Make your own way to the meeting point in central London in the morning. Meet your small group of no more than six, and settle into your air-conditioned vehicle with your guide and separate driver.
Then, soak in the views as you head toward Oxfordshire. Along the way, admire the rolling pastures and stone villages of the Cotswolds, the quintessentially English region of hills where much of the award-winning Downton Abbey series was filmed.
Arrive in the charming Cotswolds village that doubled as the fictional Downton, and hop out for a guided tour. Stroll through the pretty lanes to see the church and buildings that served as the village pub, the former home of Matthew Crawley, and Downton Cottage Hospital as your guide shares anecdotes and behind-the-scenes gossip about the much-loved series, and its actors and storylines.
After a bit of free time here, continue to Highclere Castle, the beautiful Jacobean-style mansion that served as the Crawleys’ family home in the drama. On route, learn about the castle’s 1,000-year-old history and intriguing snippets about life ‘above and below stairs.’
On arrival, take in the splendid gardens and turreted exterior of the 19th-century house, and head inside. Enjoy ample time to explore the above-stairs rooms independently using a self-guide information sheet, including the main hall, drawing room, and library. Immerse yourself in the world of the Crawley family as you walk around, building a picture of what real life was like here more than 100 years ago, in the era the series was set.
If you wish, visit the café at Highclere for a light lunch, or perhaps bring a picnic to enjoy in the beautiful grounds.
Afterward, relax on your return journey, ending your tour with a drop-off in central London.