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.
Regular tour very limted spaces for 2015 - Exclusive special event options below in August and October:
Special event 1 - Monday 3rd August - Exclusive talk by the Countess of Carnarvon
In aid of Highclere Church your visit will begin at Highclere Church with tea, coffee and cakes and a short talk by Lady Carnarvon. Learn about the history of the church, and hear true stories of living with the film crew of one of the most famous TV programmes in the world! After the talk there will be time to enter Highclere Castle. We depart Highclere Castle early afternoon and visit the filming sites detailed below (Bampton, Cogges, Shilton and Swinbrook). This itinerary will apply to all bookings on this date received from 10th July 2015.
Special event 2 - Saturday 17th October - Exclusive Private Highclere Castle Tour
This excursion includes a special tour of Highclere Castle, where only a limited number of tickets have been made available to the general public. You will be welcomed on arrival by Highclere Castle guides, and the tour will include the State Rooms and Castle bedrooms as featured in Downton Abbey! The tour will also include the Egyptian Exhibition. After the 2 hour tour there will be time to explore the Gardens. Price also includes complimentary refreshments and a Highchlere Castle goody bag!
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.