With another season of Downton finished and topped off with a delightful Christmas special we are left to twiddle our thumbs until the autumn of 2015 and the return of our favourite characters. The sixth season of Downton promises more quips from the Dowager, more suitors for Lady Mary (fingers crossed for poor Edith too) and some excitement about the impending nuptials of Carson and Mrs Hughes. What is a fan to do in the meantime? GoEuro recently compiled a list of Downton Destinations and a trip to Downton village would certainly while away the months until we get new conntent. Fans here in the South-West are among the luckiest. Despite Downton’s theoretical setting in Yorkshire, much of it’s filming is done further South. Surrey, Sussex, and Oxfordshire are home to some of Downton’s most recognisable locations: Downton Village, the Dower House, the oft visited train station and of course Downton Abbey itself.
Downton Village is in fact the town of Bampton, Oxfordshire. The beautiful and historic town is an easy day’s visit from London and though visitors cannot in fact stay in the “Grantham Arms” pub, they can see where it is filmed. St. Mary’s Church, the site of poor Lady Edith’s almost wedding, is front and center and even more spectacular in person than on screen. The much discussed war memorial is not fact in the town center but visitors can see the Downton Hospital (housed in the old Grammar School) and perhaps catch a glimpse of Dr.Clarkson.
The Dower House is just as imposing as the woman is houses and while it does not always ring with the sharp commentary of Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess it is a sight to behold. It is a private home so tours are difficult to come by, but not out of the question. The canny visitor can request an afternoon tea in the “Downton Room” and spend the day making delightfully snide remarks about Lord Merton and his horrid sons.
Someone always seems to be on their way to or from the Downton Train station, whether to run away with their illegitimate love child, make their way to London for a dress show, or simply to visit awful Aunt Rosamund. Horsted Keynes Station on the Bluebell Line - is the filming location for these memorable moments. Visitors can admire the scenery as well as ride on old fashioned trains for a luxurious taste of turn of the century travel.
Last but not least is the celebrated Highclere Castle. Downton Abbey’s most famous destination is in Berkshire and open for visits (when it isn’t being used for filming that is). When filming began the interior of Highclere Castle was in terrible condition. Only the ground floor was safe and usable but the huge spike in tourist interest as a result of the show has enabled the Earl and Countess to begin repairs and rebuilding on the castle. Stroll the grounds and pat yourself on the back for supporting the industry that allows the real life Downton to flourish.
Some of Downton’s most recognisable filming locales are found in the South West, but a quick perusal of GoEuro’s list will tell visitors where they can find fanciful Downton locations including restaurants, hotels and even Duneagle castle.