13 Apr · Glyn Jones · No Comments

Downton Abbey Day Tour

We began our day at a central London hotel which gives us easy access to the the road heading North West from London towards our first stop. Heading out on a Saturday morning before the traffic has begun to build we are soon onto the main road to Oxford. Series Five of Downton Abbey had just finished running in America and so the drive through the Chilterns gave us ample opportunity to speculate on what Series 6 had to offer. 1925, let’s think…. The Great Depression, will this mean Downton will need to be sold or, even forbid, will Robert’s ulcer have been misdiagnosed? Carson’s wedding, will that be the finale? Will Lady Mary finally marry again? Will Downton be affected by the rise in Fascism? and as for that last episode, there were no real cliffhangers, was everything being laid out for Series 6? We shall just have to wait and see.

Villages, Farms & Pubs

Our first port of call was the village of Downton (not in Yorkshire as it happens). The village was clearly chosen as the location for its tranquility and picturesque charm. A place where time has stood still and where you can believe you are stepping in the footsteps of the shepherds and wool merchants that put the village on the map in the 13th century. A walk around the church that has been so pivotal in the series’ major events. The church that has seen memorial services for those that died on the Titanic in the opening series, the church that has seen weddings and family gatherings. Passing the Grantham Arms, the Post Office and in the Infirmary for a few souvenirs that help find its upkeep. Back to the car passing Lady Crowley’s home in the village and off to Yew Tree Farm, where little Marigold was brought up. From there for a spot of lunch, and where better than to choose the place where Branson and Lady Sybil eloped to.

A stately home fit for a king

After lunch we drive south for an hour, through Oxfordshire, Berkshire and just into Hampshire for a glimpse of the Real Downton Abbey. The stately home of Lord & Lady Carnarvon is a magnificent spectacle in its own right. Designed by the same man who was responsible for the Houses of Parliament. It sits in its own magnificent grounds, with vistas dotted with cypress trees and the occasional folly to break up the view. The interior of the house is as portrayed in the television series, with very few changes made during filming. Amongst the fine paintings and antique furniture (Napoleon sat here; well sort of), the family photos are dotted around the building, a reminder that this is a stately home with the emphasis on family.

After a spot of afternoon tea, we jump back into the car. The sat nav optimistically calculates that we are just over an hour away from the hotel, which as it turns out, is not far from the truth. Back to the hotel for a quick break and an evening’s exploration of the Knightsbridge pubs. A perfect end to a perfect day.

A day out such as this, with driver and entrance fees included costs £650.

For more information see the tour page here.

Glyn Jones

Glyn is a professional Blue Badge Guide (the British national standard guiding qualification and internationally-recognised benchmark of excellence) and enjoys sharing his love of London with visitors from home and abroad.

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