I am possessed by the spirit of British royalty, I can’t help it. I think about social life of the beginning of the century in Yorkshire, in long-standing dances and in real visits, and everything is because they are about to release the film of one of my favorite series, so nothing better than to suggest places to visit and leave you nine locations of ‘Downton Abbey’ that you should not miss .
If above all things there is Highclere Castle, there are also villages, castles and train stations that will make you transport yourself to scenes from the series and the new movie. That British spirit is breathed in every corner of the places we propose because film tourism is booming and we love it.
Highclere Castle will always be for us Downton Abbey
If we are going to start with a visit to ‘Downton Abbey’ enclaves there is no better place to start than Highclere Castle, the big house. It is a mid-19th-century castle in Berkshire, about 96 kilometers from London. The house is open to the public and since the beginning of the series, it is estimated that about 1200 people visit the place every day. When the location team looked for places and they went there, there were only three other people on the visit, so you can get an idea of what the matter has increased.
Victorian mansion in Elizabethan style, this magnificent residence is owned by the Counts of Carnavon. Does the last name sound to you? Yes, the fifth Earl of Carnavon funded and helped Howard Carter discover the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922. And the one before the current one was the one in charge of the racehorses of his Graceful Majesty Isabel II.
We have already told you that the film takes as a thread a real visit to Downton. Well, in this case, the idea comes from the visit that the King and Queen made to Wentworth Woodhouse in 1912, being guests of the Counts of Fitzwilliam. At the time there was a dance at Marble Saloon that is recreated almost perfectly in the film.
The mansion can be visited and looks even more majestic than Highclere Castle: fewer plants but more elongated reminds us a lot of Pemberly, Mr. Darcy’s residence in ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
The eternal ugly duckling of the series, Lady Edith ended up as a beautiful swan married to someone of royalty and moving to a real castle in Northumberland: Alnwick Castle. It is an impressive stone wonder whose beginnings go back to a fortress that was built in the 11th century to defend the northern border from Scottish invasions, also having an important place in the War of the Two Roses, between the York and the Lancaster.
The castle remains today the residence of the Dukes of Northumberland, belonging to the Percy family (700 years in the castle family), but they only occupy a small part of the building, because in the rest there is a teaching center belonging to the University, exhibition halls, museums, restaurant, cafeteria … all prepared to monetize and to sustain such a house.
And yes, the real Harry Potter fans will have found a certain resemblance to Hogwarts because they were used outdoors to shoot in all the movies. Just imagine broom flights around.
Bampton, the charming town near the mansion
But it is that we fell in love with the series is not only what we saw inside that great mansion, but that the town had us crazy and returns to have prominence in the film. The town of Bampton in Oxfordshire was used as a real setting for the Downton of the series and film. There is a Downton Abbey tour that takes you to all the places that were the location.
Supposedly in the series is in Yorkshire, between Ripon and Thirsk. The truth is that it is a beautiful town in the middle of the Cotswolds that retains all the charm of the beginning of the century almost unchanged, simply a change of posters and works wonders to achieve the perfect setting. And here are the church and cemetery that come out in the series.
Beamish, the village museum
On one occasion we talked about Colonial Williamsburg, that town museum that is in Virginia and that is used not only to remember recent history but for filming, because it’s British equivalent is Beamish, the “open-air museum of the north.” It is a wonderful place to go back in time when you visit it, with all the stores as they would be at the beginning of the 20th century, so they used it to shoot the film’s exteriors.
Lacock, a place where a King would go to inspect a regiment
If the film revolves around a real visit to Downton, the kings also have to do things, so one of the scenes that are promised most memorable is an inspection that makes the Yorkshire Hussars, the British Navy’s regiment to which it belongs Lord Grantham Lacock is a town of the eighteenth century perfectly preserved and worth visiting.
And sharpening the view, you can also discover locations of Harry Potter or the series of ‘Pride and Prejudice’. It is also very close to Salisbury, Bath and Stonehenge totally recommended visits.
The train station to which the protagonists of both the series and the film go so many times is in Pickering. There you can also see the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and many of the locations that have been used both in the series and in the film.