If you're a fan of Downton Abbey, find out where episodes were filmed.
If watching this award-winning show makes you wish you were having afternoon tea in a magnificent stately home, then wish no more. We’ve put together a list of must-visit locations from the series.
Highclere Castle in Berkshire (South East England) is the real castle that plays the role of Downton Abbey. Set in 1,000 acres of parkland, this Victorian manor is home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, whose family have lived on the site since 1679. Downton Abbey author, Julian Fellowes is a longstanding family friend and had Highclere in mind while penning the series.
Make a trip this spring when the castle is open to visitors and experience Downton life first hand: sip tea at the café, stroll the gardens and admire the sumptuous rooms, many of which are used during filming. Buy tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
For Downton lovers that want to sleep in the same room as their heroes, we recommend booking a room at The Carnarvon Arms, a grade-II listed former coach house. As it’s only a short distance from Highclere, The Carnarvon makes the perfect base for the cast during filming, and has recently undergone a restoration by British celebrity chef Marco Pierre White. Feast on gourmet pub grub and keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of Matthew or Carson at the bar.
The Cotswolds, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is north of Highclere, and in series two, it was the site of scandal when Lady Sybil eloped with the chauffeur, Branson. The pair went to Swinbrook in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, and filmed at the Swan Inn, a boutique pub which makes for an idyllic base from which to explore the area.
Also in the Cotswolds, is the picturesque village of Bampton, where many of the exterior scenes of Downton Village and Crawley House are filmed. Stop off at Bampton Coffee House for an English cream tea or lunch at the Vineyard at Stockcross, an elegant hotel with a great restaurant. Maggie Smith, Downton's resident Dame, is rumoured to have stayed here during filming.
Visit Oxfordshire have created this handy little map of the Downton Abbey locations so you can visit the actual places yourself and imagine yourself as Lady Sybil / Lord Grantham (delete where applicable).
Did he or didn't he? Season Three sees John Bates locked up in York prison for murder. On closer inspection, however, the prison is actually Lincoln Castle, just a few of hours south of York. Lincoln Castle is home to the Lincoln Magna Carta, which dates back to 1215, as well as the Charter of the Forest, a 1217 document that ensured England's forests weren't taken over by the aristocracy.
In 2013, Brit Movie Tours will be offering a three-Day Downton Abbey Experience. Hear anecdotes about the cast, filming and production, and take in all of the main show locations, before stepping back in time and living life as an Edwardian aristocrat. Short on time? They also offer a Nine-hour tour.
The Wayfarers’ newest vacation, The Downton Abbey Walk, (six nights, starting on July 14 and September 1) offers visitors a packed week which includes a private tour of Highclere Castle; a trip to Castle Combe; the extraordinary Neolithic stone circles at Avebury; and the village of Lacock, where Pride & Prejudice and Harry Potter were filmed.
P & P Tours offers one-day, escorted trips that visit Bampton and Highclere Castle, where a guide tells behind the scenes stories about the locations and the filming of the series.
Great British Tours offers a private chauffer and guide for the day to Highclere Castle and Bampton.
Cruise the River Thames to Downton Abbey with European Waterways