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Downton Abbey and the Stately Homes of England

Downton Abbey and the Stately Homes of England

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The hit TV drama Downton Abbey transfers to the big screen in September 2019 and is certain to be hugely popular among fans of the ongoing saga featuring the lives and loves of Lord Grantham, his family and their servants. The principal film location for Downton Abbey is Highclere Castle in Berkshire, which itself has become one of the most popular destinations in the country. We are delighted to have secured access to the Castle where we will see many of the state rooms and bedrooms that feature in the show, as well as the fascinating Egyptian Exhibition which tells the story of the Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter’s thrilling archaeological discoveries.

Complementing this are visits to some of the outstanding stately homes and picturesque villages in the surrounding area, many of which have themselves featured as film and TV locations. These include Basildon Park (Pride and Prejudice), Lacock village (Cranford) and Blenheim Palace (Spectre). There are also further Downton connections at Bampton, used for many outdoor scenes, and Waddesdon Manor, an opulent Rothschild mansion that doubled as ‘Haxby Park’.

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  • Departure/Return Location
    London Tothill St, Westminster
  • Departure Time
    08:00 AM
  • Return Time
    7:00 PM
  • Included
    Accommodation
    Guide
    Meals
    Transport
  • Not Included
    All Inclusive
    Flights
    Insurance
    Train Travel

Tour Plan

1
DAY 1
We depart by coach from London for the charming village of Bampton in Oxfordshire, used for filming the outdoor scenes in Downton Abbey. Here we will find the old Grammar School Building (exterior view only), which served as ‘Downton’ hospital, and St Mary’s Church, which also featured heavily in the series, including the dramatic episode in which Lady Edith was jilted at the altar. We continue to our comfortable accommodation in Witney, where dinner is served in the evening. Meals include: Dinner Hotel: Oxford Witney Hotel
2
DAY 2
We depart for Basildon Park near Reading, an 18th-century Palladian mansion which was purchased by Lord and Lady Iliffe in the 1950s, when it was de-requisitioned after the Second World War. With extraordinary vision, the Iliffes brought Basildon Park back to life, acquiring a collection of fine furnishings and carefully selected Old Masters. The house featured as ‘Netherfield Park’ in the 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. In the afternoon we transfer to Highclere Castle, which will be instantly recognizable to all as the fictional Downton Abbey. Upon arrival we tour the main state rooms and castle bedrooms, as featured in the TV series and film. Also included is a tour of the Egyptian Exhibition, which tells the story and contains antiquities from the tombs that were discovered in Egypt by the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter. Dinner is served in the evening. Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner Hotel: Oxford Witney Hotel
3
DAY 3
After breakfast we depart for the picturesque village of Lacock, with its lime-washed, half-timbered stone houses dating from the 13th-century. The village has been the setting of many a television and film production, including Pride and Prejudice, Cranford and Wolfman. We will also visit Lacock Abbey, which sits at the heart of the village. It was founded in 1232 and converted into a country house around 1540. In the afternoon we visit the gardens of lford Manor, near Bradford-on-Avon. This romantic award-winning Italian garden designed by Harold Peto contains a formal garden on old terraces embellished with his collection of classical statuary and architectural fragments. Steep flights of steps link the terraces with pools, fountains, loggias, colonnades, urns and figures. Later we visit the historic city of Bath, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring many of the finest architectural sights in Europe such as Pulteney Bridge, the Circus and Royal Crescent, often used in films and TV shows whenever an elegant Georgian terrace is called for. We return to our hotel where dinner is served in the evening. Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner Hotel: Oxford Witney Hotel
4
DAY 4
Depart for Blenheim Palace, one of the great stately homes of England and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. From the imposing Great Hall to the beautifully intricate State Rooms, the Palace balances delicate detail with ambitious architecture on the grandest scale. Stunning portraits, tapestries and an exquisite collection of furniture grace the Palace interior, set against a magnificent backdrop of ornate ceilings and striking stone work. Blenheim has featured as a location in several films including the James Bond movie Spectre and Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix. We wrap up at Waddesdon Manor, which featured as the exterior of the fictional ‘Haxby Park’ in the second series of Downton Abbey. Situated on top of a knoll with fantastic views over the Vale of Aylesbury, the house was built in the Neo-Renaissance style of a French château between 1874 and 1885 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild as a weekend residence for grand entertaining, and to display his outstanding collection of arts to the fashionable world. The manor also features a splendid Rococo ironwork aviary housing exotic birds overlooking the garden designed by Lanning Roper in the 1960s. We return to our pick-up point in London. Meals include: Breakfast

Tour Dates

  • 12 JULY 2020
  • 16 AUGUST 2020
  • 05 SEPTEMBER 2020