There is no better place to start your trip than exploring the castle that plays the role of Downton Abbey. Take a tour around Highclere Castle, the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Set on 1,000 acres of parkland, you will be immersed in the glamour of the Victorian manor that played host to the family since 1679. Here you can experience Downton life in style, from sipping tea in the café to a stroll through the gardens you will recognise settings from your favourite Downton moments.
The Carnarvon Arms
The recently restored coach house plays host to British celebrity chef Marco Pierre White and makes the perfect base for the cast during filming. Just minutes from Highclere Castle, you can take time to feast on gourmet pub dishes and keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of Matthew or Carson at the bar.
Take a stroll around the picturesque villages used to represent the world of Downton. The Oxfordshire Cotswolds are home to locations such as St Mary’s Church host to a number of Downton events, the Churchgate House, used as the Crawley family home and the Old Grammar school.
Lady Sybil and Branson’s Bolthole
While visiting the beauty of the Cotswolds, take a step back to series two where Lady Sybil eloped with the chauffeur, Branson. Wine and dine at the Swan Inn, a boutique pub which makes for an idyllic base to explore the area and see where the scandalous romance unfolded.
Luxurious 2 Double Bedroom House – from £97 per night (sleeps 4)
Period Cottage – from £119 per night (sleeps 5)
Cotswold Stone Converted Barn – from £182 per night (sleeps 7)
Bates’ prison cell
Visit Lincoln Castle and see the cell John Bates was locked up in for murder in Season Three. After you’ve had your Downton Abbey fix, view the Lincoln Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest to brush up on your British history. The 3th century document protects England’s forests from the aristocracy.
Finish your day off with a tour of the property used as the home of the Dowager Countess. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the 1720’s you can walk in the steps of Maggie Smith by enjoying a tea in the Downton Room.
Cosy Historic Cottage – from £102 per night (sleeps 5)
Willowside 4 Bedroom House – from £182 per night (sleeps 10)
Night on the town
The younger Crawleys certainly know how to put their hair down and throughout the series took the opportunity to enjoy the excesses of life in the capital. Lady Rose in particular was a fan of the jazz scene, which continues to thrive. Visitors can get a taste of the London jazz circuit by visiting 606 jazz café in Chelsea, or the Vortex in Dalston.
A royal affair
Whilst Lancaster House may have been used as a stand in for Buckingham Palace in the 2013 Christmas special, a visit to London will allow you to see the real thing and revel in the finery that the Crawley family would certainly be used to.
Mayfair flat – from £244 a night (sleeps 4)
Stylish apartment in the heart of luxury St Johns Wood – from £148 a night (sleeps 6)
For more weekend inspiration visit www.housetrip.com