Sanditon season 3: What will happen? Will the cast return? All we know about the third and final season of the period drama

Sanditon seasons 2 and 3 were commissioned in 2021, and both series were filmed back-to-back, so does that mean we can soon expect a return to the seaside town? Here’s all we know.

By Sophia Moir Updated: 14 December 2022 - 9.20am

Sanditon season 2 ended on a major - not to mention heartbreaking - cliffhanger for fans following its run on BritBox and PBS Masterpiece, so the third season of the Regency-era period drama can’t come soon enough.

The sumptuous Jane Austen adaptation will bow out with its third and final series, but what’s in store for Charlotte Heywood, Georgiana Lambe and the town's other residents?

Here, we reveal everything we know so far about Sanditon season 3, including the rumoured release date, cast and characters, plot, trailer, and more.

Read more: Sanditon to Bridgerton - top book-to-TV adaptations 

What is the Sanditon season 3 release date?

It's been confirmed that Sanditon season 3 will premiere on ITV1 in the UK - not BritBox as with previous seasons - in early 2023, but ITV has yet to announce the release date.

We do know that, in the US, it will premiere on Masterpiece on Sunday, March 19, 2023. We really hope it starts soon after in the UK because we can't wait for the new season!

Season 3 was commissioned back in May 2021. Sad news though: Sanditon season 3 is confirmed to be the show’s final series.

Sanditon seasons 2 and 3 were shot back-to-back between July and December 2021.

How many episodes are in Sanditon season 3?

It’s not confirmed how many episodes are in Sanditon season 3, but we predict there will be six episodes, as there were in Sanditon season 2.

Who’s in the cast of Sanditon season 3?

Sanditon season 3 returning cast

The full cast list for Sanditon season 3 hasn’t been revealed, but we expect all the main players from Sanditon season 2 to return. They are:

  • Rose Williams as Charlotte Heywood
  • Crystal Clarke as Georgiana Lambe
  • Anne Reid as Lady Denham
  • Kris Marshall as Tom Parker
  • Kate Ashfield as Mary Parker
  • Jack Fox as Sir Edward Denham
  • Lily Sacofsky as Clara Brereton
  • Rosie Graham as Alison Heywood
  • Ben Lloyd-Hughes as Alexander Colbourne
  • Alexander Vlahos as Charles Lockhart
  • Frank Blake as Captain Declan Fraser
  • Maxim Ays as Captain William Carter

It’s been confirmed that Tom Weston-Jones will not be returning as Colonel Francis Lennox. Charlotte Spencer will also not be returning as Esther Babbington.

Sanditon season 2 and 3 showrunner Justin Young explained to Decider: “I don’t think it’s spoiling much to say, I don’t think we’ll see Lennox again in season 3. He’s kind of gone.

“I think Esther, where we leave her at the end of season 2, I think she’s got everything she’s ever wanted. She’s happy, married, and now she has a child that she adores so I think that’s the end of Esther’s story as far as I’m concerned.”

Sanditon season 3 new cast

In December 2022, new cast members were announced. These were:

  • Emma Fielding (Years and Years, Van der Valk) as Lady Montrose , the quintessential Austen mother who arrives in Sanditon with one objective: matches for her children, Lydia and Henry
  • Alice Orr-Ewing (Andor, A Very English Scandal) as Lydia, an independent young woman who is not as eager for a match as her mother
  • Edward Davis (Emma) as Lord Henry Montrose, who's charismatic and confident, but he holds a secret
  • James Bolam (New Tricks) as Rowleigh Pryce, a wealthy, curmudgeonly investor who is interested in teaming up with Tom Parker (Kris Marshall) on the seaside resort’s expansion. Their plans become complicated by Lady Denham (Anne Reid)
  • Liam Garrigan (Cobra, Small Axe) as Samuel Colbourne, Alexander’s brother - a lawyer, and a charming bachelor

Read more: Who are the cast and characters in Sanditon?

What happened at the end of Sanditon season 2? (spoilers)

The Sanditon season 2 ending was a major shock to fans, as a plot twist saw Charlotte Heywood (played by Rose Williams) announce her engagement to local farmer Ralph (Cai Bridgen), who we'd not met in the series.

In fact, Charlotte was involved in a love triangle throughout season 2 that saw Alexander Colbourne (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) and Colonel Lennox (Tom Weston-Jones) compete for her affections, so her engagement to Ralph was a storyline we didn’t see coming.

The season 2 ending also saw the wedding of Allison Heywood (Rosie Graham) and Captain Fraser (Frank Blake), after she was lied to by Captain Carter (Maxim Ays).

Meanwhile, Georgiana Lambe (Crystal Clarke) learnt some secrets about Charles Lockhart (Alexander Vlahos), namely that he was conspiring to get his hands on her money.

And Clara Brereton (Lily Sacofsky) followed through with her plans to abandon her baby, leaving him for Esther Babbington (Charlotte Spencer) to mother instead.

Catch up on the final episode of Sanditon season 2 below:

What’s the plot of Sanditon season 3? 

The plot synopsis for Sanditon season 3 hasn’t been revealed, but we do know some details as showrunner Justin Young has given interviews to press.

Season 3 will further explore the relationship between Charlotte and Colbourne, following their romance in season 2 and their kiss in the penultimate episode. Of course, there’s a slight hiccup, as Charlotte is engaged to another man!

“The kind of cliffhanger of the season is that Charlotte is now engaged to Ralph,” Sanditon showrunner Justin Young told Decider. “So at the top of season 3, that’s where we will find her.

"And that’s the question going into season 3: She loves Colbourne. He loves her. We know that. But now she’s engaged to Ralph and how is that going to play out?”

Who created Sanditon?

Sanditon was English author Jane Austen’s final, unfinished novel. She began writing it just two months before her death in March 1817, and although she completed 11 chapters, it remained unfinished.

It was adapted for TV by period drama king Andrew Davies, whose previous successes have included War & Peace, Les Miserables and Pride and Prejudice.

Justin Young (Death in Paradise, Ripper Street), who wrote four episodes of Sanditon season 1, also developed seasons 2 and 3, taking on the role of lead writer and executive producer.

Davies, who originally created the series, returned to write several episodes and executive produce the show.

Is there a trailer for Sanditon season 3?

Yes, you can watch the trailer at the top of this page.

You can also watch a short teaser clip below:

TV shows like Sanditon: Watch if you liked…

Bridgerton, Downton Abbey, Outlander, Poldark, War & Peace, Les Miserables, Pride and Prejudice

Sanditon season 3 returns to ITV1 in early 2023.

Seasons 1-2 are available to stream now on ITVX and BritBox UK.