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 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’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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.