On this tour we visit Bampton Village and Highclere Castle that is Downton Abbey. This tour is a fantastic Downton Abbey day tour from London for Downton fans.
Booking in advance is advised as Highclere is only open for between 60 and 70 days each year. You can check opening dates on the official Highclere Castle website.
The grand stately home of Highclere Castle needs no introduction. It has a rich history in itself as the seat of the Earl of Carnarvon but has become globally famous as the home of the Crawley family in Downton Abbey. The house serves as the backdrop to Downton and is as important a feature in the production as the characters portrayed by Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery to name just a few of the cast.
The first records of the estate date back to 749. Bishop William of Wykeham built a medieval palace and gardens in the park. His palace was rebuilt as Highclere Place House by Sir Robert Sawyer, the direct ancestor of the current Earl of Carnarvon in 1679. By 1842 Highclere House was transformed into Highclere Castle by Sir Charles Barry, who also designed the Houses of Parliament.
There are some 300 rooms in the Castle and during our visit we’ll explore the main state rooms so familiar from Downton Abbey. You will see some of the bedrooms after which you will follow the stairs down to the cellars and old staff quarters. There is also an extensive Egyptian Exhibition, celebrating the 5th Earl of Carnarvon’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Situated within the beautiful Cotswolds area of Oxfordshire the market town of Bampton-in-the-Bush was a major Anglo-Saxon centre, royal manor and site of a minster church. At the time of the Norman Conquest, Bampton was a recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086AD. The town enjoyed prosperity in the early Middle ages from its wool trade, textile mill and leather works.
Bampton is used for several outdoor locations in the fictional village of Downton. The Old Rectory (Churchgate House), the public library, the parish church of St Mary the Virgin, and houses in Church View (pubs) are all used in Downton Abbey and we’ll explore the village at a leisurely pace.
Bampton has an interesting history outside Downton having an old Motte Castle (now incorporated into Ham Hall) and we’ll explore some of these spots as we continue our journey.