Discover ‘Downton Abbey’ filming sites on a tour by an iconic form of London transport: a black cab. As a private guide drives, learn about the lives of the fictional Crawley family from the hit TV series, and hear about Britain’s present-day aristocracy, too. The must-do tour is available with a choice of three itineraries, each inspired by the program. Visit the Downton village of Bampton; check out Downton Place, aka Greys Court; or tour Highclere Castle, the home of 'Downton Abbey.' The black cabs seat a maximum of five people.
Start with a pickup from your London hotel, and travel west out of the city by traditional London black cab. Your private guide for the day is your driver, so chat away as you travel and hear fun facts about the hit Downton Abbey TV series.After roughly an hour on the road, arrive in rural Oxfordshire. What happens next depends on the option you have booked. Read on for the sample itineraries. Lunch and entrance fees are at your own expense, and all tours finish with a hotel drop-off.Downton Village Tour:Start with a tour of Bampton, the leafy Oxfordshire dwelling that starred as Downton village. Discover familiar sites such as Downton hospital, the village pub, the local church and even the home of suave Matthew Crawley. Continue through the heart of the Cotswolds to see more of the quintessential villages that typify the area, and enjoy lunch at the pub where Lady Sybil elopes with her chauffeur Branson in the second series. Feeling sated, visit the building that was turned into the pub where John Bates worked when he left the Downton estate.Downton Place and London Tour:In the third series, the Crawley family downsized to their second home of Downton Place; although in real life, this stately Tudor mansion is better known as Greys Court. On a tour, admire the building’s fine architecture and stylish vintage decor, and learn about the Downton scenes that were filmed at the site. Enjoy a light lunch at Greys Court, and then visit the nearby house that was used by the Dowager Countess. Tour the house, meet the resident pigs in the garden, and finish with afternoon tea: sandwiches plus scones with clotted cream and preserves (own expense).Return to London in the late afternoon for a tour of the capital to see how the “landed gentry” — or, the English elite — still live today. The drive-by tour takes the theme of Upstairs, Downstairs, another popular British period drama that illustrates the different lives of those who can afford luxuries and those who can’t.Highclere Castle, Downton Village and London Tour:Take a Downton Abbey tour of Highclere Castle, the setting of the abbey itself, and hear about Lord Grantham who manages the estate in the TV series. See the upstairs area of the abbey where the aristocratic Crawley family spent their time, before a trip downstairs to learn about the lives of servants who once served wealthy families such as the Crawleys. Your Highclere Castle tour finishes with a stroll around the gardens.Take a break for lunch in the grounds, or perhaps visit an old English inn, nearby. Then, travel to Bampton for a tour of Downton village. In the late afternoon, return to London for the drive-by Upstairs, Downstairs tour. Both afternoon tours are as described above.