Top 5 Downton Abbey Tours from London

Discover the best excursions to visit Downton Abbey, the magnificent Crawley family estate that gives its name to the series and the film of the same name.

Ivana Nazareno

Ivana Nazareno

8 min read

Top 5 Downton Abbey Tours from London

Downton Abbey | ©UKinUSA

*Downton Abbey, the Crawley family's magnificent estate that gives its name to the most-watched British TV series on the planet(and the film too!), has taken many tourists to the wrong parts of England. One of the best ways to explore the sets is to take a full day trip from London.

In the series, the lands of the Earl and Countess of Granzham are located in Yorkshire, in the north of the country, but filming actually took place not far from London. Highclere Castle in Berkshire is the real-life Downton Abbey. And Bampton, in Oxfordshire, is the Downton village.

1. Marvel at Downton Abbey and Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle| ©Richard Munckton
Highclere Castle| ©Richard Munckton

Booking a trip to Downton Abbey and Oxford is one of the top things to do on a visit to London. In this well-known British city you can walk through its beautiful streets and have time to photograph the ancient buildings of one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

In addition, the tour will take you to Bampton, which belongs to the Cotswolds and is actually the village of Downton in the award-winning fiction. There you will be shocked to see the sturdy and solid Victorian mansion of Downton Abbey in real life, the most amazing thing is that it is just as you have seen it on TV!

Afterwards, you'll visit Highclere Castle , the castle that was transformed into a hospital in the drama series, which was built in the 19th century to a design by the architect who designed the Palace of Westminster. Situated 110 km from London in Berkshire, it is the home of the 8th Earl of Carnarvon and is only open for visits for a few months each year. See the calendar here.

Details of interest

  • Price: around 195 euros.
  • Duration: the tour usually takes about 10 hours.
  • Transport: Air-conditioned tourist bus.
  • Advantages: A professional guide will tell you all the details and secrets of the places and the series and you will be able to meet other Downton Abbey fans.
  • Disadvantages: It is not an economical option and if you want to visit Bampton, Oxford and Highclere Castle in depth, I recommend you stay in Oxford for at least one night. Read this post if you want to know how to visit Oxford from London.

Book a trip to Downton Abbey and Oxford

2. Discover the charm of Downton Abbey and the beautiful Blenheim Palace.

Blenheim Palace| ©jonathan
Blenheim Palace| ©jonathan

Booking a tour to Downton Abbey and the Cotswolds is an ideal way to experience an authentic rural experience and discover the treasures of Bampton, the fictional town where Downton Abbey is set. You'll discover and fall in love with Blenheim Palace and the UNESCO listed country house where Winston Churchill himself was born.

Afterwards, you will admire the beauty of the Cotswolds, an area of England surrounded by mountains and hills with dreamy villages, typical buildings and London gastronomy, a real charm that you can't miss! I take this post if you want to know how to get to the Cotswolds from London.

The villages that stand out the most are Bibury and Bourton on the Water, where you will discover the typical cottages by the river, the town hall and Victoria Hall. And, of course, you'll get the full Downton Abbey experience as you arrive in the famous village of Bampton, the setting for some of the show's most memorable scenes. You'll have time to stroll and wander around the village, sample delicious gourmet dishes and sip the famous English tea.

Details of interest

  • Price: The price of the tour is 94 euros.
  • Duration: the average trip takes approximately 10 hours.
  • Transport: The tours are conducted in an air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Advantages: When you only have a few days in London but you still want to see the charming villages around the English capital, this is what you are looking for. Especially since one of the famous villages you'll visit is the set of the legendary series.
  • Disadvantages: If you are a big fan of the English series, this option does not include a visit to Highclere Castle, which is the most important location of the series.

Book a tour to Downton Abbey and the Cotswolds

3. Fall in love with Downton Abbey's most iconic scenes

Bampton Church| ©Hugh Llewelyn
Bampton Church| ©Hugh Llewelyn

Book a Downton Abbey tour with a visit to Highclere Castle and discover the filming sites associated with Downton Abbey and the Grantham family home in the series. You'll get an in-depth look at Highclere Castle, which is still home to the 8th Earl today, and visit the village of Bampton, which any Downton Abbey fan will instantly recognise as Downton Village.

You'll explore St. Mary's Church and Cemetery, where some of the characters have their final resting place. Oops! We won't give you spoilers in case you haven't seen the show yet, but fans love this experience. Inside the church you'll see where many of the characters got married, and at least one was jilted. You know who it was for sure!

I recommend you visit the gift shop where you can buy the best Downton memorabilia.

Details of interest

  • Price: from approximately 195 euros.
  • Duration: approximately 9 hours.
  • Transport: air-conditioned tourist bus.
  • Advantages: It is very complete, ideal for true fans of the series who don't want to miss any detail and want to see all the locations.
  • Disadvantages: The cost is higher than more traditional tours.

Book a Downton Abbey and Highclere Castle Tour

4. Take a tour of the sets of Downton Abbey and Blenheim Palace

Bampton, Downton Abbey set.| ©bazzadarambler
Bampton, Downton Abbey set.| ©bazzadarambler

This tour will give you a taste of the Cotswolds filming location. Imagine being able to follow the example of the lords and ladies of Downton and walk to the limestone hills of the Cotswolds, where much of the action of the period drama was filmed.

You can also tour the Oxfordshire village of Bampton, the actual location of Downton Village and the country inns of Shilton and Swinbrook Yew Tree Farm and Grays Court in Cogges, featured as Downton Place, are also included in your itinerary.

You can marvel at the unique beauty of Blenheim Palace and learn about its royal history. As I've told you, this palace was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and being able to discover every nook and cranny is an incredible experience.

Interesting details

  • Price: the tour starts at approximately 95 euros.
  • Duration: the whole tour takes about 10 hours each way.
  • Transport: air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Advantages: This tour will give you a complete overview of the locations chosen by the creators of the series to shoot the outdoor scenes and the food outside the castle.
  • Disadvantages: The only problem with this tour is the price.

Book a Downton Abbey and Cotswolds Tour

5. Experience a private taxi tour of Downton Abbey

Taxi| ©aimee rivers
Taxi| ©aimee rivers

This tour will take you to all the most emblematic places of the series that I have told you about before, but it has the particularity that it is totally private, you can also stop for lunch, visit the village of Bampton and enter Highclere Castle to see its beautiful decoration and relive the most enthralling chapters.

Details of interest

  • Price: The tour starts from approximately 868 euros.
  • Duration: The London black taxi will pick you up from your hotel and drop you off at the same place at the end of the tour. The whole tour will take about 9 hours.
  • Transport: a private air-conditioned black taxi with an exclusive driver.
  • Advantages: This option is relaxed, you will be able to discover absolutely all the Downton Abbey related sites in the comfort of your own chauffeur driven car.

Disadvantages: The cost of the tour is quite high for a single person or family.

Book a tour to Downton Abbey and Oxford

What you will see at Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle| ©Neil
Highclere Castle| ©Neil

The famous castle is undoubtedly the most iconic if you book a tour of Downton Abbey with a visit to Highclere Castle, not only because it is the central setting for the series but also because of the real history behind its walls and beautiful gardens. Admission allows you to visit the interior of the castle, the gardens and the exhibition of underground Egyptian artefacts. Much of the original décor was used in the series, and those who saw the episodes will easily recognise the locations:

Fun fact, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon became an archaeologist and was one of the people responsible for discovering the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun. The great thing about visiting the interiors of Highclere Castle is that several of the environments portrayed in the series actually exist, and you'll see them just as they appeared on the small screen:

  • The library where Lord Grantham read the correspondence brought by Mr. Carson.
  • The drawing room where Violet Grantham and the other women of the family met and talked.
  • The staircase and hall which featured in some of the most dramatic scenes of the series (such as Mary and Matthew's dance, where they lose themselves in a kiss and end up being caught by Lavinia).

The Carnarvon family have lived at Highclere since 1679. Major rebuilding work was carried out in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in 1838, the third Earl of Carnarvon brought in Sir Charles Barry to transform his home. During World War I, the Castle was converted into a hospital, returning to private housing in 1922. To this day, the current 8th Earl of Carnarvon lives partly in the castle and partly nearby.

Book a Downton Abbey tour with a visit to Highclere Castle

How to book a tour of Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle| ©Neil
Highclere Castle| ©Neil

If you want to book a tour to Downton Abbey and Oxford you can easily do so online. Generally, if you cancel more than one day in advance you can get a full or partial refund, but it is very important that you read the full terms and conditions before paying.

With regard to weather, some tours may not be able to take place on days with heavy rain or bad weather. If this happens you will be given the option to reschedule the tour or receive a refund.

Book a Downton Abbey and Oxford Tour

Duration of Downton Abbey tours

Inveraray Castle| ©Shadowgate
Inveraray Castle| ©Shadowgate

The Downton Abbey area is very close to the British capital, so after enjoying all there is to see and do in London, you can book a Downton Abbey tour.

There are several stops to make to see the best locations from the series, including Bampton village, Highclere Castle, Downton Town Church and much more. That's why most tours tend to last 9-10 hours on average.

If you want to make the most of your time and see more of England, an ideal option is to combine the Downton Abbey tour with a visit to another location, both on the same day. Popular destinations nearby include the university city of Oxford and Blenheim Palace; both sites resonate with a history dating back to the days of Downton and also contain many tourist sites with real English village history and beautiful nature and architecture.

Book a Downton Abbey and Cotswolds Tour