Downton Abbey film locations: Greys Court, Basildon Park, Bampton, Swinbrook + Astor Family's Cliveden, Blenheim Palace & Oxford. Gardens, treasure houses and wonderful countryside!
4th Weekend, Monthly. Saturday-Sunday from London. 2016 dates: 23 Apr, 28 May; 25 Jun; 23 Jul; 27 Aug; 24 Sep
On this adventure into the ‘World of Downton Abbey’ we will visit film sites, places immediately recognizable from the show, but also highlight some places that would have been a part of the world of the Crawley family. See stately homes, stunning gardens, quaint country villages – classical British sites all!
Day 1, Saturday
A full day today as we make our way from our Hammermsith London meeting point at 9am into the countryside, with the Astor family’s magnificent country gardens at Cliveden our first destination. Follow in the footsteps of dukes, earls and royalty as you explore this formal series of gardens that include topiary, colorful seasonal planting in the Long Garden plus the celebrated parterre offering breathtaking views. Now a luxury hotel, for more than 300 years Cliveden was the glittering hub of high society, home to aristocracy and royalty and visited by many famous friends.
Edged with a medieval parkland, Greys Court is a rich patchwork of styles and stories, a Tudor mansion with a mid 20th-century interior featuring an 18th-century tweak. Greys Court provided a magical backdrop for a decadent family picnic scene during filming of series three of Downton Abbey. Chosen for its atmospheric setting with a country house backdrop, the house, maze and gardens are well worth visiting in any case!
Also today, Basildon Park, an impressive Georgian mansion surrounded by glorious parkland. The house you see today is a re-creation and restoration of the 18th Century mansion. Basildon Park lit up the small screen in the Downton Abbey Christmas special 2013 as ‘Grantham House,’ the Crawleys’ London residence.
Our overnight location is in the ‘city of dreaming spires’ Oxford. Guests are free to explore this university town as they choose tonight and first thing in the morning.
Day 2, Sunday
This morning, a bit of a late start so guests have some additional time in Oxford as they choose.
Our first destination is the ancient market town of Bampton, one of the oldest towns in England featuring many pleasant 17th and 18th Century houses, a few inns and a Italianate Town Hall. Certainly to be recognizable as many outdoor scenes of Downton Abbey are filmed here, most notably St. Mary’s Church and the library, which serves as the entrance to the cottage hospital.
The lovely Cotswold village of Swinbrook, a quintessentially English village where time has stood still, hosted the elopement of Lady Sybil with the family chauffeur Branson in the second series of Dowton Abbey. Here too are connections to the notorious Mitford sisters, the property owned by Debo, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire until her recent passing in Sept 2014.
Later, see the incredible treasure house and garden estate Blenheim Palace, given to Winston Churchill’s ancestor John, 1st Duke of Marlborough. The superb collection here includes fine paintings, furniture, bronzes and the famous Marlborough Victories tapestries. In addition to the opulent palace itself, see the amazing gardens, designed in part by ‘Capability’ Brown.
We will return to Hammersmith London by early evening.
Oft imitated, never duplicated! This is an original SGT itinerary, property of Special Group Tours and to be used only with express permission/in conjunction with SGT.