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The Real-Life Locations of Downton Abbey
Tour England in style with this guide to the real buildings and attractions from the hit television series Downton Abbey.
Highclere Castle, Hampshire
Welcome to Downton Abbey’s real-life alter ego. Wander through the noble estate and see where “upstairs” scenes are shot – among others, the bedrooms of the Countess of Grantham, and ladies Edith and Sybil, plus the guest room that housed ill-fated Turkish diplomat and sex god Kemal Pamuk. A tour of the castle’s extensive grounds, the site of many intense walk-and-talks and one particularly awkward garden party, will make visitors the envy of the Better Homes and Gardens set.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Downton Abbey is worth watching for the styles alone (Lady Sybil’s harem pants!).
History is told through shifting hemlines as the costumes move from Edwardian formal wear to the austerity of wartime toward the free- wheeling frocks of the ’20s. Check out the best fashion of the time at the V&A.
Old Parsonage Hotel, Oxford
After the hour-long train ride from London to Oxford, enjoy England’s prescription for travel recovery: afternoon tea.
The smoky Old Parsonage blend – served with scones, clotted cream and jam – can be taken on the intimate walled terrace at this posh former private residence.
Bampton Village, Oxfordshire
Approximately half an hour from Oxford, historical Bampton stands in for Downton Village, home to the show’s church, post office and hospital. The library doubles as purveyor of walking guides and the obligatory souvenir mugs.
Have a pint at the Red Lion Pub, which shares its name with the establishment in Steeple Aston (above), another 45 minutes away. That’s where the valet Mr. Bates hides out in Season 2 – and is discovered by the object of his gentlemanly affection, Lady Mary’s maid Anna.