How to Have a Downton Abbey-Inspired Holiday

The Downton Abbey movie is coming out in TEN DAYS!!!  For those of us who loved the series: the movie is a great excuse to dive back into old-England culture.  But what if you want to take things a step further, & live out the life of Lady Mary Crawley?  That’s exactly why I’ve written this post, “How to Have a Downton Abbey-Inspired Holiday.”  In it, I’ll take you from the halls of Highclere Castle to romantic restaurants in London ~ all of which were inspired by famous Downton filming locations. 

We’ll even leap over to Ireland, & visit a Downton-inspired castle stay that will have you feeling like royalty… 

How to Have a Downton Abbey-Inspired Holiday, Girl Who Travels the World

The Downton Abbey movie comes out on September 20th…perfect time to have a Downton Abbey-inspired holiday!

Map of Highclere Castle

 If you want to visit Highclere Castle & the surrounding countryside, the best way to get around is by renting a car.  Fly into London or Bath, & brave driving on the left side of the road (I did ~ it was both terrifying & exhilirating!).  It will give you plenty of freedom to discover Downton’s most famous sights…


Highclere Castle



How to Have a Downton Abbey-Inspired Holiday

First up, let’s get as close to real-life Downton Abbey as we can: Highclere Castle.  The castle was one of the series’ main characters.  Without it ~ Downton simply wouldn’t exist.  You can’t stay at Highclere (it’s a private residence) ~ but you can take a tour there.  And as of 2017, you can stay on the property ~ at the London Lodge or Grotto Lodge.  These lodges were originally built in 1793 by the Earl of Carnavon, & have recently been turned into luxury accommodations.

How to Have a Downton Abbey-Inspired Holiday, Girl Who Travels the World

The only way to stay at Highclere Castle is by staying in one of their onsite Lodges, which are newly restored.

Stay by Highclere Castle…

If you want accommodations near Highclere Castle, closer to town: try The Carnavon Arms ($118+/night), located a few minutes away, in what used to be the castle’s old coach house!  The Carnavon has 18 guestrooms & a pub serving breakfast, lunch, & dinner beside a roaring fire.  Perhaps not up to Lady Mary’s standards ~ but the kind of place where you might find Tom…or Carson & his bride, Mrs. Hughes.

How to Have a Downton Abbey-Inspired Holiday

Do you want to see the church where Lady Mary & Matthew got married??  And the church where Lady Edith was jilted by her too-old suitor, Sir Anthony Strallen?  Look no further than St. Mary’s Church, located in Bampton, north of Highclere Castle (& closer to the fabulous region known as the Cotswolds). 

If you want to stroll the same streets as all your favorite characters, then stay at Fleur de Lys Bampton ($140+/night), right in the heart of town ~ as this was the main village used for filming in Downton Abbey.

How to Have a Downton Abbey-Inspired Holiday, Girl Who Travels the World

The Crawley sisters in front of St. Mary’s Church in Bampton, Oxforshire.

Downton’s London Filming Locations…

Many of Downton’s flashier scenes were filmed in London.  Just outside of London is West Wycombe Park & Estate, which served as Aunt Rosamund’s London home.  Lancaster House is where Lady Rose made her debutante debut, & its interiors are impressive enough to mimic Buckingham Palace. 

Want to dine in style like the Crawley’s?  Then head to The Criterion, which was one of London’s oldest restaurants ~ but unfortunately closed in 2015.  It’s still worth a visit, as it’s now the historic Criterion Theatre, in Picadilly Square.  For actual Crawley-style dining, head to the place where Downton’s FINAL scene was shot: The Ritz London.

How to Have a Downton Abbey-Inspired Holiday, Girl Who Travels the World, Palm Court at the Ritz

The Ritz London is Crawley-approved.

And where should you stay in London to have the most Lady Mary-approved experience?  Dahhhlinggg…look no further than The Savoy!  It’s one of the smartest hotels in the city, popular with celebrities, & their afternoon tea service is exactly where you might find Lady Violet (played by the irrepressible Maggie Smith). 

Lady Violet & Isobel

The indomitable twosome: Lady Violet & Isobel Crawley. Photo: PBS.

How to Have a Downton Abbey-Inspired Holiday

Finally, we come to a special Scottish shooting location: Duneagle Castle.  Which is actually Inveraray Castle, the home of Lord & Lady Flincher (Lady Rose’s parents).  Located on the west coast of Scotland, this stunning castle is open to the public from April through October.  And though you can’t stay there, you can stay down the road at The Inveraray Inn ($106+/night), which is right on the water….with two cozy bars.  Perfect for enjoying an evening storm!

How to Have a Downton Abbey-Inspired Holiday, Girl WHo Travels the World

Inverary Castle in Scotland. You can’t stay here, but you CAN stay right down the road…

If you want to stay in a castle yourself (which I totally understand!)…..I have two fantastic options: Bovey Castle in England, & Ashford Castle in Ireland.  Both will give you the same feeling of grandeur that Downton provides, at more reasonable prices than you might think.

How to Have a Downton-Inspired Holiday

If you’re visiting Highclere, a visit to the Cotswolds is a great stop on your itinerary.  So many of the darling villages will make you feel like you’re on a movie set; they’re so perfectly “English.”  Perfect for Downton lovers…

xoxo Noelia 

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How to Take a Downton Abbey-Inspired Vacation, Girl Who Travels the World