Downton Abbey/Watership Down
The Downton Abbey tour is led by our expert driver-guide, Phil Howe. Phil developed a talent for explanation during his earlier career as a Senior Lecturer. On the journey west towards the Hampshire/Berkshire Border you are driven through some of the finest English countryside.
Driving through the village with King John's peculiar legacy perched on top of the church, we take to winding country lanes that pass the entrance to Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's estate at Sydmonton, composer of West End and Broadway musicals Cats, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar and Phantom of the Opera.
At Old Burghclere we stop and trace the fascinating Carnarvon family history in an abandoned, yet beautiful historic village church.
In the light of the success of author Lord Julian Fellowes' Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle is a popular destination and only opens at certain times of the year as it is also the Carnarvon family home. Expert guides in every room help visitors understand this unique property and you see private spaces and staterooms as well as below stairs and the upstairs bedrooms, familiar settings from the TV drama series.
Lunch may be taken at The Carnarvon Arms, a classic English country Inn or another good country inn offering local ales and food.
We then drive over White Hill, stopping to take in the magnificent views (weather permitting) of Watership Down towards the source of the River Test and see the houses where Jane Austen attracted romance and attended neighbourhood balls. We may see inside the church at Steventon where her father was rector, and the hamlet where she was born and lived until she was 25 years old.
You must purchase your own entry ticket to Highclere Castle well in advance as the opportunity to see inside the house is very limited.
This one-day, chauffeur-driven, guided tour is approximately six hours. If you are staying locally, we can drop you back at your hotel or B&B otherwise we will return you to Basingstoke train station for your return journey.