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Leave Oxford by air-conditioned minivan, and travel out into the glorious countryside that surrounds the city. On the journey, your guide will keep you entertained with tales and trivia about the Downton Abbey TV series that has a fan base spread all over the world.
Filmed mostly in and around Oxfordshire, the British period drama of Downton Abbey documents the dramas and scandals of the fictional Crawley family and their servants in the days leading up to and after World War I. Hear insider gossip about characters such as Lady Mary, and discover little-known facts about the shooting locations included on your tour. Stop at a farm nestled in the hills near Cogges and enjoy a hot drink (own expense) in the farm’s rustic cafe before you check out filming locations around the farm.
Continue to Bampton in the Cotswolds. The stone cottages and leafy, twisting streets in this quintessential English village might look familiar; scenes depicting the Downton village are often shot here and appear throughout the entire series. On a walking tour, see the village church — the site of Lady Mary’s wedding to Matthew Crawley — and the house that was once used as the Crawley family home. Stroll along the main street, spotting shops and the fictional Grantham Arms pub that appear in many episodes.
Travel onward to the historical village of Shilton to explore its center, including a quaint village pub that is surrounded by ponds, medieval bridges and wells. From Shilton, travel to a pub in Swinbrook for lunch (own expense) where Lady Sybil eloped with the family chauffeur Branson; enjoy a quick stop in the village of Bladon to see the graves of Sir Winston Churchill and his wife; and finish the tour at Blenheim Palace — a UNESCO World Heritage site.
While not used as a Downton Abbey filming location, one can imagine the palace's stately grandeur that would impress the Crawley family. Take a walking tour that delves into the history of Winston Churchill's ancestral home, originally given to the first duke of Marlborough as a gift from the English Parliament. Wander through the State Apartments, and then explore a section of the beautiful landscaped gardens that feature the Temple of Diana. Finally, return to your minivan and travel back to the start point in Oxford where your tour finishes.
Until the early 19th century, London did not have any hotels, only coaching inns, which looked remarkably like modern multi-story motels, the rooms opening off outdoor corridors. The last (partially) surviving coaching inn is The George Inn, though only its pub component is still active.