Top 5 Downton Abbey Tours from London

Discover the best tours to visit Downton Abbey, the magnificent property of the Crawley family 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 magnificent Crawley family estate that gives its name to the most-watched British television series on the planet(and the movie, too!), has taken many tourists to the wrong parts of England. One of the best ways to explore the sets is by taking a full-day excursion 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 an excursion to Downton Abbey and Oxford is one of the most important things to do on a visit to London. In this well-known British city you will be able to 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, a town that belongs to the Cotswolds and which is actually the village of Downton in the award-winning fiction. There you will be shocked to see in real life the sturdy and solid Victorian mansion of Downton Abbey, the most amazing thing is that it is just as you have seen it on TV!

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

Details of interest

  • Price: around 195 euros.
  • Duration: the tour usually lasts about 10 hours.
  • Transportation: 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 tour the town of Bampton, Oxford, and Highclere Castle in depth, I recommend you stay in Oxford at least one night. Read this post if you want to know how to visit Oxford from London.

Book a tour 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 plan to live an authentic rural experience and discover the treasures of the town of Bampton, the fictional village where Downton Abbey is set. You will get to know and fall in love with Blenheim Palace and the country house where Winston Churchill himself was born and which is also protected by UNESCO.

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

The villages that stand out 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 will enjoy the Downton Abbey experience to the fullest because you will arrive at the famous village of Bampton, which is the setting for the most memorable scenes of the series. You will have time to stroll around the village, taste exquisite gourmet dishes and drink the famous English tea.

Details of interest

  • Price: The price of the excursion is 94 euros.
  • Duration: the average trip takes approximately 10 hours.
  • Transportation: The tours are conducted in an air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Advantages: When you have few days in London but still want to know the charming villages around the English capital this is what you are looking for. Especially because one of the famous villages you will visit is the set of the mythical 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 Cotswolds

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

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 immediately recognize 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 series yet, but fans love this experience. Inside the church you're going to 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 store where you can buy the best Downton memorabilia.

Details of interest

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

Book a tour to Downton Abbey and Highclere Castle

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

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

With this tour you will get to know 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'll 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 be dazzled by the unique beauty of Blenheim Palace and learn about its royal history. As I have told you this palace was declared by UNESCO as a 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 complete tour takes about 10 hours from start to finish.
  • Transportation: air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Advantages: This tour will give you a complete overview of the places 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 its price.

Book a Downton Abbey and Cotswolds Tour

5. Experience a private cab tour of Downton Abbey

Cab| ©aimee rivers
Cab| ©aimee rivers

This excursion 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 at approximately 868 euros.
  • Duration: the London black cab will pick you up at your hotel and drop you off at the same place at the end of the tour. The whole tour will last about 9 hours.
  • Transportation: a private air-conditioned black cab with exclusive driver.
  • Advantages: This option is relaxed, you will be able to discover absolutely all the places related to Downton Abbey 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 Downton Abbey tour with a visit to Highclere Castle, not only because it is the central setting of the series but also because of the real history behind its walls and beautiful gardens. The ticket will allow you to visit the interior of the castle, the gardens and the exhibition of subway Egyptian artifacts. Much of the original decor was used in the series, and those who saw the episodes easily recognize the locations:

As a fun fact, the fifth Earl of Carnarvon became an archaeologist and was one of those 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 will 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 conversed.
  • The stairs and foyer that appeared 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 has 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 their 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 to Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle| ©Neil
Highclere Castle| ©Neil

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

Regarding the weather, it is possible that some tours may not be able to take place on days with heavy rain or adverse 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 the things to see and do in London, you can book a Downton Abbey tour.

There are several stops you will have to make to see the best locations of the series, such as the village of Bampton, Highclere Castle, Downton Town Church and much more. This is why most tours tend to average 9-10 hours in length.

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 tour to Downton Abbey and the Cotswolds