Few British period TV series have captured the world’s attention the way Downton Abbey did, with millions of viewers around the globe tuning in. Here are a few ways to follow in the footsteps of the famous Crawley family, using Oxford as a base.
Many of the set locations made famous in Downton Abbey are in Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds—the countryside outside Oxford—and the city makes a great base from which to go exploring. Tours visit picturesque hamlets such as Bampton (which doubles up as the on-screen Downton village) Bladon, Cogges, and Swinbrook, and spot some of the locations featured in the series. There’s the home of Isobel Crawley, the church where Lady Mary married Matthew Crawley, the village where Lady Sybil eloped with then-chauffeur Tom Branson, and the Grantham Arms pub—where scheming maid Edna seduced the widowed Branson. Although not directly linked to Downton Abbey, nearby UNESCO World Heritage–listed Blenheim Palace is also featured on many tours from Oxford.
Home to the Carnarvon family, Highclere Castle is the real-life 17th-century stately home that doubled for Downton Abbey itself in the popular television series. Downton fans will recognize the castle’s sweeping driveway, grand facade, and main hall featured heavily throughout the series; some of the bedrooms were used as well.