When I was planning my trip to London, I just knew I couldn’t go all the way there and miss a chance to explore the locations used on one of my favorite TV shows, Downton Abbey! Whether you choose a guided tour or self-drive version, I’ll tell you exactly how to plan your own perfect Downton Abbey tour! Visit Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle), Downton Village (Bampton Village), and Yew Tree Farm (Cogges Manor Farm) too!
When to Go
To visit Highclere Castle, along with the other locations, tours are only available when the castle is open to the public in July and August. Tickets are £189 for adults and £179 for children ages 3-15. Book your tour here.
If you won’t be in London in the summer, there are tours in September and October that take you to Cogges Manor Farm, Bampton Village, and Blenheim Palace. Blenheim wasn’t used in Downton Abbey, but it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Tickets are £145 for adults and £125 for children ages 3-15. Book your tour here.
I chose to take a guided tour through International Friends for my Downton Abbey tour, and I would highly recommend them! The charter bus picked me up outside of Harrod’s department store in London, and I spent the day with 15 other Downton fans, as well as our enthusiastic guide and driver, as we crossed the Cotswolds to visit the castle, church, village, and farm used in the show. At the end of a long but wonderful day, they dropped me right back in front of Harrod’s!
This option is ideal if you’re traveling alone or if renting a car and finding the places on your own seems a bit too daunting. I felt like I had plenty of time to explore each place throughout the day. The guide was great about letting us know when we would meet back up as a group so that I could pace my free time how I wanted.
Self Guided Tour
When to Go
For general admission tickets, Highclere Castle is open to the public Sunday thru Thursday from the beginning of July to the beginning of September. You can choose a morning admission ticket to enter the castle between 10:30 am and 1:00 pm or an afternoon admission to enter between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. Regardless of your ticket time, you are welcome to explore the gardens and dine in the tearoom and cafe beginning at 9:30, but all guests must exit the castle by 5:00 pm and leave the property by 6:00 pm.
Tickets are £16 for each adult, £14.50 for students and seniors, and £11 for children ages 4-16. Adults can add on an afternoon tea ticket for £30 each, but children are not permitted. Book your general admission tickets here.
There are several September and October dates for exclusive tours that are capped at 60 visitors instead of the normal 1,200. However, transportation is not included in these tours. Tickets are £120 each. Book your guided tour here.
Begin at London Paddington and take the train to Newbury where you will need to take a 15-minute taxi ride to the gates of Highclere Castle. If Newbury station is closed, begin at London Waterloo and take the train to Basingstoke, a 25-minute taxi ride to the castle. If you would like to pre-arrange a taxi to pick you up at Whitchurch, that’s only a 10-minute ride.
If you choose the train option, you can only visit Highclere Castle. There are no train routes to Bampton Village or Cogges Manor Farm, and I’m guessing that would be one pricey taxi ride!
If you prefer not to go with the guided tour option, I would recommend you rent a car and drive the route yourself. From the center of London, it will take 1.5 to 2 hours to get to Highclere Castle. Turn off your GPS when you get close because it will take you to the wrong entrance. Just follow the brown tourist signs from the A34.
Once you have had your fill of Highclere Castle, if that’s even possible, take the 45-minute drive to Bampton village. You’ll see Downton locations like the church, Isobel Crawley’s house, Downton hospital. Park on or near Church View Road, and wander around for a bit!
Lastly, take the 20-minute drive to Cogges Manor Farm, the location used as Yew Tree Farm. Don’t miss the adorable coffee shop before making your way back to London!