The drama of the Crawley family and their house staff of Downton Abbey has captivated viewers since 2010. Now, four years after eponymous show's final episode, a new film by the same name brings viewers back to the famed home when the King and Queen come to visit. The return of the Crawleys to the screen makes now a great time to head to England and see some of the show’s iconic locations in real life. From manor houses to one of the oldest dining rooms in the work, here are 14 “Downton Abbey” filming locations from the show and the film that you can visit in real life.
Highclere Castle is the single most recognizable location from “Downton Abbey,” as it is the titular home of the Crawleys. Highclere is a working estate of 5,000 acres, run by the Earl and Lady Carnarvon. The Jacobean manor house is open to the public during the summer, and on select dates through the spring and winter. History buffs will enjoy the Egyptian Exhibition in the basement, where the kitchens used to be. The exhibition tells the story of the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb and the man who funded the excavation; George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon. If you’d like the rare chance to spend the night at Highclere, head to Airbnb on Oct. 1. One room will be available for two lucky guests and the experience includes a dinner with the Lady and Earl.
If you can’t get enough of English manor houses, Viking (yes, the cruise line) has a cruise extension just for you. As part of the line's British Isle sailings, Viking offers a Great Home, Gardens & Gin package that gives guests a "privileged access" tour of Highclere Castle as well as tours of Broughton Castle, home of the Fiennes family, and Chavenage House. Viking also offers an Oxford & Highclere Castle package that takes guests on tours of Oxford University, Blenheim Palace, the Cotswolds, and Highclere Castle.
The village of Bampton in the Cotswolds doubled as the Yorkshire town of Downton in the show. The town has around 2,500 residents and its buildings look almost exactly like those on the show, though street signs and post boxes were transformed to be period-appropriate. While a stroll through the town will dredge up memories of Downton village, be sure to spend some time at Church View, Churchgate House, and the old Grammar School building. Church View was the home of The Grantham Arms and The Dog & Duck as well as the site of the Downton Fair. The old Grammar School building was Downton hospital; the building is now the home of the Bampton Community Archive and has some show memorabilia on display. Churchgate House was the home of Isobel Grey. Also, be sure to stop by St. Mary’s Church, the site of many marriages and one almost-marriage in the show. As Bampton is a real village, guests can visit at any time of the year, though there are companies that offer guided tours of the area, like Original Tours which covers Bampton during an eight-day “Downton Abbey” tour of England and Scotland.
Dowager Countess Violet Crawley’s manor house has a very long history. It has hosted several Kings, Queens and Princes, has been mentioned in texts from the 8th century, was destroyed several times, and was requisitioned during World War II to house British and Canadian soldiers. The house as we know it was built in 1686 and hasn’t changed very much since. Byfleet Manor isn’t open for tours, but you can enjoy afternoon tea there. Tea is served in the Downton Room, Elegant Garden Room, or outside in the garden if the weather is nice. After tea, take a stroll around the property and pretend that you’re Dowager Countess Violet.
The exterior of Basildon Park may not ring any bells, but the interior and grounds will surely look familiar. The first floor of Basildon was used at the interior of Grantham House, the Crawleys’ London residence. The 18th-century house was saved from demolition when it was purchased by Lord and Lady Iliffe in the 1950s. They restored the house to its former glory and now Basildon Park is a part of the National Trust. As such, the entire house and grounds are open to the public all year.
Ristorante Granaio Piccadilly
The Criterion was where Edith met Michael Gregson for dinner where he announced that he plans to divorce his wife to marry Edith. Located next to the Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly Circus, the Neo-Byzantine restaurant first opened in 1873. While The Criterion used to be a real restaurant, it has been replaced by Ristorante Granaio. But luckily, since the building has protected status, it still looks the same as before. Settle in for a delicious Italian meal in a historic dining room that has hosted the likes of Winston Churchill and suffragettes.
Opened in 1798, Rules is among the oldest restaurants in London. The Covent Garden restaurant sells traditional English fare and was the location for several lunch scenes in “Downton Abbey.” Edith and Michael Gregson met at Rules to discuss her writing for his magazine; Mary, Rose, Tom, and Edith have lunch here to celebrate Rose’s upcoming marriage; and Bertie and Edith meet at the restaurant quickly before they both go to Edith’s office.
Most of the scenes depicting World War I battles in the show were filmed at Trench Farm in Akenham. Farmer Jeremy Hall and a military historian Taff Gillingham painstakingly recreated German and British trenches in the English countryside. Visits to the trench farm are made by appointment, so be sure to email or call to set up a time.
When Robert Crawley’s valet, John Bates, was accused of murdering his ex-wife, he was sent to York Prison. In real life York Prison is Lincoln Castle, the home of the Magna Carta since 1215. The castle’s role as a prison on “Downton Abbey” isn’t strange since there is a real Victorian Prison on the grounds that was used from 1848 to 1878. The castle is open to the public all year.
In the 2012 Christmas episode, the Crawleys make their annual visit to Rose and her parents at their Scottish home, Duneagle Castle. In real life, Duneagle is Inveraray Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of Clan Cambell. The current castle began construction in 1746 and is built in the Gothic Revival style. The magnificent house is still the home of the 13th Duke of Argyll and much of the building and grounds are open to the public. Enjoy some tea in the castle's tearoom, then explore the castle’s ground and first floors, before heading out to wander the gardens.
The Albert Memorial
In a 2013 episode, Violet, the Levinsons, and the Allsopps enjoy a picnic in Kensington Gardens next to the Albert Memorial. This memorial was commissioned by Queen Victoria after Prince Albert’s death from typhoid in 1861. The 176-foot-tall monument took 10 years to finish and cost 120,000 pounds (which is more than 13 million pounds today). The memorial is situated across the street from Royal Albert Hall.
Cogges Manor Farm
Cogges Manor Farm is a collection of stone farm buildings and a manor house with segments dating all the back to the 13th century. In the show, this Cotswolds farm was Yew Tree Farm, where the tenant farmer Mr. Drewe and his family raised Lady Edith’s illegitimate daughter, Marigold. When you visit Cogges, you’ll be able to explore the grounds, eat at a cafe, and children can wear historical costumes and meet farm animals. There is also a display showing how Cogges Manor Farm was transformed into Yew Tree Farm along with some props from the show, like Marigold's birth certificate. Cogges is open to visitors from March to early November.
Princess Mary, daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, appears several times throughout the film as does her magnificent house. Princess Mary Yorkshire's country home was Harewood House, There is one scene where Ladies Cora, Mary, and Edith visit Princess Mary’s home for tea. That home was Harewood House, an 18th-century house governed by the Earl and Countess of Harewood. In addition to being a beautifully maintained house, Harewood has a working farm, rare bird garden, and an art collection that could rival a museum’s.
The final sequence of the new “Downton Abbey” film is a grand ball at Princess Mary’s house. Much of the film’s drama has been resolved and the characters get a chance to dance in a beautiful ballroom. While Harewood House was used for Princess Mary’s country house the ballroom scene was filmed in the Marble Saloon at Wentworth Woodhouse, a Grade I listen home in Yorkshire. In fact, the royal visit the film revolves around was based on a real-life visit King George V and Queen Mary made to Wentworth. The house and grounds are open to the public, and it’s free to visit. Because it’s a popular wedding and filming destination, sometimes Wentworth is closed, so make sure to check the website for any closures.
Beamish, the Living Museum of the North
One of the plot lines in the 2019 film tests Tom’s loyalty to the Crowley family. Tom’s first interaction with his antagonist happens in a town that first appeared on the show back in 2015 and appears several times throughout the film. Beamish, an open-air museum about 25 minutes south of Newcastle, recreates English towns from different time periods. Filming mostly occurred in the 1900s town and staff and period vehicles from the museum made an appearance. Because there’s so much to see at Beamish, an admission ticket grants you entry for a full year.