I have snooped around the map and have chosen a few of the top locations to highlight for you with drool worthy photos.
|Highclere Castle/ Downton Abbey Flickr, Zen Whisk|
Highclere Castle or Downton Abbey itself, seen in every episode of "Hound's Bum Abbey" as the lord of the manor Hugh Bonneville affectionately calls it! Owned by George Herbert, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon and his wife Lady Carnarvon (the former Fiona Aitken) who has written a biography of one of her predecessors Almina, Countess of Carnarvon. If you can't get to Highclere in Berkshire on one of it's open days in July or August, you might be interested in their new Highclere Castle app. Or you might like to peruse the blog of Lady Carnarvon and see what is going on at the real Downton Abbey.
|Portal Hall, Burghclere/ Downton Schoolhouse Chris Talbot|
Portal Hall in Burghclere, Hampshire is the adorable schoolhouse where the wedding reception for Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes finally took place. It was also the spot where Mr. Molesley inspired us (the viewers) as well as the students with his motivational take on education. I think this was also the spot where the notorious flower show took place in the first season. You remember, when they were afraid NOT to give first prize to the Dowager Countess Violet?
|Greys Court, Henley-on-Thames/ "Downton House" from Season 3 John of Reading|
I have to put in a good word for Greys Court near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire as I was there last year and it is lovely! You might remember from Season 3 when Lord Grantham had poorly invested his money (OK, Cora's money) and they were considering downsizing to their much smaller estate Downton House. They even had a picnic on the lawn. But retrenching and making do with only 8 servants was just too much to endure! Horrors!
There actually are some lovely picnic areas with fine views and beautiful gardens. And the tour guides talk fondly of Maggie Smith's visit. I want to go back...
|Cogges Manor Farm/ Yew Tree Farm Rabbi WP Thinro|
Cogges Manor Farm, or as we know it Yew Tree Farm once the home of the Drewe family and Marigold, now Mr. Mason's farm, it is a great place to visit! Take the kids to visit the farm animals (just like George and Marigold!), have tea and scones or book it as a wedding venue. I would love to go. They have a video on their website of the Downton crew dressing the farm house for filming. What a lot of work! If you would like to visit, it is in Oxfordshire, just west of Oxford.
|Inveraray Castle/ Duneagle Castle Ian Dick|
Inverary Castle was used as Duneagle Castle, the country seat of Lord and Lady Flincher (and cousin Rose of course). Although as you will recall, this Christmas episode did not end well, the location and the highland dancing was a lot of fun. And cousin Susan's exploits were pretty interesting! Good riddance O'Brien! This would be a gorgeous place to visit if you were in the north west of Scotland.
|Beamish Museum/ Christmas Finale outdoor location Paul Trafford|
The Beamish Museum in County Durham is somewhere I have long wanted to go. Billed as open air museum, there seems to be more to do than you can pack into a day. Train rides, a sweet shop, authentic fish and chips and even coal mining demonstrations are to be found. Someday I will get there. Have any of my readers been? When we in North America finally see the Christmas finale (Sunday March 6 2016) we will get a glimpse of the main street of Beamish dusted with snow. Perfect!
I think I will leave it there. Have fun exploring the map on your own and perhaps planning your next trip to the UK around some of these interesting places to visit.