Itinerary ideas: Downton Abbey Self-Drive UK Tour
Off the shelf, flexible tours of the UK and Ireland
Downton Abbey Self-Drive UK Tour
What's it all about?
For fans of the international hit series Downton Abbey there can be no better trip to the UK than by combining some of the most famous filming sites for the hit TV series with a grand tour of the UK. Many of the filming locations used in the series are close to some of Britain's most popular cities, towns and villages with tourist and for a true taste of England that even the dragged along less-than-super-fans will enjoy, take a look at our self-drive tour which includes many interior and exteriors as well as Downton Abbey and Downton Village.
Region: Central England, Scotland
Length: 8 days / 7 nights
Transport options: Vehice Hire
Start and End: London Heathrow
Price: Please enquire with passenger numbers and requested dates for current prices
Inclusions: 7 nights accommodation, Airport transfers, Hire Care, National Trust Pass, Selected Entrance fees, Info Pack, maps, taxes, fees and financial protection.
Exclusions: Meals other than breakfast, optional activities unless stated, Flights, Tips, Visa's
Downton Abbey Self-Drive UK Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Highclere Castle, Berkshire
<strong>Used for: Downton Abbey</strong> If you're not already aware, Highclere Castle is the famous Downton Abbey itself. Used inside and out for the Grantham family home, visits to the castle will take you straight into the set and into the lives of the Grantham family themselves. Parts of the castle are open to the public for tours as well as the gardens but tickets have to be bought in advance and with the castle open for just 70ish days of the year, the 2015 tickets are already sold out. If you're desperate to see Highclere though (and on a Downton tour you probably are!) there are a very limited number of walk up tickets available on the days the castle is open. We suggest that you check the calendar carefully and leave yourself a couple of days to head to the castle and wait around (maybe until 2pm!) for walk-in tickets to become available. If you're patient and persistent it should be worth the wait!
Day 2: Basildon Park, Berkshire
<strong>Used for: Grantham House interior</strong> If you're bored of waiting at Highclere or get lucky on day 1, day 2 is a great time to visit nearby Basildon Park. This National Trust property is open to the public daily and at 11.30am each day fans can take a Downton tour and learn all about transforming this grand 18th Century Mansion into Grantham House – the Crawley family's London residence. The house featured in the 2013 Christmas special as well as the climax of series 5 where Lady Rose married Atticus Aldridge. All of the downstairs rooms were used for filming and a picnic scene took place in the grounds. The beautiful house is a great place to visit in its own right and an afternoon tea here is not to be missed!
Day 3am: Bampton, Oxfordshire
<strong>Used for: Downton Village</strong> This morning we suggest that you head to the small village of Bampton. This small Oxfordshire village borders on the Cotswolds and it doesn't take visitors long to begin recognising the local features as Downton Village. St Mary's Church and the surrounding area is a great starting point as many of the village scenes take place around here and the quaint streets have seen plenty of drama over the years! The church itself was renamed as St Michael and All Angels for the series and will be familiar as the site of some dramatic weddings, funerals, christenings and even a jilting! The old rectory in Bampton is known as Churchgate House and will be familiar to many as the outside of Isobel Crawley's house. For a little on-site memorabilia, the Bampton Community Archive has a nice little selection of gifts and memorabilia and also happens to be the site where the Downton Cottage Hospital scenes were filmed. Church View in Bampton often pops up and is home to both the fictional Grantham Arms and The Dog & Duck pubs. The Downton fair also took place here.
Day 3pm: Cogges, Oxfordshire
<strong>Used for: Yew Tree Farm</strong> Just a few miles from Bampton and nestling beautifully on the banks of the river Windrush you will spot a familiar 13th century manor house and heritage site. The farm buildings on this site are used as Mr Drewe's fictional Yew Tree Farm. The farm featured regularly throughout series 4 and 5 as Lady Edith's illegitimate daughter Marigold was brought up by Mr and Mrs Drewe at the farm. The Cogges farm itself is open Tuesday to Sunday during the summer and offers great facilities for all the family including farm activities, children's play areas, a café and of course chance to hear abour Downton filming on site from the local volunteers.
Day 4: Cotswolds villages (Swinbrook and Shilton)
<strong>Used for: The Swan Inn and The Red Lion</strong> A delightful day out in the Cotswolds should begin in the village of Swinbrook – west of the city of Oxford and into the stunning Cotswolds. Swinbrook sits just 2 miles east of Burford along the river Windrush. It is here that The Swan Inn, and idyllic Cotswold pub played host to Lady Sybil and Branson as they planned their controversial elopement to Gretna Green. The Swan Inn is renowned for its fantastic food so it's worth booking in lunch here and if you're able, spend a night in one of the beautiful rooms available here. If not though, move onto Shilton. 2 miles south of Burford is a stunning little village called Shilton. Here you should spot the Old Forge which was transformed into The Red Lion pub – the workplace of Mr Bates after he left Downton in series 2. Across the shill brook you may also spot a pretty small bridge which was also featured in the programme. For the rest of the day you might want to head over to nearby villages of Bourton-on-the-water or Stow-on-the-Wold. Neither of these were in Downton but as far as quintessentially English Cotswold villages go, you can't beat an afternoon tea in these pretty towns.
Day 5am: Greys Court, Henley-on-Thames
<strong>Used for: Downton Place</strong> Another National Trust property; Greys Court was used in the third season of Downton Abbey as Lord Grantham's bad investment led to a downsizing and a proposed moving to a smaller house on the Downton Estate. The family enjoyed a picnic on the lawn with the Downton Place in the background as you may recall. The attractive estate is well worth a visit and the Tudor mansion an attractive and impressive building – even if it is just a second home!
Day 5pm: West Wycombe House, Buckinghamshire
<strong>Used for: Lady Rosamunds London home (interiors)</strong> This grand estate is National Trust managed though the house itself is still home to the Dashwood family (and inspiration for Jane Austen's Dashwood sisters!). Although the house itself is only open to the public through June to August, this is another must for fans of the show. The interior of the house features regularly throughout the Downton series' as Lady Rosamund's London home; a place where the Grantham and Crawley girls often head to confide in the worldly wise and ever supportive Lady Rosamund. The decadant interior is as impressive as it is interesting and the estate village and grounds are also well worthy of your time.
Day 6: Byfleet Manor, Surrey
<strong>Used for: Dower House (home of Violet Crawley)</strong> Unfortunately this well-known and familiar property interior is not generally available for public viewing; in fact you can't even spot the house from the road! However, for super fans there
Day 7: Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
<strong>Used for: Brancaster Castle</strong> It's time to leave the safety of central England and head north to Alnwick Castle. Through the journey you may wish to stop and spend a couple of days exploring Cambridge, the Peak District National Park, York
Day 8: Inveraray Castle, Scotland
<strong>Used for: Duneagle Castle</strong> Unless you fancy a few nights in Edinburgh on route (which we would highly recommend!), the final stop on our whistle stop Downton tour is Inveraray Castle on the banks of Loch Fyne. The castle is situated in Wes