Created by Julian Fellowes, ‘Downton Abbey’ is a historical drama series of immense intrigue and complex story arcs. Set in the titular fictional country estate, the series revolves around the lives of the Crawley family or aristocrats while commenting upon class differences prevalent in Post-Edwardian England. The highly acclaimed period drama parallels many real-life historical events as it gives the audience a tour of the gradual demise of the decadent British aristocratic life.
Featuring Maggie Smith (of ‘Harry Potter‘ franchise fame) and Michelle Dockery alongside a plethora of noted actors, the series unfolds a drama of epic grandeur, as it meticulously recreates the feel of the period. If you are wondering about the filming locations of the series, let us give you a detailed tour.
Downton Abbey Filming Locations
‘Downton Abbey’ was filmed in its entirety in and around the United Kingdom, especially in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and London. Filming for the first season began in March 2010, and the production on the sixth season wrapped up by 2015. While the story of the series is set in Yorkshire County, the crew filmed in many historical locations across the UK to bring the drama to life. Let us now take you to the specific locations where the film was shot!
The story largely revolves around the aristocratic Crawley family who lives in the fictional Downton Abbey. Highclere Castle, a 1679 country house located in the eponymous park 5 miles south of the Newbury region near Berkshire, served as the titular abbey in the film. The exterior and most of the interior shots were filmed in this location.
Additionally, a few scenes from the 2013 Christmas special were filmed in Basildon Park, a country house located between the villages of Upper and Lower Basildon in Streatley in the county of Berkshire.
The crew filmed some of the interior scenes of the Crawley estate in a controlled studio environment. Servants’ quarters, a few of the bedrooms, and the kitchen of the estate were constructed from scratch at the Ealing Studios, a television and film production facility located at Ealing Green in London. Filming took place in stage 2 of the studio. Considered to be the oldest studio in the world, the production facility has been home to a plethora of productions over the years, from its self-branded post-WWII comedies to biopics like ‘The Theory of Everything.’
The Crawley family’s London home sequences were filmed at the world heritage site of Bridgewater House, located at 14 Cleveland Row in the St. James neighborhood of London. Constructed in 1854, the iconic house flaunts Italian Palazzo architecture. Some scenes were also filmed in the London Charterhouse, another world heritage site located at Smithfield, in the London Borough of Islington, just north of Charterhouse Square. The exterior of Lady Rosamund’s house proved to be a stucco townhouse in Belgravia in the London Borough of Westminster.
In the premiere episode of the fourth season, Lady Edith Crawley unites with Michael Gregson in King’s Cross Station. Staying true to the era of the series, the crew filmed the scene at St. Pancras railway station, a major rail terminus located on Euston Road in the London Borough of Camden.
Later, the lovers share a kiss in a restaurant, which was shot at the Criterion Restaurant. Once located at 224 Piccadilly in the St. James’s district of London, the venue has been permanently closed. Another location that features in the series is the Savile Club, located at 69 Brook Street in Mayfair in the London Borough of Westminster. The crew filmed a major sequence from the fourth season in the ballroom of the club, which was dubbed the Lotus Club in the series. Lancaster House, a mansion located in the St. James’s district in London, served as the Buckingham Palace in the 2013 Christmas special episode.
The scenes set in Edith’s house were filmed in the Chepstow Villas. Additionally, the crew filmed in many touristy locations around the city, such as the historic Prince Albert Memorial, the Royal Hospital Chelsea, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and St. James’s Park.
The realistic WWI warfare scenes were filmed not in France but in England. To facilitate filming, a replica WWI battlefield was painstakingly built by farmer-historian Jeremy Hall on a farm in Ipswich near the village of Akenham in Suffolk County.
The interior scenes of Isobel Crawley’s home were filmed at Hall Barn of Hall Place, an 18th-century mansion located at Seer Green in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. In the second season, Sir Richard Carlisle attempts to buy the Haxby Park. While there is no such place by the name, the crew chose to film the exterior scenes at the park adjacent to Waddesdon Manor, a country house located in the eponymous village in Aylesbury Vale in Buckinghamshire.
The manor, which has been home to the famous Rothschild family for many generations, is now owned by the National Trust, although the Rothschild Foundation looks after the estate. However, the interior scenes of the Haxby Park were filmed at Halton House, another property with links to the Rothschild family. The grade II listed heritage building is located in the Chiltern Hills just above the Halton village near Wendover, Buckinghamshire.
In the series, Aunt Rosamund lives in a posh residence at 35 Belgrave Square, in London. While the exterior shots were taken on location, the interior shots were filmed in West Wycombe Park, a country house situated near the village of West Wycombe, in High Wycombe, in the county of Buckinghamshire.
The fictional Downton village of Yorkshire, we are obliged to say, does not exist. The outdoor village scenes were predominantly filmed at the small community of Bampton, located southwest of Witney in Oxfordshire. The crew filmed a few scenes at Saint Mary’s C of E Church, which served as St. Michael’s and All Angels church of Downton. Located at 5 Deanery Court and Broad Street in Bampton in the province of Canterbury, the church flaunts a classic Anglo-Saxon architectural style.
Additionally, some scenes were also filmed outside the local library of Bampton, located at Church View in Bampton. The location served as the exterior of the fictional Cottage Hospital from the second season. The exterior shots of the home of liberal Isobel Grey were filmed outside Churchgate House in Bampton. The archaic building, which once served as the town’s rectory, has now been turned into a museum showcasing the history of the locality.
Isobel’s suitor Lord Merton lives in a fictional aristocratic estate called Cavenham Park. The scenes, however, were filmed at Kingston Bagpuize House, a wedding venue located near Abingdon, Oxfordshire. The Red Lion pub scenes were filmed at the Old Forge Cottage, a grade II listed building located at Hollow Way in Shilton, Oxfordshire. Moreover, Timothy Drewe’s Yew Tree Farm is actually located in Oxfordshire. The crew filmed the scenes at Cogges Manor Farm, a living museum and a major tourist spot, situated at Church Lane in Witney, Oxfordshire.
Another tourist attraction from Oxfordshire made an appearance in the series. The crew filmed in Greys Court, a Tudor estate located in the southern region of Chiltern Hills at Rotherfield Greys, near Henley-on-Thames, in the same county. The location served as the second home of the Crawley family, where they intend to move in the third season following monetary constraints.
The Dower house of Violet Crawley is actually located in Surrey. The crew filmed these scenes at the grade II listed heritage site of Byfleet Manor, in Byfleet, Surrey. The filming team also visited Royal Holloway, University of London, a public university located near Egham Hill, in Egham, Surrey.
West Sussex, England
Horsted Keynes railway station, a preserved railway station on the historic Bluebell Railway tracks in Sussex doubled as the Downtown Station in the series. The heritage station has been used in various film and television productions such as ‘A Room with a View’ and ‘Mr. Holmes.’
The crew also filmed some pivotal scenes in West Wittering beach, situated in the Chichester district of the same county. Additionally, some scenes from the sixth season were filmed at the Goodwood Circuit, located at the titular village in Chichester, West Sussex. The historic motorsport circuit served as the location for a racing scene.
Other Locations in the United Kingdom
Some scenes were filmed in the south-eastern county of Kent. Scenes from the fourth season were filmed at the Historic Dockyard Chatham in Kent, whereas some other scenes were taken at the Kent & East Sussex Railway. Alnwick Castle, located at Alnwick, Northumberland, served as the fictional Brancaster Castle. Filming was carried out in the state rooms and the castle grounds. In addition, the crew filmed some scenes at the landmark site of Hulne Priory, located on the Duke’s parklands at Denwick near the castle.
Stockers Farm, a popular filming site in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, stood in for the farm of Mr. Mason. Moreover, the crew filmed some scenes at the historic location of Lincoln Castle, a castle built by William the Conqueror. Situated at Castle Hill in the Lincoln County, the castle served as the location of the Bates’ prison in the third season.
The crew occasionally visited the northern territory of Scotland to film a few sequences. The fictional Duneagle Castle shown in the 2012 Christmas special episode is in actuality the Inveraray Castle, a country house situated in Argyll, Scotland by the Loch Fyne.
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