With the release of the Downton Abbey movie later this month, it’s a perfect time to tour some of the sites around England where Julian Fellowes’ award-winning, historical drama was filmed.
Highclere Castle, Hampshire
The home to the Earls of Carnarvon, Highclere Castle served as the primary film location for Downton Abbey. Groups will enjoy touring the staterooms, bedrooms and grounds and enjoy hearing interesting tidbits such as the story of Lady Almina who turned Highclere into a World War I hospital, paralleling Downton’s transformation into a convalescent home in season two. The guides around the castle have exceptional knowledge and plenty of stories to share with tour groups about the artwork, architecture and history, unlike Cora and the girls.
The Village of Downton
This Cotswolds village was transformed into the Village of Downton for the series. Groups can take a stroll through the quaint streets past sites used for Crawley House, Downton Cottage Hospital, the post office and St. Mary’s Church, where Edith was jilted at the altar by Sir Anthony Strallan. Upscale groups may be interested in adding an overnight at the five-star hotel, The Vineyard at Stockcross, a 45-minute ride away, rumored to be the favorite of Dame Maggie Smith during her time filming Downton Abbey.
Recently Cut and Polished
West Wycombe Park, Village and Hill, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
West Wycombe House is the home of the Dashwood baronets, the first recipient of the rank when it was created by Edward III. The house served as the home of Rosamund and her late husband Marmaduke Painswick for the series. Show fans will recognize the home’s Blue Drawing room as the backdrop for some of the most illicit storylines, including Rose’s affair with the married Terence Margadale and Edith’s pregnancy. Visiting groups can take the house tour during the season starting in June while the village can be toured year-round.
Dancing in the Library at Brancaster Castle
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
The seat of the Duke of Northumberland, Alnwick Castle is the second-largest castle in England behind Windsor Castle. Alnwick served as the film site for the 2014 Christmas Special in which Brancaster Castle was hired out by Rose’s father-in-law, Lord Sinderby. Visitors can enjoy a display of costumes, photographs and props used for the show. The castle is open for tours from the end of March through November 1 each year.
Picnicking in the Park
Kensington Gardens, London
Kensington Gardens, one of London’s eight royal parks, and its Albert Memorial was the site of the Levinsons’ and the Allsopps’ picnic in the 2013 Christmas Special, much to the amusement of the Dowager who attended. The gardens will also be a popular stop with any royal fans or history buffs as it is the childhood home of Queen Victoria and Princes William and Harry.
Yew Tree Farm
Cogges Manor Farm, Oxfordshire
Cogges Manor Farm is a popular Oxfordshire agritourism stop and served as the film site used for Edith’s visits at the Yew Tree Farm where she spent time with Marigold and Mr. Mason’s home in season six. Visitors to Cogges Manor Farm can tour the 13th-century manor house and the accompanying farm buildings, walled garden and orchard. Downton fans will enjoy the Downton-themed tour, perusing the collection of filming photographs or watching the short movie about filming at the farm that features interviews from the producer and location manager.
For more information on visiting these and other Downton Abbey film sites visit https://www.visitbritain.com/us/en/where-was-downton-abbey-filmed