Golden castle with people milling about outside
The image people most often associate with "Downton Abbey" is that of the outside of Highclere Castle.
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Planning a Downton Abbey Vacation? Here Are 5 Filming Locations to Check Out

Visit with the Crawleys

“Downton Abbey” is a gripping British historical drama series, set in a fictional Yorkshire country estate. It follows the lives of the Crawley family in the post-Edwardian era.

This popular series has had critical acclaim and has won several awards. Thanks to smart, funny and moving writing by Julian Fellowes and a stunning ensemble cast, it’s been a huge hit. The “Downton Abbey” film will be coming out on September 13, 2019. It will include much of the original cast and will feature a royal visit to Downton Abbey by Queen Mary and King George V.

If you’re a passionate “Downton Abbey” fan, you have probably thought about what it would be like to visit the spectacular places featured in the show. But where was “Downton Abbey” filmed? Filming for the series and movie took place all over England, and there are many locations you can visit yourself.

Here are some of the top spots around the United Kingdom for Downton Abbey fans to visit.

Highclere Castle, Hampshire, England

The first stop on any “Downton Abbey” tour of the United Kingdom has to be Highclere Castle. This is the building where many exterior and interior shots of the fictional Downton Abbey are filmed, so you’ll recognize it right away!

This gorgeous castle in the rolling Hampshire countryside is home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. The family have lived there since 1679. In fact, the Earl and Countess are friends with the series creator Julian Fellowes. He was picturing Highclere in his mind when he was writing the show.

When you visit Downton Abbey — we know that’s how you’ll think of Highclere Castle — you can also visit the Egyptian Exhibition. The fifth Earl of Carnarvon was Howard Carter, the man famous for uncovering King Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Two level house with pillarsWest Wycombe House is the filming location of the home of Lady Rosamund. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

West Wycombe House, Buckinghamshire, England

At this beautiful country house just northwest of London, you’ll find the filming location for the home of Lady Rosamund. She is the main confidante of the Grantham girls, whom they turn to when they have a secret affair to confess.

Many of the dramatic moments and scandalous secrets of the series have been discussed in the elegant drawing room of this grand home. West Wycombe House itself dates back more than 300 years and has also been used as a filming location for several other British period dramas including “Little Dorrit” and “Cranford.”

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Railway tracks in front of "Horsted Keynes" signHorsted Keynes Station is the filming location of several departure train scenes in the show.Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Horsted Keynes Station, West Sussex, England

The Horsted Keynes Station was first opened in 1882, but British Railways stopped serving it in 1963. Today it’s part of the historic Bluebell Railway heritage line.

On “Downton Abbey,” it’s where Mary waved goodbye to Matthew when he went off to war in Season 2. It’s also where the young Mrs. Crawley goes into labor, on her way back from Duneagle Castle.

While you’re here, you can take a look at the charming Horsted Keynes village. Here you’ll find St. Giles Church, where the former prime minister, Harold Macmillan, is buried.

Sprawling castle on a hillAlnwick Castle was the stand-in for Brancaster Castle.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland, England

Alnwick Castle is the seat of the Duke of Northumberland and it is the second largest inhabited castle in England. This gorgeous Grade I-listed building was a filming location for the 2014 “Downton Abbey” Christmas special.

The castle was the stand-in for Brancaster Castle, which was rented by Lord Sinderby, Rose’s father-in-law, for a round of grouse shooting. The episode was shot mostly in the stately gardens, Hulne Abbey and the opulent halls. When you visit the castle, you can see a “Downton Abbey”-themed display of props, photographs, costumes and other items that were used during filming.

If you’re a “Harry Potter” fan, you’ll also recognize that many scenes from the fictional school of Hogwarts were filmed at this beautiful castle.

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Interior of restaurant with circular tables and pianoThe Criterion Restaurant was the place where Michael Gregson and Edith Crawley met in Season 4. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Criterion Restaurant, London, England

Remember when Michael Gregson and Edith Crawley meet for dinner in Season 4? They share their first kiss and he tells her his plans to become a German citizen, divorce his wife and marry her. The stunning, glitzy restaurant where they dine is none other than the Criterion on 224 Piccadilly in London.

This luxurious dining room is one of the oldest in the world. Winston Churchill has dined there and the women’s suffragette movement used to meet there. It was also mentioned in the Sherlock Holmes story “A Study in Scarlet.”

Experience “Downton Abbey” for Yourself

While the characters and setting of “Downton Abbey” may be fictional, the timeless historic charm of England is very real. At these stunning filming locations, you can truly get a sense of the grandeur of another era.

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