Hayley Atwell was born to an Irish-English mother and American father who met each other at a seminar. Her first ever-memorable experience with film stars was seeing Ralph Fiennes playing Hamlet and later on working with him in The Duchess.
Atwell was born in London and brought up in Ladbroke Grove and was the daughter of Allison, a motivational speaker, and Grant Atwell, a back rub specialist, picture taker, and shaman. Her father is an American, from Kansas City, Missouri, and of part Native American plunge, and her mom is British. After going to Sion-Manning Roman Catholic Girls' School in London, she took A-levels at the London Oratory School and also studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 2005.