Have you fallen in love with the Downton Abbey series? Do you fancy a snoop inside the Crawley family residence? Well you’re in luck.
Downton Abbey is very real, apart from the fact that it is actually known as Highclere Castle. You’ll find this magnificent pile in Berkshire along with the town of Bampton, Downton’s doppelganger. You know the place with the church where the servants scuttle around looking shifty.
The castle opens its doors in the summer so you can really get a taste of the interior and celebrate all things Downton Abbey. See The State Rooms including The Library Room where Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) had many a manly tantrum. And The Drawing Room where Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) gave us her fabulously cutting remarks. Not forgetting the other all too familiar rooms: The Saloon, The State Dining Room, The Music Room and The Smoking Room. You’ll also get a peek at the bedrooms and ‘downstairs’ where the grumbling servants Thomas and O’Brien worked their magic.
The grounds of Highclere Castle consist of 1,000 acres of parkland and include the Monks' Garden, The White Border Garden, The Secret Garden and the Wood of Goodwill.
Here’s a little tip: should you visit in full Downton Abbey costume – just a thought - you might secure a role as an extra on series four. You never know, director Lord Fellowes might just be wandering about.
Other stately home film locations
Of course Highclere Castle isn’t the only palatial pile to have been used in a TV drama or movie. You’ll find plenty of others to explore whilst you’re holidaying in the UK. Head to Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire where the BBC’s 2006 version of Jane Eyre was filmed. Marble Hill House in London where Nanny McPhee created her mischief and Dover Castle in Kent where To Kill a King starring Dougray Scott was filmed in 2003.