (and inspired by real people), All Creatures Great and Small follows the adventures of James Herriot, a young vet, in Yorkshire during the 1930s. 

Why You Should Watch: 

It is a sweet, nostalgic series full of humor, romance, adorable animals, small-town charm, and so much more! The strong writing, perfect casting, and idyllic setting will keep you hooked. 

Where to Watch: You can stream the series on PBS Passport and PBS Masterpiece Amazon Channel. You can also buy it on Digital and DVD.

Season 3 premieres in January 2023 on PBS Masterpiece.

Content Note: TV-PG


Anne shirley in anne of green gables
Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables. Credit: Sullivan Entertainment

Official Synopsis

Based on the international best-selling novel by L.M. Montgomery, this Emmy Award-winning production follows the provocative life drama of orphan Anne Shirley (Megan Follows), from her struggles as an adolescent to her triumphs as a young woman. The result is a delicate epic full of wit, style, and emotional power.

Why You Should Watch: 

Sullivan Entertainment produced four miniseries about the classic character Anne Shirley, but the original two from the 80s are absolute perfection! (Although I still loved the third and fourth ones – even though they departed from following the books.)

From the romantic atmosphere to the costumes, sets, and production designs, perfect casting (with award-worthy performances), the iconic love story between Anne and Gilbert is portrayed beautifully; the scripts, and so much more, ultimately created a magical adaptation. 

This is one romantic period drama everyone needs to see.

Where to Watch: Rent/Buy digitally from Gazebo TV. You can also buy the series on DVD.

Content Note: TV-G. The third movie, Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story, is more like TV-PG. 

#24: AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (2021-)

around the world in 80 days featured image with David Tennant
Around the World in 80 Days with David Tennant. Photo: Ibrahim Koma as Jean Passepartout, David Tennant as Phileas Fogg, and Leonie Benesch as Abigail “Fix” Fortescue. Credit: Courtesy of Federation Entertainment

Official PBS Synopsis:

Around the World in 80 Days is a thrilling new adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel. David Tennant (Good OmensDoctor Who) stars as literature’s greatest explorer, Phileas Fogg. 

He is joined on his incredible journey by French actor Ibrahim Koma (OSS 117Wùlu) as Jean Passepartout, Fogg’s irrepressible valet, and German actress Leonie Benesch (The CrownBabylon Berlin) as Abigail “Fix” Fortescue, a determined and headstrong journalist.

Why You Should Watch: 

 Around the World in 80 Days is incredible fun – much like watching Doctor Who historical adventure episodes with the 10th Doctor!

The addition of Abigail (inspired by Nellie Bly) is totally brilliant! And her romance with Passepartout is romantic and sweet. 

Where to Watch: Stream on PBS Passport and PBS Masterpiece Amazon Channel. You can also buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG

#25: BLEAK HOUSE (2005)

Credit: BBC Television


Bleak House follows characters dealing with legal injustices, romance, and heartbreak during the Victorian Era.

Why You Should Watch: 

Based on Charles Dickens’s famous classic novel, this Emmy-winning series is an example of the best of British drama. 

The BBC period drama has an all-star cast with brilliant writing from Andrew Davies, memorable performances (especially from Gillian Anderson), and lots of romance. All in all, Bleak House is absolutely exquisite.

Where to Watch: Stream on Britbox, Hulu, or the Britbox Amazon Channel. You can also buy it digitally or on DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG

#26: BRIDGERTON (2020-)

Kate and Anthony in Bridgerton
Kate and Anthony in Season 2 of Bridgerton. Credit: Netflix


Based on the book series by Julia Quinn, each season follows a different Bridgerton sibling as they find love in Regency Era England.

Season 1 follows the naïve Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) when she falls in love with a rakish Duke (Regé-Jean Page). 

Season 2 then has the eldest (and serious) brother, Lord Anthony Bridgerton, deal with his own romance with the intelligent Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley). 

Meanwhile, the gossipy (and secretive) Lady Whistledown spills all the secrets about the wealthy members of society. 

Why You Should Watch: 

Bridgerton proves the staying power of diversity within the period drama romance genre! With the romance, the acting, and the entertainment factor, this is a period romance you’ll want to binge-watch. 

Where to Watch: Stream on Netflix. 

Content Note: TV-MA for steamy love scenes with nudity, especially in Season 1. Season 2 is much milder. 

#27: CRANFORD (2007-2010)

Credit: BBC


Elizabeth Gaskell’s classic story comes to life in this story about the women of a small British town in the 1840s. 

Why You Should Watch: 

Cranford is an Emmy-winning series with some of the best actors ever to grace the screen – from Judi Dench to Michael Gambon, Eileen Atkins, Imelda Staunton, and more! Even Tom Hiddleston and Jodie Whittaker star. 

The writing is splendid, the characters rich, the scenery gorgeous, the love stories emotional, and the costumes lovely!

Where to Watch: Britbox, Britbox Amazon Channel. You can also buy it on Digital or DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG

#28: DANIEL DERONDA (2002)

Daniel Deronda promo image
Credit: WGBH Boston/BBC


Based on George Eliot’s masterpiece, Daniel Deronda follows the story of Gwendolen Harleth, a complex heroine who falls in love with the unique and selfless Daniel Deronda. 

She soon becomes stuck in an abusive marriage with a wealthy man while Daniel begins to investigate the mystery of his unknown parentage. 

Why You Should Watch: 

Andrew Davies proves yet again his talent for adapting classic novels. His script captures the book’s essence and characters – bringing out Gwendolen’s complexity and Daniel’s heroic nature. 

Romola Garai and Hugh Dancy smolder onscreen together – and you find yourself rooting for them – even though they’re not meant to be. 

Where to Watch: Stream on Britbox, Hulu, or the Britbox Amazon Channel. You can also buy it on DVD or digitally.

Content Note: TV-PG


David Copperfield 1999
David Copperfield (1999). Credit: BBC/WGBH


Based on Charles Dickens’s famous novel, David Copperfield tells the tale of a young orphan as he grows up in Victorian England and deals with friendship, hardship, and love.

Why You Should Watch: 

Before Daniel Radcliffe was Harry Potter, he was another iconic book character: David Copperfield. He plays the younger version of David, showing lots of promise as a young actor. 

Maggie Smith also stars – even earning a Primetime Emmy for her performance as Betsey Trotwood.

The rest of the cast is also excellent: From Ian McKellen to Ciarán McMenamin, Dawn French, Imelda Staunton, and more. 

This BBC romantic series is precisely what you’d want from a British period drama.

Where to Watch: Stream it on Britbox, Britbox Amazon Channel, Hulu, and Crackle. You can also buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG

#30: DOCTOR THORNE (2016)

Doctor Thorne promo photo
Credit: Hat Trick Productions/ITV


The young, destitute Mary Thorne grows up with her caring Uncle, Dr. Thorne. The story follows her relationship with a family and their son, Frank, in the nearby Greshambury Park Estate. 

While they want him to marry for money, Frank and Mary want to be together. 

Why You Should Watch: 

Doctor Thorne is a surprisingly sweet period romance from the usually more severe author, Anthony Trollope – happy ending and all. 

Julian Fellowes – the creator of Downton Abbey – brings his signature writing style to this adaptation. 

So, if you’re looking for an uplifting limited series, check out this underrated drama! Harry Richardson from Poldark and The Gilded Age and Stefani Martini star.

Where to Watch: Prime Video or buy on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: TV-G

#31: EMMA (2009)

Emma 2009 still
The idyllic look of Emma (2009). Credit: BBC


Emma Woodhouse, a young and wealthy woman, meddles in the love affairs of everyone in her life – causing all sorts of trouble.

Why You Should Watch: 

The Emmy-winning adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel comes to life in this brilliant, fleshed-out adaptation. Due to the longer running time as a miniseries, it has the time to explore the novel’s themes. 

Plus, Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller have magnificent chemistry. 

Other actors include Michael Gambon, Jodhi May, Blake Ritson, Tamsin Greig, Rupert Evans, and more. 

Sandy Welch (North & South, Jane Eyre) wrote the screenplay.

Where to Watch: Stream on Britbox, Britbox Amazon Channel, and Pluto TV. You can also buy it digitally or on DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG

#32: GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1999, 2011)

Great Expectations 2011
Great Expectations (2011). Credit: BBC Productions/Masterpiece


An orphan receives new opportunities when a mysterious benefactor starts helping.

Why You Should Watch: 

The 1999 and 2011 adaptations of Charles Dickens’s novel are gorgeous romantic period dramas. If you love the classic feel of the 90s British dramas, check out the 1999 version with Ioan Gruffudd. 

If the higher production values in newer period pieces are more to your taste, the 2011 Emmy-winning miniseries with Gillian Anderson is stunning.

Where to Watch the 1999 adaptation: Buy on DVD.

Where to Watch the 2011 adaptation: Stream on Britbox, Britbox Amazon Channel, or buy it on DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG

#33: HOWARDS END (2017)

Howards End 2017 promo image
Credit: Playground Television UK/BBC/STARZ


Based on E.M. Forster’s novel, Howards End follows three families from different classes: the working-class Basts, the middle-class Schlegels, and the wealthy Wilcoxes. 

Why You Should Watch: 

Hayley Atwell and Matthew Macfadyen star in this elegant adaptation full of striking visuals, costumes, and gorgeous scenery. 

Not to mention a strong script, splendid performances, and a lovely, romantic feel. See our review for more.

Where to Watch: Stream on Prime Video, Roku, STARZ, STARZ Amazon Channel or buy on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: TV-14 but mild.

#34: JANE EYRE (1983, 2006)

Jane Eyre 2006 promo photo with Rochester and Jane
Jane Eyre (2006). Credit: BBC


A young governess takes a job at a mysterious estate and falls in love with her moody and secretive employer.

Why You Should Watch: 

You can’t get much more romantic than these brilliant adaptations of Charlotte Bronte’s classic gothic novel. (Although, if you want to see which version I rank as number one, check out my list of the best Jane Eyre adaptations.)

While Timothy Dalton brings Mr. Edward Rochester to life with a proper understanding of the Byronic Hero, Ruth Wilson shines as Jane in the artistic and swoony 2006 miniseries

Both versions are worth your time and represent the best of the romantic period drama genre. 

Plus, you won’t want to miss the chemistry between Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. Their chemistry is so strong; don’t be surprised if you see sparks flying off your TV screen.

Where to Watch the 1983 adaptation: Stream on Britbox, Britbox Amazon Channel, or Plex. You can also buy it on DVD.

Where to Watch the 2006 miniseries: Stream on Britbox, Britbox Amazon Channel, Hulu, Crackle, and Pluto TV. You can also buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG. The 2006 one has a couple of steamy scenes. There are also scenes of child abuse in both versions.

#35: LES MISÉRABLES (2018)

Les Miserables 2018
Credit: BBC/WGBH


The thief Jean Valjean escapes from the relentless Inspector Javert and transforms his life for the better. 

Why You Should Watch: 

David Oyelowo is masterful as the obsessed Javert. His performance alone makes this drama worth checking out. 

Thankfully, the rest of the period drama is just as good – telling the famous Victor Hugo story through a British period drama lens. 

With Andrew Davies writing the script and excellent performances, it’s hard to go wrong with this one. 

Dominic West, Olivia Colman, Adeel Akhtar, Lily Collins, Emma Fielding, Josh O’Connor, Joseph Quinn (the breakout star from Stranger Things), David Bradley, Johnny Flynn, Derek Jacobi, and Ellie Bamber also star.

Where to Watch: Stream on PBS Passport or PBS Masterpiece Amazon Channel. You can also buy it digitally or on DVD.

Content Note: TV-14 for implied sensuality, brief nudity, violence, and some language.

#36: LITTLE DORRIT (2008)

Little Dorrit 2008 still
Credit: BBC/WGBH


Amy Dorrit earns money for her struggling family while her father is stuck inside a debtor’s prison. She soon crosses paths with Arthur Clennam, her boss’s son, and develops feelings for him.

Why You Should Watch: 

Claire Foy and Matthew Macfadyen bring Charles Dickens’ romantic tale to life with their exceptional performances. 

As a production, it’s top-notch – even winning seven Primetime Emmys. From the costumes to the set design to the script and acting – this is the best type of period romance drama. 

Other cast members of Little Dorrit include Tom Courtenay, Judy Parfitt, Andy Serkis, Russell Tovey, Freema Agyeman, Georgia King, Bill Patterson, Pam Ferris, Eve Myles, and Arthur Darville.

Where to Watch: Stream on Britbox, Britbox Amazon Channel, Pluto TV, and Plex. You can also buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG

#37: MIDDLEMARCH (1994)

Middlemarch 1994 poster


Based on George Eliot’s classic novel, the BBC miniseries tells the tale of the people living in the town of Middlemarch. 

When a clever young woman foolishly marries an older man, she deals with the aftermath – including falling in love with a young artist.

Why You Should Watch: 

Middlemarch came before the iconic 95 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth – but the book was adapted in a similar style from the same screenwriter, Andrew Davies. 

The adaptation follows the book and focuses on clever dialogue and good actors – making it compelling to watch. 

The romance between Dorothea and Will is terrific too. 

Where to Watch: Stream on Britbox, Britbox Amazon Channel, or buy on DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG


Miss Scarlet and the Duke season 1 still
Stuart Martin as William Wellington (The Duke) and Kate Phillips as Eliza Scarlet in season 1. Credit: Courtesy of MASTERPIECE


Miss Eliza Scarlet runs a private detective business in Victorian London and sometimes works with ‘The Duke,’ a Scotland Yard Inspector she has feelings for.

Why You Should Watch: 

Miss Scarlet & The Duke has all the trappings of British crime dramas and the best romantic period dramas – making for the perfect combination. 

With romance, suspense, great characters, and compelling mysteries, Miss Scarlet & the Duke has quickly become a fan favorite you won’t want to miss.

Kate Phillips and Stuart Martin star.

Where to Watch: Stream on PBS Masterpiece Amazon Channel and PBS Passport. You can also buy it digitally and on DVD. New episodes air on PBS and stream on PBS Passport. Season 3 will premiere on PBS later in January 2023.

Content Note: TV-14 for suspense, sensuality, violence, and language. It’s mild overall. 

#39: MR. SUNSHINE (2018)

Mr. Sunshine kdrama poster


In Mr. Sunshine, a young Korean boy moves to the US during the Korean Expedition of 1871, only to return to Korea years later and fall in love with a noblewoman. 

Why You Should Watch: 

Kim Eun-Sook creates some of the best Korean dramas, including this historical romance series. It’s one of the highest-rated dramas in Korean television history and was also a popular drama on Netflix. 

The epic love story is told within a unique historical setting and is one you won’t soon forget. 

Where to Watch: Stream on Netflix or buy on DVD.

Content Note: TV-MA for some violence.

#40: NORTH & SOUTH (2004)

north and south 2004 publicity photo with Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage
Credit: BBC


Based on the classic by Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South follows a young Margaret Hale when she moves from idyllic southern England to the harsh northern town of Milton in the North. 

There, she meets the brooding John Thornton, the cotton mill owner, and becomes entangled in a strike while also fighting against her growing feelings for him.

Why You Should Watch: 

The BBC adaptation of North & South is the greatest romantic period drama series of all time. The writing, the costumes, the acting, the story, the characters, the romance, the cinematography, the set design, and more all come together to create a period drama masterpiece. 

Richard Armitage also gives the performance of a lifetime as John Thornton, forever solidifying him as a powerful romantic leading man onscreen.

The love story between Margaret and Thornton is one for the ages. Don’t miss it. 

Other cast members include Daniela Denby-Ashe, Lesley Manville, Brendan Coyle, Sinéad Cusack, Anna Maxwell Martin, Tim Pigott-Smith, Pauline Quirke, Jo Joyner, and Rupert Evans.

You can also read my review and find out why North & South matters

Where to Watch: Stream on Britbox, Britbox Amazon Channel, or buy on DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG


Our Mutual Friend 1998
Credit: BBC


Set in 1860s Victorian London, Charles Dickens’ tale follows interweaving stories amid themes of love, jealousy, and greed.

Why You Should Watch: 

Our Mutual Friend is an outstanding romantic period drama miniseries from the BBC that often falls under the radar – mostly due to the passage of time. 

But it’s an adaptation that should never be forgotten or overlooked. It won four BAFTAS. Not to mention, Paul McGann gives one of his best performances as the melancholy Eugene.

Paul McGann and Keeley Hawes portray a beautiful but sad love story between Eugene and Lizzie. 

The sweeter romance, however, belongs to Bella (Anna Friel) and John, and everything works out just as it should – as one might expect in a Dickens story. 

Sandy Welch penned the screenplay. 

Where to Watch:  Stream on Britbox, Britbox Amazon Channel, or buy digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG for violence.


Pride and prejudice 1995 promo shot with Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth
Pride and Prejudice (1995). Credit: BBC


Jane Austen’s classic novel tells of the love story between Mr. Darcy, a prideful wealthy estate owner, and the witty Elizabeth Bennet, who is prejudiced against him. 

Why You Should Watch: 

This adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is arguably (with perhaps Downton Abbey) one of the most famous romantic period dramas ever made. It’s also one of the best. 

Colin Firth’s star-making performance as Darcy and Jennifer Ehle’s splendid witty performance as Elizabeth Bennet, mixed with Andrew Davies’ romantic – slightly steamy (Colin Firth in a wet t-shirt) interpretation of the material, helped create the masterful production that went on to have a significant moment in pop culture. 

Pride and Prejudice is a timeless adaptation you can watch again and again. For more movies and adaptations, see 15 of the Best Pride and Prejudice Adaptations, Ranked.

Where to Watch: Stream on Britbox, Britbox Amazon Channel, Hulu, and BYU TV. You can also buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG

#43: SANDITON (2019-2023)

Rose Williams and Theo James in Sanditon.
Rose Williams and Theo James in Sanditon. Credit: Red Planet Pictures / ITV


The series continues Jane Austen’s unfinished novel about the young heroine Charlotte Heywood and her adventures in the seaside resort village of Sanditon. 

Why You Should Watch: 

Sanditon has had a rough time! It was canceled after a cliffhanger ending in Season 1, only to come back a couple of years later with some cast changes

Despite all that, Sanditon is a witty, romantic series with fabulous female characters, diversity, and a fun, beautiful setting. 

The final season will air sometime in 2023

Where to Watch: Stream on PBS Passport and PBS Masterpiece Amazon Channel. You can also buy both seasons digitally and on DVD. The final season will air on PBS and PBS Passport.

Content Note: TV-14 for a few steamy scenes – especially in Season 1. 


Sense and Sensibility 2008 Elinor and Edward
Credit: BBC/WGBH Boston


Three sisters are left without an inheritance after their father dies. The two eldest sisters, Elinor and Marianne, learn to adjust to their new situation while finding love and experiencing heartbreak. 

Why You Should Watch: 

Andrew Davies adapts Jane Austen’s beloved novel in this excellent three-part miniseries. While it’s not as artistic as the 1995 film, the series has more time to explore different aspects of the book. And it is just as entertaining.

Sense & Sensibility received two Primetime Emmy nominations and is a lovely version full of romance, emotional performances, and a top-notch script. 

Where to Watch: Stream on Britbox, Britbox Amazon Channel, Hulu, Crackle, Pluto TV, and Plex. You can also buy it digitally and on DVD.

Content Note: TV-14 for some sensuality.

#45: THE DURRELLS IN CORFU (2016-2019)

The durrells publicity cast photo
Credit: Sid Gentle Films/Masterpiece/ITV


Inspired by the real-life Durrell family, the show follows them during their time living in 1930s Greece.

Why You Should Watch: 

If you love quirky costume dramas with eccentric characters, humor, and beautiful scenery, this one’s for you! Keeley Hawes gives a wonderful performance as the mother, Louisa. 

And Louisa’s slow-build romance with Spiros (Alexis Georgoulis) is surprisingly emotional and compelling. 

As for her three children, their stories are also interesting to watch. And you can’t help wanting to find out what happens with The Durrells next. 

Where to Watch: Stream on PBS Masterpiece Amazon Channel, PBS Passport, and Amazon Prime Video. You can also buy it digitally or on DVD.

Content Note: It’s TV-PG but should probably be TV-14 for innuendo and adult themes. 

#46: THE GILDED AGE (2022-)

Louisa Jacobson and Denée Benton in The Gilded Age.
Louisa Jacobson and Denée Benton. Photo: HBO/Alison Cohen Rosa


The show begins in 1882 and follows Marian Brook, a young woman in her 20s who moves to NYC to live with her wealthy aunts after her father dies. 

She then becomes enmeshed in a social war between her aunt and their new neighbors, who are railroad tycoons. 

Why You Should Watch: 

The Gilded Age is the American period drama we all deserve! Yes, it is written by the British screenwriter Julian Fellowes, but his signature wit and romanticized style suit the luxurious setting of Gilded New York City. 

The story is set within the same universe as Downton Abbey – only 30 years earlier – so here’s to hoping younger versions of Downton’s older characters appear in the future! 

The series is unabashedly romantic (much like Downton) with promising romances for several characters – upstairs and downstairs. 

Not to mention the intriguing marriage between the ambitious railroad tycoons George and Bertha Russell. You’ll find yourself rooting for their marriage. 

Overall, the lavish sets, costumes, witty dialogue, Edith Wharton-like story, and a diverse cast are sure to please the period drama aficionados out there. 

You can read more about the new series in our review

Where to Watch: Stream it on HBO Max or buy it on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: TV-MA, but most episodes feel like TV-14. There is one scene of nudity in episode four, a couple of moments of sensuality, a transparent nightgown in episode 3, and a brief scene of violence. Overall, it’s very mild for a TV-MA HBO series. 

#47: THE WOMAN IN WHITE (2018)

the woman in white 2018 poster


Based on Wilkie Collins’ gothic sensation novel, The Woman in White follows two half-sisters, one of whom is forced into an arranged marriage with an ill-intentioned older man. 

Why You Should Watch: 

The 2018 miniseries has a gothic romanticism to its style – with mysteries to solve and a sweet love story. 

The series also has fascinating female characters and excellent performances in this gorgeous-looking romantic period drama. 

The cast includes Olivia Vinall, Ben Hardy, Jessie Buckley, Dougray Scott, and Charles Dance.

Where to Watch: Stream on PBS Masterpiece Amazon Channel, PBS Passport, or buy on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG for thematic elements, mild violence, and intense situations.

#48: THIS IS US (2016-2022)

This Is Us season 1 still of Jack and Rebecca
Credit: 20th Television/NBC


This Is Us follows the Pearson family and their stories throughout their lives.

Why You Should Watch: 

This Is Us is one of the greatest television series of all time! The show has won four Primetime Emmys (with numerous more nominations) and is entertaining to watch. 

The emotional series will pull on your heartstrings and keep you guessing what will happen from episode to episode. 

While half the series is contemporary, the other half spans the past and future – mostly showing the Pearson family from the 1960s to the 1990s. 

And while it’s undeniably a family drama, it’s just as much of a romantic drama with numerous authentic romances. 

None more epic than the love story between the married couple, Jack and Rebecca Pearson – portrayed by Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore. 

This is a quality show that is sure to make its mark on television history.

Where to Watch: Stream on Hulu and Peacock or buy on Digital and DVD.

Content Note: TV-14 for some language, sensuality, thematic elements, suggestive dialogue, and mild violence. Nothing vulgar or excessive.

#49: VELVET (2013-2016)

Velvet spanish period drama
Credit: Atresmedia / Antena 3


Velvet follows the stories of the people working at a fashion house in 1950s Madrid. 

The main storyline is about the star-crossed love story between Alberto, the heir of the fashion house, and Ana Ribera, a seamstress working there.

Why You Should Watch: 

Romantic Spanish period dramas have a style all their own and are so much fun to watch!

Velvet is a swoony story of star-crossed love with lots of gorgeous costumes and entertaining plot lines. 

You can also check out the spin-off series, Velvet Colección.

Where to Watch: Stream on Netflix or buy on DVD.

Content Note: Season 1 is TV-14, but the later seasons are TV-MA with intermittent nudity and explicit lovemaking scenes. Seasons 3 and 4 also have profanity. 


Wives and Daughters 1999 picture
Credit: BBC/WGBH


The daughter of a country doctor deals with a difficult new stepmother and a complicated stepsister while developing unrequited feelings for a friend.

Why You Should Watch: 

Wives and Daughters is a period drama gem with some of the best British actors starring – including Michael Gambon, who gives an award-winning performance (he won the BAFTA for Best Actor) as Squire Hamley. 

The love story is unique, the writing solid, and the period drama look beautiful with great hairstyling, costumes, and production design. 

Make sure to bring tissues when you watch this heartbreaking yet uplifting story based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel. This one gives all the feels!

Besides Gambon, Justine Waddell, Anthony Howell, Francesca Annis, Bill Patterson, Keeley Hawes, Tom Hollander, Iain Glenn, Penelope Wilton, and Rosamund Pike star.

Where to Watch: Buy on DVD.

Content Note: TV-PG

What is your favorite historical romance series to watch? Do you have other recommendations for period romances? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image credit: Pride and Prejudice (BBC), Victoria (ITV Plc for MASTERPIECE), Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (ABC/Every Cloud Productions), Poldark (BBC), Bridgerton (Netflix), North and South (BBC), and Downton Abbey (ITV/Carnival Films/WGBH). 

Editorial Note: This post was first published in 2019 and has been updated and republished for 2022.

50 of the Best Romantic Period Drama TV Series of All Time to Watch; pinterest image


By on November 11th, 2022

About Amber Topping

Amber works as a writer and digital publisher full-time and fell in love with stories and imagination at an early age. She has a Humanities and Film Degree from BYU, co-created The Silver Petticoat Review, contributed as a writer to various magazines, and has an MS in Publishing from Pace University, where she received the Publishing Award of Excellence and wrote her thesis on transmedia, Jane Austen, and the romance genre. Her ultimate dreams are publishing books, writing and producing movies, traveling around the world, and forming a creative village of talented storytellers trying to change the world through art.

More posts by this author.

11 thoughts on “50 of the Best Romantic Period Drama TV Series of All Time to Watch”

  1. loved Kurt Seyit ve Sura. I couldn’t stop watching it! Now that it is off netflix, I watch on Youtube. I watched it enough before to be able to know what is going on without subtitles. I’m watching Outlander now. I like the story, but at times, I wish it would leave some of the romance to our imagination. One of the the things I really like about KvS was the subtleties of the romance.

  2. I know no one will see this but I’m trying to look for a show that was about sisters growing up and finding love one of the sisters ends up with a abusive husband which she later leave and gets with a guy that has hair up to his chin it’s based in the 1800s and is called something like the the bongulars or something like that if you know the show please let me know thank you 🙂

  3. Your suggestions were really helpful. Thank you! I also recommend another Turkish series, Wounded Love(Vatanim Sensin) It was a great show. The romance and relationships in this series were really wonderfully reflected…

  4. Your suggestions were really helpful. Thank you! I also recommend another Turkish series, Wounded Love(Vatanim Sensin) It was a great show. The romance and relationships in this series were really wonderfully written.

  5. There is a period drama that starts at a party and then there is a huge riot/war that starts. But at that party there is a rumor or betrayal is started… I can’t remember the rest and really want to watch the whole thing, not just the first episode. Please help if this sounds familiar. It would have been in the last 2 years

  6. Thank you so much for the list and especially for the content ratings and notes. I like to know what I am getting into before I watch and those notes are incredibly helpful (and not easy to find elsewhere!)


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