Downton Abbey movie hits cinemas – 6 amazing filming locations every super-fan should visit

14th Sep 19 | Lifestyle

Tailcoats optional, but advised.

Downton Abbey World Premiere – London

Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith and co. are back, and they’re bigger and in higher definition than ever before. After months of anticipation, the lords, ladies and staff of Downton are making their big screen debuts –  nearly four years after their TV finale – in a feature film adaptation featuring a few new faces, and many, many familiar ones.

Here are a few filming locations to help you get your fix of high society, starting with the hallowed halls of Downton Abbey itself…

1. Highclere Castle

HIghclere Castle
(iStock/PA)

As devotees will doubtless already know, Highclere is Downton Abbey. The Hampshire country house/castle still houses the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and has hosted the show since the first days of Season One.

Great hall, library, music room, drawing room and dining room all doubled for the Abbey’s interiors, while the surrounding area has featured so heavily that Tatler christened it “Downtonia”.

Previously Highclere enjoyed a more varied screen career, hosting everything from the criminal capers of Miss Marple to the debauchery of Stanley Kubrick’s final film, Eyes Wide Shut.

2. Bampton Village

Bampton, Oxfordshire
(iStock/PA)

A stand-in for the almost obnoxiously picturesque Downton village, Bampton  is incredibly simple to visit because, well, it’s just there.

There’s Bampton Community Archive, which doubled as the village hospital and now flogs Downton memorabilia; there’s St Mary’s Church which hosted town weddings (and, of course, jiltings); then there’s Church View, a charming country road that gave life to fictional pubs The Grantham Arms and The Dog and Duck.

3. Harewood House

The home of Lord Lascelles in the film and in reality, Harewood House is one of only a few locations to have the distinction of playing itself.

A greatest hits album of Victorian stately home designers, Harewood boasts interiors by Robert Adam, furniture by Thomas Chippendale, paintings by Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds, and 100-acre gardens landscaped by Capability Brown.

No stranger to high society television, it previously played Buckingham Palace in ITV’s Victoria. Perhaps best of all, it’s one of a handful of Downton destinations that’s actually in Yorkshire.

4. Beamish Museum

Beamish Living Museum
(iStock/PA)

A sprawling, outdoor museum of pre-war rural life – informally known as The Living Museum of the North – this ever-changing collection lent its period buildings and rustic vehicles to the new Downton film, and the Christmas Special back in 2015.

A dynamic document of the Victorian north east, Beamish is as much about soaking up the Downton vibe as it is seeing specific Downton sights.

5. Alnwick Castle

An austere, ramparted castle that looks much more medieval than most Downton fare, Alnwick starred as Brancaster Castle in two of the programme’s Christmas specials.

Ancestral home of the Percy family – one of the nation’s oldest, grandest, and most rebellious families – the fortress is an historic wonder in its own right, and claims to be the second largest inhabited castle in the UK.

Downton isn’t Alnwick’s first rodeo, and eagle-eyed cinephiles might notice an uncanny resemblance to a certain famous wizarding school.

6. Wentworth Woodhouse

The Tom Hanks of country houses, for Wentworth, Downton is but a footnote in a long, distinguished career on the silver screen. Since its screen debut in 1980s, the house has starred in Wives and Daughters, Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Turner, and last year’s best picture nominee Darkest Hour.

In real life, Wentworth’s main claim to fame is that it’s ludicrously, outrageously, gratuitously large. Thought to be the biggest private residence in the whole of Britain, the house now hosts tours, photoshoots, and weddings.

© Press Association 2019

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