Things to do in
Highclere Castle

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Highclere Castle: Our most recommended tours and activities

From London: Downton Abbey and Village Coach Tour

1. From London: Downton Abbey and Village Coach Tour

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. Upon arrival in Bampton, 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 to enjoy approximately 3 hours to explore the house and grounds of the setting for Downton Abbey with the aid of a self-guided leaflet. Use the time to enjoy lunch at the castle (own expense) or purchase some souvenirs at the gift shop.

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Downton Abbey Filming Locations & Highclere Castle Tour

2. Downton Abbey Filming Locations & Highclere Castle Tour

Depart London in the morning, making your first stop at Yew Tree Farm (Cogges Manor Farm), the home of the Downton Abbey tenant farmers. This beautiful, well-preserved 13th century manor house is situated on the banks of the River Windrush, and was featured in the fourth Downton Abbey series. Beginning with the fifth series, the farm became home to the secret love child of Lady Edith. In the sixth series, Mr. Mason moved in with aid of Daisy. Enjoy a tea/coffee break on your arrival at the farm’s refurbished rustic Cow Shed Café and then take a tour and learn of the encounters between the tenant farmers and the landowners, featured in the TV series. Your private tour of Yew Tree Farm is scheduled before it opens to the public! Once you’ve visited the farm, you’ll continue on to Downton village, which is actually called Bampton, a lovely, well-preserved village in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. This village has been featured extensively throughout the popular TV series as its Downton village. The local library served as the Downton Cottage Hospital and Doctors’ surgery, and St. Mary’s Church became Downton Church. Churchgate House also featured in exterior shots as the Crawley family home. Now, you will have the chance to walk along these village streets! In the early afternoon, you’ll head to Highclere Castle, the Grantham family home. You’ll have time to explore the Monk’s Garden, the White Border, the Secret Garden, and the Wood of Goodwill, and have time for a light lunch at the café/tearooms in the Castle kitchens. The Carnarvon family have lived at Highclere Castle since 1679. In 1838, the Third Earl of Carnarvon commissioned Sir Charles Barry to transform the castle into an outstanding mansion. It served as a hospital during the Great War and was returned to private residential use in 1922. The current Earl and his wife, the Countess of Carnarvon, live part of the time in the castle and part of the time nearby in their country home. They remain closely involved in the everyday life of the castle and the plans for its future. Once you have entered the castle, you’ll follow a set route with guides in each state room, including the saloon, library, dining room, music room, drawing room, and smoking room. You can also go up the red stairs to see some of the bedrooms and the gallery, before making your way down the oak staircase back to the saloon in the center of the castle.

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London: Downton Abbey, Cotswolds, and Highclere Castle Tour

3. 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.

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Downton Abbey and Village Small Group Tour from London

4. 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.

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

5. 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.

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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.

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

7. 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.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Highclere Castle

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What people are saying about Highclere Castle

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 135 reviews

An excellent tour covering the filming locations for Downton Abbey. Andrew our guide was a fund of knowledge and he was so friendly and engaging, like a friend chatting. Javeed, the driver was very good and was also extremely friendly. This was the first time we’ve used GetYourGuide and it certainly won’t be our last. Would wholeheartedly recommend

The trip was most enjoyable and Andrew our guide kept us entertained with information about the show and how it related to what we were seeing. He also gave us a lot of information about the countryside we travelled. We had plenty of time at the castle to explore the grounds after our tour of the interior. The tea served was delicious.

Really nice!!

First of all, we had very good care from Frank and Carlos! Many thanks to the two for the excellent support! The bus was very comfortable and the schedule was well thought out. Of course you could spend more and more time everywhere, but after 10 hours you are really filled with wonderful impressions.

Lovely day out, our guide Michael was very informative and we found out more about Downton village and Highclere castle than the usual guide trips, which made it fun, would highly recommend.

Good layout, good guide.

For the price I paid, I think lunch should be included, but that's a detail.