This special small group tour includes entry to Highclere Castle.
Visit the filming sites associated with Downton Abbey in the morning, and enjoy a full afternoon in Highclere Castle, the Grantham family home in the series.
Christmas Special event - Saturday 5th December
This excursion includes a morning tour of Highclere Castle during the festive season. The tour will include the State Rooms as featured in Downton Abbey and will also include the Egyptian Exhibition. After the tour we will visit Downton Village (Bampton) followed by a drive through filming sites in Shilton and Swinbrook (details below) before ending at Yew Tree Farm (Cogges) which will be open for International Friends customers only. Here you will enjoy an exclusive private tour of the house/farm with some mulled wine and mince pies!!
This is a small group tour with maximum 16 people.
Depart London and drive away from the city to the delightful Oxfordshire Cotswolds to see key filming sites of Downton Abbey. Our first stop is a visit to Yew Tree Farm (Cogges Manor Farm), home of the tenant farmer Mr.Drewe. The historic farmyard and 13th century manor house sits on the banks of the River Windrush and first appeared in Downton Abbey in series 4. In series 5 the farm plays a central role with the farmer's wife raising Lady Edith's love child! After a tea/coffee break in the delightfully refurbished rustic cow shed Café at Cogges, we take a tour and learn of the relationship between the tenant farmers and landowners, showing the sites used in filming.
After the tour we enjoy a sightseeing drive through the Windrush valley. First stop is the Swan Inn at Swinbrook, which hosted the elopement of Lady Sybil with Branson the family chauffeur (and now son in law!). This was one of the key, and most controversial, storylines in Downton Abbey series 2. We then continue our drive to Shilton, a truly stunning Cotswolds village in a small basin, where large coaches cannot drive. Time for a photo to explore the old stone foot-bridge, duck pond, old pump and well, before we take the short journey to 'Downton village', otherwise known as Bampton, a beautiful Oxfordshire Cotswolds village. The village of Bampton has been used extensively in all series for Downton Village filming. Bampton Library was used for Downton Cottage Hospital and Doctors surgery; St.Mary’s Church became Downton Church and Church Square; Churchgate House was used for exterior shots for the Crawley family home; and we walk along the street which has been used for shops, the post office and the Grantham Arms.
In the early afternoon we make our way to the Grantham Family home, Highclere Castle. On arrival at Highclere Castle there will be time to enjoy the beautiful gardens; The Monk’s Garden, White Border, Secret Garden and Wood of Goodwill. There will be time for lunch, or a snack in the Tearooms where you can enjoy light lunches or afternoon teas made in the Castle kitchens, before we enter Highclere Castle for an afternoon visit. Our tickets are valid to enter the Castle, Gardens and Egyptian exhibition from 13:30pm-15:30pm (Castle closes at 16:30pm), and we plan to arrive at the Castle by 13:00. There is plenty of time to have lunch, enjoy the grounds and enter the Castle.
The Carnarvon family has lived at Highclere since 1679. Major rebuilding work was carried out in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in 1838, the 3rd Earl of Carnarvon brought in Sir Charles Barry to transform his home into a truly stunning mansion. During the First World War the Castle was transformed into a hospital, returning to a private home in 1922.
To this day the current (8th) Earl and Countess of Carnarvon live partly in the Castle and partly nearby, but remain closely involved in the Castle's day to day life and future.
On entry to Highclere Castle visitors follow a route through the Castle through with guides in each State room. The State rooms include the Saloon, Library, Dining room, Music room, Drawing room and Smoking room. Visitors can then go up the Red Stairs to view some of the Bedrooms and the Gallery, before walking down the Oak staircase back to the Saloon in the heart of the house.
After the tour you will have time to visit the Egyptian exhibition. The Castle was the seat the of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who famously discovered the Tomb of the Egyptian Boy Pharaoh, Tutankhamun, in 1922. In the cellars of Highclere Castle there is now a new Egyptian exhibition to celebrate the discovery!
Important note about cancellations - Due to the very limited availability of Highclere Castle tickets all bookings for this day trip are 100% non refundable.
- Travel by executive coach
- Expert, friendly guides
- Visit to Yew Tree Farm (Cogges) and Downton Village (Bampton)
- Entry and tour of Highclere Castle and Gardens
- Maximum group size 18 people
Departure point – London
07:20am - Great Russell Street, outside British Museum. WC1B 3DG
07:30am - Great Portland Street tube, outside International Student House, London W1W 5PN
07:40am - Outside Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch. W1C 1LZ
07:50am - Outside main entrance to Zara Fashion, 79 Brompton Road, SW3 1DB (next to Harrods), Knightsbridge
08:00am - Outside Premier Inn, Knaresborough Place, Earls Court. SW5 0TJ
Return to London
On the return to London your driver will drop you at Victoria Train Station in the city centre. This is one of the largest transport stations in London, with excellent connections to all parts of London and beyond.
This day trip is operated in partnership with Oxfordshire Cotswolds tourism. All destination images used have been provided by Oxfordshire Cotswolds. For further details of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds please go to http://www.oxfordshirecotswolds.org
Disclaimer: International Friends Downton Abbey day trips and tours are not endorsed, sanctioned or in any other way supported, directly or indirectly, by Carnival Films, NBC Universal or Julian Fellowes and his representatives.