Downton Abbey Filming locations, Oxfordshire Cotswolds & Blenheim Palace
This day trip operates April to mid November, every Wednesday & Friday (new Saturday departures in 2015!), due to Blenheim Palace and Cogges being closed over winter.
Visit the sites associated with Downton Abbey, enjoy lunch in the beautiful Oxfordshire Cotswolds and end the day with a tour of the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace. This day trip operates Wednesday and Friday with departures from London & Oxford.
Depart London and drive away from the city to the rolling limestone hills of Oxfordshire Cotswolds to see key filming sites of Downton Abbey. Our first stop is a visit to Yew Tree Farm (Cogges), which first appeared in series 4 with Mr.Drewe as the tenant farmer. We learn of the developing storyline between Charles Blake, the dashing government adviser sent in to advise Downton and surrounding estates on how to survive changing times, and Lady Mary, now entrusted with the running of the estate following Matthew's death. They immediately clash over family tradition and the need to reform, but following the now famous 'pig scene' their relationship improves. Is romance in the air for series 5?
After a tea/coffee break in the delightfully rustic and refurbished cow shed Cafe at Cogges, we get the chance to explore the great house and historic farm buildings at Cogges, filled with the sound of animals and surrounded by orchards and ancient 'ridge and furrow' fields. Here we learn of the relationship between land owners and tenant farmers and the workload that shifts and changes within the yearly cycle. We hear the stories and see the sights of Downton Abbey filming at Yew Tree Farm, and end with all International Friends customers enjoying a private tour of Yew Tree Farm Manor House (Cogges Manor) before it opens to the public!!
After the tour we take the short drive to 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 as the exterior shots of the Crawley family home; and we walk along the street which has been used for shops, the post office and the Grantham Arms. The town itself has many beautiful 17th and 18th century houses, and St.Mary's Church spire dates back to the 13th century.
We then enjoy a scenic drive through the Oxfordshire Cotwolds, driving by centuries old untouched cottages untouched by the modern world, on roads large coaches would simply never be able to travel on. We take a photo stop in the picturesque historical village of Shilton, which lies in a small basin. In the centre of the village there is a ford across the Shill Brook, and the stream forms a duck pond which together with a stone foot-bridge, old pump and well, creates the perfect picture! The village, with a few 'cosmetic' adjustments, provided Downton Abbey with a scene for a village pub (in reality this was the forge) as well as some settings for rural scenes. Our guide will explain to you how the forge was transformed into the village pub!
From Shilton we continue to Swinbrook where we stop at the Swan Inn. The Swan Inn hosted the elopement of Lady Sybil with Branson the family chauffeur!
This was one of the key, and most controversial, storylines of Downton's second series.
The village of Swinbrook itself, a truly magical, picturesque Cotswold village, is more usually associated with the notorious Mitford Sisters, well known socialites of their day, and not short of the occasional scandal themselves! The Swan Inn is still owned by Debo, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, and the last surviving Mitford sister. The family grew up in Swinbrook, and in the local Church yard you can find the graves of some of the celebrated sisters including Nancy, who wrote the classic novel 'Love in a Cold Climate'.
A short drive to the town of Woodstock for lunch, and en-route we make a stop in the village of Bladon to see the graves of Sir Winston and Lady Churchill.
Woodstock is a fine Geogian town with a distinct Royal Heritage. The Domesday book of 1086 describes Woodstock as a Royal Forest, King Henry I established one of the first known zoos here in 1110, and the Black Prince (son of King Edward III) was born here in 1331. Nowadays, as well as being home to a great selection of historical buildings, it is famous for its selection of small independent shops and a fantastic selection of English pubs and restaurants. The town of Woodstock is also home to Blenheim Palace.
At Blenheim Place your tour begins with an introduction to the 'upstairs and downstairs' of class conscious life. Built for the 1st Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill from 1704 to 1722, designed by Sir John Vanburgh and Nicholas Hawksmoor and interiors by Sir Christopher Wren, this historic stately home was also birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill in 1874. Discover how the aristocracy lived and how the state apartments increased in importance as we move from room to room. We see how servants interacted with their masters and employers and learn of the strict social standards that needed to be maintained. After the tour of this great house, there will be time to stroll through landscaped gardens and see the Temple of Diana where Sir Winston Churchill proposed to Clementine Hozier in 1908, before we drive back to London.
- Travel by executive coach
- Expert, friendly guides
- Visit to Yew Tree Farm (Cogges), Downton Village (Bampton), Shilton and Swinbrook
- Entry to Cogges Manor and exclusive, private tour
- Entry and tour of Blenheim Palace, Park and Gardens
- Maximum group size 16 people
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
09:15am - Outside Oxford Visitor Information Centre, 15-16 Broad Street, Oxford. OX1 3AS
Please arrive at your departure point at least 10 minutes before the departure time. This tour is a guaranteed departure, maximum group size 16 people.
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.