The World of Downton Abbey: England and the Land of the Gentry

The World of Downton Abbey: England and the Land of the Gentry

Thu, 04/04/2013 - 4:20pm - Sat, 04/06/2013 - 4:20pm
This trip is now sold-out!

Join the WXXI Travel Club for an unforgettable trip to England, featuring a visit to the real Downton Abbey!

This trip is now sold out! 

Masterpiece Theatre’s Downton Abbey has seduced audiences both in Britain and here, “across the pond”, by its superbly crafted script of simmering sub plots and four dimensional characters, deftly portrayed, upstairs and down, by an unforgettable cast.  On a tour of historic England, we will discover the world of Downton in fact and fiction, past and present, culminating in an exclusive private tour and reception at Highclere Castle: for more than 300 years the home of Lord and Lady Carnarvon, the real Downton Abbey.

From Edwardian London and the iconic Houses of Parliament, to the Georgian splendour of Jane Austen’s Bath and the hallowed halls of Oxford, invited scholars and expert guides will help us explore our enduring fascination with the aristocracy, their grand estates, and how they survive today. We will learn the codes they live by, their manners and customs. We will hear about the changing roles of women, the servants’ insurgence and the rise of the middle classes.

Alastair Bruce, historical advisor for Downton Abbey and a Royal Commentator for the press, will address us in the House of Lords and at lunch in a London Club. We’ll have high tea in the home of the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith), and stroll the streets of “Downton” village.

We’ll put all this in context with visits to other Masterpiece locations and historic sites.  What did Jane Austen’s bonneted women really get up to in Bath? Where is the Abbey in Downton, or Lacock? Why is the Royal family called Windsor?  Where did Lord Grantham go to school? Was life below stairs so rosy? Do Inspector Morse’s Professors really discuss Shakespeare in Pubs?

We’ll enjoy an evening of theatre in London. We’ll lodge in select 4-star hotels, take over our own country house, dine in fine restaurants, and indulge in high tea.  


  • Private tour and reception at Highclere Castle, location for exterior and interior scenes of Downton Abbey
  • Private tea at Byfleet Manor, location of the Dowager Countess’s home (Maggie Smith)
  • Private guides, talks and visits with experts on British history and the Downton era in particular.
  • Tours of major historical sites in London and elsewhere, including the House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Poet’s Corner, St James’s, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Windsor Castle, Blenheim Palace, the city of Oxford, its University and Colleges, Lacock Abbey, Bampton village (Downton village scenes), Bath, Sandham Memorial Chapel (WWI memorial) amongst others.
  • Prime tickets to a theatre performance in London, plus evensong in OxfordDeluxe 4-star accommodations in London, Oxford, and Ston Easton, near Bath.
  • Private, air-conditioned motorcoach transportation to all destinations in the itinerary
  • Free time for additional site-seeing, shopping or relaxing
  • The company of other Downton Abbey devotees!

TOUR COST: $4985 pp, ground only; Group limited to 25 persons

The World of Downton Abbey tour is an exclusive presentation of WXXI and is organized by The Grand Tour Travel Company of Peterborough, New Hampshire.

For more information call Laura Garrison, WXXI, Assistant Vice President for Individual Giving at 585-258-0309.

Downton Abbey
WXXI Downton Registration Form (doc)54 KB
Downton Tour Brochure (pdf)694.88 KB