Bampton Area: Downton Abbey

If you are a fan of the British TV show Downton Abbey you are probably aware of what stands in for the big house on the show- Highclere Castle. But do you know where they actually filmed the outside village scenes for the show? The village that stands in for Downton is Bampton. There are also some filming locations in nearby villages.

Bampton

Bampton is a village located in Oxfordshire in England’s beautiful Cotswolds region. There are some filming locations to see that are all in one little area of the village.

St. Mary the Virgin was used for interior and exterior shots.

St. Mary the Virgin’s church in the village was renamed St. Michael’s and All Angels on the show. Both Crawley sister’s weddings were filmed inside the village church.

Inside of the church
Church gate House or the Old Bampton Rectory- Isobel Crawley’s house on Downton Abbey

Bordering the churchyard is a private house that is used for outside shots as Isobel Crawley’s house. It is known as Churchgate House or the Old Bampton Rectory.

This location was used as the exterior for the Cottage Hospital in Downton Abbey.

Adjacent to Churchgate House is the Bampton Library which stands in for The Cottage Hospital on the show in exterior shots. This building is where Dr. Clarkson worked treating villagers. You can buy Downton Abbey related books, postcards, etc. there.

Swinbrook
This photo is from a friend who was with me on the trip. She graciously allowed me to use it. The rest of the photos I took.

Very close to Bampton is the Swan Inn at Swinbrook. It is only two miles away from Burford. The Swan Inn was the exterior filming location of the pub where lady Sybil and Branson stayed while planning to elope.

The interior of one room in the Swan Inn. I don’t know the lady in this photo. There was always someone in this room so it was impossible to take a photo of it without including someone.

The Swan Inn has outstanding meals and desserts. I highly recommend including it as a meal stop. Everyone in our group was with very pleased with their meal and we all ended up ordering sticky toffee pudding or Eton Mess as a dessert.

Shilton
Shill Brook with the hump-back bridge in Shilton

Two miles south of Burford is Shilton. The Old Forge, next to Shill Brook was the public house in Downton Abbey. This is where Bates worked in season 2 for a stint. The 18th century hump-back bridge was also featured.

How to Get There

If traveling by car, the places I mentioned are not that far apart. Just a few miles from one place to the next. If you are comfortable driving in the U.K. this may be the option for you.

If you would rather someone else do the driving I can recommend another option. I did a van tour with 5 other friends through Cotswolds Adventures. You can pick the locations you would like to go or have him pick the spots. The guides are knowledgeable and professional. The owner of the company is fluent in Japanese, so if you are from Japan and a Downton Abbey Fan this may be the best tour for you. There are other guides this tour uses as well. You can view Cotswolds Adventures website here: https://www.cotswoldsadventures.co.uk

If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, it may be worth your while to stop in to Bampton and these other surrounding villages. Most tours do not stop at these villages so you won’t be dealing with crowds. They are just some of the many beautiful villages in the Cotwolds region.

Cornwall Day Tours

Are you planning to visit Cornwall, England? Would you like to go on a day tour with a knowledgeable local? If so, I highly recommend Cornwall Discovery.

Cornwall Discovery

Barry Pengelly owns and operates Cornwall Discovery. As his surname suggests, he was born and raised in Cornwall. His surname, Pengelly, comes from the Cornish language. According to Barry, Pen means top of the hill. Barry is a Cornish history buff.

Cornwall Discovery can pick you up for your tour anywhere in Cornwall. He drives a very comfortable Land Rover Discovery in which he is licensed to carry up to six passengers. According to Barry, he operates everyday and does his tours all year. Go by yourself or take along your friends.

Tours

Barry has a variety of tours listed on his website or he can cater the tour to what interests you. He can take you to filming locations in Cornwall. One tour he lists covers Doc Martin locations and towns in northern Cornwall. He lives outside of Port Isaac where Doc Martin is filmed. Barry was a driver for the actors on Poldark during filming, so he also is very knowledgeable about Poldark locations. He has one tour that covers Poldark filming locations. Visit his website to check out other tours he offers.

These are some of the mines on the Cornwall Coast used in the filming of the TV show, Poldark. This show aired in the U.S. on PBS.

I went along with Barry for two days. One day included some locations I asked specifically to see related to King Arthur and other locations worth seeing nearby. Another day, I just asked him to take me to some scenic Coastal towns. We went to St Ives, some Poldark locations, and a few other locations south of there along the coast that included the Minack Theatre and Mousehole. I was very happy with the locations he picked. Barry related some interesting historical information along the way. Cornish history is his passion.

St. Ives is one of many beautiful Cornish Coastal Towns. St. Ives is known as a haven for the arts. It has galleries including the Tate St Ives.

Will you be in Cornwall without a car? If you do have a car, would you just rather see all the best spots in Cornwall that only a local could show you? Then contact Barry at Cornwall Discovery.

Follow this link to see what Barry offers: http://www.cornwalldiscovery.co.uk

Getting Great Destination Photos (With Help)

When you are visiting a location, how do you find the best spots to take photographs? Wouldn’t it be better to go on a tour with a local photographer?

I went on a “Photo Tours in Bath” tour. The guide, Simon, was a local pro. He is a longtime resident of Bath, England, and he has won a lot of awards as a photographer.

Simon tailored the tour around my schedule. I was spending a week in Bath, so I had a lot of flexibility. Photo Tours in Bath took me to the best locations around Bath to snap some sunset and night photos.

I love taking photos. I am an amateur photographer who is always trying to improve what I do with the camera. I had not spent time working on night photography in the past. Photo Tours in Bath’s guide was more than happy to give advice on angles to get shots from. He also tells you some of the history of the different locations. Bath, with its Cotswold stone buildings, is beautiful during the day or night.

I know I have more to learn as far as photography goes and there are a lot of things I need to work on to improve, but this first foray into night photography was a great experience. I highly recommend this tour. You can’t beat the location either!

The famous Sally Lunn’s
A side street
Bath Abbey

For more information about this tour go to: http://www.phototoursinbath.co.uk

Or check out other projects the tour guide, Simon, is involved in at http://www.floatingworlds.co.uk