Downton Abbey premiered stateside in January 2011, creating a cultural buzz and converting many Americans to die-hard Anglophiles. The premier of the much-anticipated Downton Abbey feature film has reawakened the love for the series, its characters, and its sweeping scenery. Travel with Ker & Downey to combine your Downton admiration with a varied exploration of the United Kingdom.
It’s hard to think of Downton Abbey without also imagining the iconic silhouette of the home itself. The real abbey, Highclere Castle, is the ancestral home of the Earl and Countess of Carnavon. A visit to this landmark is a must for any Downton fan.
Your Ker & Downey designer can arrange your visit by private car or train. The Belmond British Pullman makes tracks to the castle on select dates in 2020. Travel by train will surround you with the sumptuous, Downton-like glamour of the early 20th century. Upon arrival yours is an immersive experience, including a private tour of the home and gardens. Highclere Castle also features a unique Egyptian Exhibition, documenting the discoveries made in King Tut’s tomb by the Fifth Earl of Carnavon and Howard Carter. Your train journey returns with a decadent dinner, served with flowing wine and conversation to rival any Crawley family banquet.
If you prefer travel by water over travel by rail, consider the delightful Magna Carta river barge. Select departures in May, June, and August 2020 will also include a visit to Highclere Castle.
The exteriors of St Pancras Station, Lancaster House, Bridgewater House, and 35 Belgrave Square can all be seen in episodes of Downton Abbey. The Royal Automobile Club features in the final series of the show, a “temple for car lovers” visited by Henry Talbot and Lady Mary. You can also walk through the courtyard of Sutton’s Hospital, where Sybil and chauffeur Tom Branson were trapped during a riot. Spend time at the Prince Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, where Harold, Martha, William, Madeline, and Grande Dame Violet have a picnic in the series four Christmas Special.
Make sure to build in time to experience afternoon tea at The Ritz. Renowned for its daily afternoon ritual, the iconic London landmark is also the location of the last scene ever filmed for the show. With Ker & Downey, add a touch of elegance to your own trip around the Downton Abbey sites in London by way of a private chauffeur and a classic Rolls Royce.
Outside of London, a number of stately homes and estates also hosted scenes from Downton Abbey. Basildon Park, an 18th-century Palladian-style mansion in Berkshire, was used for interior filming of the Crawley family’s London residence, Grantham House. Farther afield in the Cotswolds, find the picture-perfect town of Bampton, featured as the fictional town of Downton throughout the series. The stone buildings of Cogges Farm were transformed into Yew Tree Farm (the home of the Drewe family) for series four and five.
Alnwick Castle in Northumberland is no stranger to on-camera appearances. Harry Potter fans will recognize the 11th-century marvel as Hogwarts. Downton devotees know it as Brancaster Castle, a location seen in two Christmas episodes of Downton Abbey in series five and six. Alnwick remains the second-largest inhabited castle in the United Kingdom—second only to the royal Windsor Castle.
For Downton Abbey locations elsewhere in the United Kingdom, head to the Scottish Highlands. Inveraray Castle in Argyll appears in the third series Christmas Special as Duneagle Castle, the childhood home of Lady Rose. At Inverlochy Castle in the Western Highlands, you can live just like the MacClare family on your own private estate. Enjoy clay pigeon shooting, fishing, nature walks, and frolicking in the Highlands between lavish private meals and sophisticated afternoon tea.
When it comes to excellent service, our team of designers works just as hard as the Downton staff. Contact Ker & Downey to begin crafting your own custom journey inspired by Downton Abbey. Want to bring more favorites from the screen into your travels? Take a look at our travel guides for real places from Game of Thrones, the Star Wars saga, and much more.