How to Have a Downton Abbey-Inspired Holiday

The Downtown Abbey movie is coming out in TEN DAYS!!!  For those of us who loved this television series, the movie is a great excuse to dive back into the old-England culture & drama we so love.  But what if you want to take things a step further, & live out the life of Lady Mary Crawley yourself??  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 the romantic restaurants of London: all of which were inspired by famous Downton locations.  We’ll even take a 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 is coming out on September 20th…perfect time to find out how 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!), as it will give you plenty of freedom to discover many of Downton’s most famous sights.

Bath

Highclere Castle

London

Bampton

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 main characters in the series, & without it ~ Downton simply wouldn’t exist.  You can’t stay at Highclere (it’s a residence), but you can take a tour there, & 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.  Inquire about reservations here

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. Reservations can only be made by contacting Highclere directly.

Stay Near Highclere Castle…

If you want accommodations near Highclere Castle, but easier to book: 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 just 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 many-years-too-old suitor, Sir Anthony Strallen?  Look no further than the appropriately named 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 of your favorite characters, then stay at The Romany Inn ($62+/night), right in the heart of Bampton ~ 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 showier 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, & it’s 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, luxurious experience?  Dahhhlinggg…look no further than The Savoy!  It’s one of the smartest hotels in the city, & their afternoon tea service is exactly where you might find Lady Violet (played by the indomitable Maggie Smith) having her latest disagreement with Isobel (played by equally indomitable Penelope Wilton). 

Can’t you just seem them now…??

Lady Violet & Isobel

The indomitable twosome: Lady Violet & Isobel Crawley.

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 different 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 was the “home” of Lady Rose & her parents, Lord & Lady Flincher. You can’t stay here, but you CAN stay right down the street…

But if you want to stay in a castle yourself (which I totally understand!)…..I have two fantastic options for you: Bovey Castle ($112+/night) in England, & Ashford Castle in Ireland.  Both will give you the same feeling of grandeur & opulence that Downton provides, at much more reasonable prices than you might assume.

How to Have a Downton Abbey-Inspired Holiday

If you’re visiting Highclere, a visit to the Cotswolds (near Bampton) is a great addition to the itinerary.  So many of the darling Cotswolds villages make you feel like you’re on a movie set, as they’re so perfectly “English.”  Perfect for Downton lovers…

xoxo Noelia 

Read Next: Best Bed & Breakfasts in the Cotswolds

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

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