The Classic World of Downton Abbey

Duration: 8 days

Highlights: London sightseeing, traditional afternoon tea-making class, Victoria and Albert Museum, Beaulieu Motor Car Museum, Highclere Castle, Bampton, Blenheim Palace, Ladock village, Bath

A classic English 8 day tour with vast appeal for enthusiasts of the period drama 'Downton Abbey'. Visit some of the filming locations from the hugely popular TV series, take a look at some of the first motor cars as shown in 'Downton Abbey' along with the fashion and furniture of the early 20th-century.

 

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive London

Upon arrival at London Heathrow airport you will be welcomed to England by your local Guardian Angel as you exit customs into the arrivals hall, and transferred to your hotel where you will be assisted with check-in procedures.

The Milestone Hotel is wonderfully located within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. When the good weather is upon us, enjoy a peaceful stroll to Kensington Park and Gardens, a lovely green space that flanks Hyde Park.

Overnight: The Milestone Hotel

 

Day 2 - London Sightseeing Tour & Afternoon Tea Making Class

Meet your local guide and private vehicle for a half-day (4 hour) orientation tour of London. Your guide will show you the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square. You will also gain a spectacular panorama of the city from the London Eye, the world's largest observation wheel. 

This afternoon meet Mrs Guilliana for an afternoon tea making class in her own house. This includes a ‘mini’ house tour of this detached Victorian 1860’s house. Receive step-by-step instructions and recipes for making scones, shortbread and specialty sandwiches and take home a written reminder of what you have learned. After the baking and preparations are complete, enjoy a full afternoon tea in the drawing room as the characters in 'Downton Abbey' often do. This poses an ideal opportunity to execute the art of English etiquette and conversation in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Overnight: The Milestone Hotel

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 3 - V&A, Dr Susan Weber Gallery and transfer to Hampshire

Depart you hotel this morning and head to the Victoria and Albert Museum where you will meet your guide for a short tour. The V&A is world renowned for its fashion collection that covers changing shapes and tastes in style, from beautiful 17th-century fashions to contemporary, cutting-edge designs and haute couture. Here you will be able to see the famous dinner jackets introduced in 'Downton Abbey' and the introduction of the flapper dresses which caused so much controversy when they were first worn. The collection also includes accessories such as jewellery, gloves and handbags. 

You will also have the opportunity to visit the Dr Susan Weber Gallery, a furniture exhibition that tells the story of furniture design and production spanning the past 600 years, including chairs, tables, bureaux, stools, chests, cabinets and wardrobes. Designers such as Thomas Chippendale, Frank Lloyd Wright, Eileen Gray, Charles and Ray Eames, Tom Dixon and Ron Arad sit alongside lesser-known names all selected for their superior techniques. 

When you have finished your tour, say goodbye to London with your driver-guide and head south to Hampshire.

Optional Extra (charges apply):
This evening you may like to cruise down the picturesque Basingstoke Canal, which runs through your Hotel's Estate

Overnight: Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 4 - National Motor Museum & Portsmouth

This morning depart your hotel with your driver-guide and head further south, starting with a tour of the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu. The Motor Museum exhibits include some of the earliest examples of motoring to legendary World Record Breakers like Bluebird, ‘TV Star’ cars like Del Boy’s Reliant Regal and rare oddities such as the giant orange on wheels. You can also view cars like the ones Lady Edith learnt to drive in during series 3 of 'Downton Abbey'. 

You may also wish to visit the ‘secret army exhibition’ where you will discover how a scenic and serene Hampshire village became the base for sabotage and subversion. The exhibition will introduce visitors to the training schools, instructors, secret agents and unsung heroes of the SOE. Further displays describe agents’ training, recount secret missions and their outcomes and provide a learning zone for younger visitors. 

After exploring Beaulieu you can head to Portsmouth historical dockyards. Here you will see vessels and battle ship used over the centuries. Portsmouth is also the oldest dry dock in the world. Portsmouth Historical dockyards were used to defend the British Isles during wars and other attacks on England. Here you can walk on some of the vessels, walk through the museums or take a ride around the harbour on a public boat with your private guide. You will have the opportunity to enjoy a memorable experience on a luxurious 17-metre (56-foot) canal boat. You may like to enjoy a private dining experience or have a drink upon the canal boat before stopping at a local English pub for a meal (taxis to be arranged for return transfer).

Overnight: Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 5 - Highclere Castle - Cotswolds

Today embark on an adventure with your driver-guide, venturing to where the renowned 'Downton Abbey' was filmed*. The fictional 'Downton Abbey' is set in Yorkshire however it was filmed in Hampshire at Highclere Castle, one of Britain's most spectacular Victorian Castles. 

The castle is owned by the Earl & Countess Carnarvon and has been in the Carnarvon family since 1679. Set among 1000 acres of beautiful parklands and gardens, the castle dates back to medieval times as it was built on the foundations of a medieval palace.  

Upon arrival at the Castle you will get the opportunity to wander the lavish rooms where most of the period drama was set, including the Drawing Room, Library, Main Hall and bedrooms. Images are instantly conjured up of Lord and Lady Crawley sipping on their aperitifs before going through to dinner, or where Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley shared their first kiss in the Main Hall. Whilst seeing the opulent "Upstairs" you will also get the chance to explore the starker "Downstairs", the servants' quarter, where Mrs Patmore and the other maids cooked many a fine feast. There is also the opportunity to explore the beautiful surrounding parklands with many different walkways meandering through the stunning gardens and woodlands. 

You can also visit the nearby, idyllic village of Highclere where other scenes of the drama were filmed, including the small church, where many of the services were set, and the village square which held the village fete. After your tour you will venture to the beautiful Cotswolds to your hotel. 

*Tours of Highclere Castle are subject to availability

Overnight: Ellenborough Park

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 6 - Bampton & Blenheim Palace

This morning continue into Oxfordshire to the village of Bampton. Bampton was used during the filming of 'Downton Abbey' for their village scenes, and whilst exploring you have the chance to see some of these film locations. The main places you will see during your tour are the local village church, the hospital and the village pub. You may also have the chance to see the home of Matthew Crawley. 

Continue to Blenheim Palace; currently home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, the Palace was designed by the architect Vanbrugh and was the birthplace of wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill. A vast park, wonderfully landscaped by Capability Brown, surrounds the palace. Here you will have the opportunity to hear about ‘Grace Ridley’ who was the 1st Duchess’s maid, and hear life as a servant in a palace. After your tour you will be privately transferred back to your hotel in the heart of the Cotswolds.

Overnight: Ellenborough Park

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 7 - Cotswolds - London

Today depart the Cotswolds and head first to the Lacock. The village has been used in a number of popular period TV dramas, including 'Cranford' and 'Pride & Prejudice', as its original timber-framed houses are the perfect authentic backdrop. It featured most recently as the location of a village livestock market in the latest series of 'Downton Abbey'. 

Time permitting you may also like to visit the Spa town of Bath. Bath is famous for being the locations that Jane Austen set two of her six published novels, 'Northanger Abbey' and 'Persuasion', and she made the city her home from 1801 to 1806. You may wish to visit the Jane Austen Museum during your visit or explore the Roman Baths that were discovered in an excellent state of preservation near to Bath Abbey church, and also see the magnificent Palladian architecture for which the city is renowned (seen at its best in the Circus and the Royal Crescent). After your tour you will be privately transferred to your London hotel.

Overnight: The Milestone Hotel

Meal Plan: B

 

Day 8 - Depart London

Today you will be transferred by private vehicle to the London Heathrow airport to board your flight

Meal Plan: B

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