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Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle: Our most recommended tours and activities

Full-Day Downton Abbey, Oxford and Bampton Tour from London

1. Full-Day Downton Abbey, Oxford and Bampton Tour from London

Explore Oxford, the City of Dreaming Spires, home to one of the world’s oldest universities. Admire the architectural highlights of the many colleges. Next on this 10-hour tour is a visit to Bampton, the setting for the exterior village scenes in Downton Abbey. See the church, the house of Matthew Crawley's mother, homes transformed into the post office and various pubs. Head to Highclere Castle, the country seat of the Earls of Carnarvon. The tour of the Castle’s public rooms includes the magnificent main hall, the library, sitting rooms and other rooms featured in Downton Abbey. Take home a copy of Lady Carnarvon's book as a souvenir of your visit.

London: Downton Abbey, Cotswolds, and Highclere Castle Tour

2. London: Downton Abbey, Cotswolds, and Highclere Castle Tour

Depart London by luxury mini-coach on an 11-hour Downton Abbey tour. Stop at Yew Tree Farm (Cogges Manor Farm) to see filming sites used throughout the TV series. Continue to the Swan Inn at Swinbrook, location of one of the series' most controversial story lines. Next stop is in Shilton, a Cotswolds village inaccessible to larger coaches. See the old stone footbridge, duck pond and the old pump and well, before the short journey to Bampton (Downton village). Head to Highclere Castle, home to the Grantham family in the series. Enjoy the gardens before entering the castle. Take a guided tour of the castle’s opulent rooms. There will also be time to take in the Egyptian exhibition.

Downton Abbey and Village Small Group Tour from London

3. Downton Abbey and Village Small Group Tour from London

Become Lord or Lady Grantham for the day, as you visit the film locations used in the BAFTA award-winning Downton Abbey period drama. Hear how the global hit TV series was made and about the actors involved and the wonderful history of the places you visit on this full-day tour. You’ll depart central London in the morning on a drive to the charming Oxfordshire village that has been featured in the series as Downton village. Enjoy a guided tour of locations such as Downton Hospital, the village pub, the former home of Matthew Crawley, and the local church.  Take a short comfort break before continuing on to Highclere Castle, which is the main setting used in Downton Abbey. En route you’ll learn about the thousand-year history of Highclere Castle and life above and below the stairs. Lunch can be purchased at Highclere Castle or you can bring your own lunch and enjoy it on the beautiful grounds. Although guided tours are not allowed inside the castle, you’ll be able to explore the above-stairs area of Downton Abbey independently with the aid of a self-guided information sheet. Imagine life as it was over 100 years ago and enter the world of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants as you wander around the estate. The tour ends in central London.

From London: Downton Abbey and Village Coach Tour

4. From London: Downton Abbey and Village Coach Tour

Step into the hit TV series Downton Abbey on this full-day bus tour from London. Visit filming locations from the show like the village of Bampton which was used for the village of Downton and Highclere Castle which was used as Downton Abbey.  Journey by comfortable air-conditioned coach towards the village of Bampton in Oxfordshire. Listen to an informative commentary about Downton Abbey and the locations you will visit along the way. Arrive in Bampton and take a guided walking tour of the village to see locations from the TV series, such as the post office and the house where Matthew Crawley lived before he moved to the abbey.  Continue to Highclere Castle for 3 hours of free time to explore the house and grounds of the setting for Downton Abbey at your own pace. Find your way around with ease using a helpful leaflet. Have plenty of time to purchase a delicious lunch at the castle or shop for some souvenirs at the gift shop.

From Oxford: Downton Abbey and the Cotswolds Full-Day Tour

5. From Oxford: Downton Abbey and the Cotswolds Full-Day Tour

Leaving the beautiful medieval city of Oxford, head south to Highclere Castle for a morning visit of the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Immerse yourself in the history of this 19th century castle, still very much a family home, and explore the grounds and beautiful gardens. Imagine sitting at the grand table in the family dining room with the 'Dowager' Violet, Lady Mary and Lady Cora, being served your lunch by Mr. Carson. After the visit to Highclere Castle, your tour continues to quaint Bampton, one of the oldest villages in Britain. Wander around the part of the village used to film Downton Abbey and visit St Mary's Church, where so many events in the life of the Crawley family took place. From Bampton, a scenic drive takes you to the charming old market town of Burford, the 'gateway to the Cotswolds,' with its sloping high street and quaint shops. Enjoy lunch in a typical local cafe or pub. After lunch, go on a panoramic drive through some of the sleepy stone villages of the Cotswolds. Make your last stop in the idyllic village of Swinbrook, which was a film location for 'Downton Abbey' and 'Bridget Jones' Baby.' Delight in a walk through this charming village, before returning to Oxford.

London: Downton Abbey Countryside Black Taxi VIP Tour

6. London: Downton Abbey Countryside Black Taxi VIP Tour

Begin with a pickup from your central London hotel and a drive through London and out into the Oxfordshire countryside. Your first stop will be in Oxfordshire, where you will visit the villages that became the village of Downton. Have photographs outside Matthew Crawley’s house, and see the Hospital, the village church, and the two village pubs. Discuss the filming with the locals and visit inside a village home used in the filming (owner being in of course). Have time to buy Downton souvenirs before moving on. Visit several other villages, plus a farm, which will be a secret to surprise you on the day. Leaving the villages behind you, start to head cross country to Highclere Castle. On the way to the castle, take an authentic countryside pause, stopping for lunch at an old English pub. Arrive at Highclere Castle after lunch, where your tour continues. Your expert guide will explain all there is about the castle’s history as well as the Downton locations you will see before you enter the rooms. Later in the afternoon why not have a cream tea, before returning to London.

Other Sightseeing Options in Highclere Castle

Want to discover all there is to do in Highclere Castle? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Highclere Castle

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 285 reviews

It was a really enjoyable day. We had any amazing guide, Karen who definitely added the the amazing tour. She shared a lot of great information leading up to the sites and was available if any issues. Although a big tour, I believe 84 people, it ran very smoothly and everything was on time. It was a bit hectic in the morning boarding the tour because there were many different tours leaving around the same time, but after we departed everything went great. It would have been nice to have a little more time in Oxford, but still had the opportunity to work around the town a bit. I understand given the length of the tour and the planned stops, it limits the time you can spend in each place. I would definitely recommend the tour.

It was a fantastic tour! The day tour was a surprise for my parents birthday, and they were thrileld. We really enjoyed discovering the british countryside with the excitement to see Downton Abbey real life places. The Castle was beautiful, and it really felt like jumping into the tv show. A wonderful guide was taking care of us, sharing interesting information and also giving us time to explore by ourselves, and enjoy the quiet. Bus was very comfortable, schedule was kept on time. Deeply recommended.

We had the BEST time!!! Frank and André Pringle were delightful! Truly enjoyed their company and Frank’s vast knowledge! Wish we could have taken Frank with us on every tour, he was such a delight!

Great tour with enough time at Highclere Castle. Our tour guide Michelle had a lot of information for us, not only about Downton Abbey. Beautiful day and highly recommended!

I had a great day exploring Highclere and the Cotswolds. Our guide was very knowledgeable and informative.