Live the Downton Abbey lifestyle on our tour. We’ll whisk you from your hotel or residence wherever you’re staying right to the striking and instantly recognisable stately home that is Highclere Castle, the setting for the TV series ‘Downton Abbey’.
Departing London at a civilised hour, we arrive at Highclere Castle before the crowds arrive. The present Castle was designed by Sir Charles Barry, who also designed the stunning Houses of Parliament in London’s Westminster area.
If you wish, we can line up for that classic “Downton” shot before we enter the castle itself. For those familiar with the transatlantic hit TV series, the interior will be instantly recognisable, and there will be guides in each room on hand to answer any questions. As we’re one of the first people to arrive we’ll virtually have the home to ourselves, and after browsing through the splendid gardens we’ll set off for further Downton-related experiences.
Our next stop is the delightful village of Shilton and its quaint stone footbridge, as seen in the most recent series. Then we move on to Bampton where much of the TV series was filmed, and you’ll see the village library that was used as the cottage hospital and doctor’s surgery, Churchgate house that was the Crawley’s family home, St. Mary’s that was the church and also the site of the old Post Office and the Grantham Arms.
Then it’s time to enjoy a bit of lunch in the stunning southern Cotswolds, an area of England that was recently designated a National Park. Our lunch stop is ‘The Swan’ pub in Swinsbrook: it’s owned by the Dowager of Devonshire, the last surviving Mitford sister. The whole family were prominent society figures in pre-war English society. This award winning restaurant recently hosted the French president Mr Hollande when he visited England as a guest of the former British Prime Minister David Cameron.
After lunch the choice is yours: you might opt for a relaxing drive through some of the southern Cotswolds towns and villages, or a tour of Blenheim Palace – the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill – and the church where he is buried. Or why not take a tour of Oxford and some of its splendid colleges – whatever you decide, you’ll enjoy a splendid day during which you’ll get to enjoy being treated like a guest of Lord Grantham!