Prices

  • £139.00 Adult
  • £119.00 Child (2-15)
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Cotswolds, Downton Abbey, Blenheim Palace – Small Group Day Tour

Visit the sites associated with Downton Abbey, enjoy lunch in the beautiful Oxfordshire Cotswolds and end the day with a tour of the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill; Blenheim Palace.

Departures from London and Oxford.




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Tour Highlights

  • Travel by executive coach
  • Visit to Yew Tree Farm (Cogges), Downton Village (Bampton), Shilton and Swinbrook
  • Expert, friendly guides
  • Entry to Cogges Manor and exclusive, private tour
  • Entry to Bampton Library (Downton Cottage Hospital and Doctor's Surgery in the series)
  • Visit the village of Bladon to see the graves of Sir Winston and Lady Churchill
  • Entry and tour of Blenheim Palace, Park and Gardens
Cotswolds
38°
windy
79% humidity
wind: 29mph NNW
H 39 • L 33
37°
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46°
Sun
46°
Mon
48°
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49°
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Tour Schedule

Depart London and drive away from the city to the rolling limestone hills of Oxfordshire Cotswolds to see key filming sites of Downton Abbey.  Our first stop is a visit to Yew Tree Farm (Cogges), which first appeared in series 4 with Mr.Drewe as the tenant farmer.  Learn of the story-line between Charles Blake, the government adviser sent in to advise Downton and surrounding estates on how to survive changing times, and Lady Mary, entrusted with the running of the estate following Matthew’s death.  They immediately clash over family tradition and the need to reform, but following the now famous ‘pig scene’ their relationship improves.  In series 5 the farm appears regularly as Mr and Mrs Drewe secretly raise Lady Edith’s love child. In series 6 the farm becomes home to Mr.Mason who moves in with the help of Daisy.

After a tea/coffee break in the delightfully rustic and refurbished cow shed Cafe at Cogges, we get the chance to explore the great house and historic farm buildings at Cogges, filled with the sound of animals and surrounded by orchards and ancient ‘ridge and furrow’ fields.  Here we learn of the relationship between land owners and tenant farmers and the workload that shifts and changes within the yearly cycle.  We hear the stories and see the sights of Downton Abbey filming at Yew Tree Farm, and end with a private tour of Yew Tree Farm Manor House (Cogges Manor) before it opens to the public!!  After the tour we take the short drive to Bampton, a beautiful Oxfordshire Cotswolds village. The village of Bampton has been used extensively in all series for Downton Village filming. Bampton Library was used for Downton Cottage Hospital and Doctors surgery; St.Mary’s Church became Downton Church and Church Square; Churchgate House was used as the exterior shots of the Crawley family home; and we walk along the street which has been used for shops, the post office and the Grantham Arms.
  The town itself has many beautiful 17th and 18th century houses, and St.Mary’s Church spire dates back to the 13th century.

We then enjoy a scenic drive through the Oxfordshire Cotwolds, driving by centuries old cottages untouched by the modern world, on roads large coaches would simply never be able to travel on. We take a photo stop in the picturesque historical village of Shilton, which lies in a small basin. In the centre of the village there is a ford across the Shill Brook, and the stream forms a duck pond which together with a stone foot-bridge, old pump and well, creates the perfect picture! The village, with a few ‘cosmetic’ adjustments, provided Downton Abbey with a scene for a village pub (in reality this was the forge) as well as some settings for rural scenes. Our guide will explain to you how the forge was transformed into the village pub!

From Shilton we continue to Swinbrook where we stop at the Swan Inn. The Swan Inn hosted the elopement of Lady Sybil with Branson the family chauffeur!
 This was one of the key, and most controversial, story-lines of Downton’s second series.  The village of Swinbrook itself, a truly magical, picturesque Cotswold village, is more usually associated with the notorious Mitford Sisters, well known socialites of their day, and not short of the occasional scandal themselves! The Swan Inn was owned by Debo, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, and the last surviving Mitford sister who sadly died in 2014.

A short drive to the town of Woodstock for lunch, and en-route we make a stop in the village of Bladon to see the graves of Sir Winston and Lady Churchill.

Woodstock is a fine Georgian town with a distinct Royal Heritage. The Domesday book of 1086 describes Woodstock as a Royal Forest, King Henry I established one of the first known zoos here in 1110, and the Black Prince (son of King Edward III) was born here in 1331. Nowadays, as well as being home to a great selection of historical buildings, it is famous for its selection of small independent shops and a fantastic selection of English pubs and restaurants. The town of Woodstock is also home to Blenheim Palace.

At Blenheim Place your tour begins with an introduction to the ‘upstairs and downstairs’ of class conscious life. Built for the 1st Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill from 1704 to 1722, designed by Sir John Vanburgh and Nicholas Hawksmoor and interiors by Sir Christopher Wren, this historic stately home was also birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill in 1874. 
Discover how the aristocracy lived and how the state apartments increased in importance as we move from room to room. We see how servants interacted with their masters and employers and learn of the strict social standards that needed to be maintained.
After the tour of this great house, there will be time to stroll through landscaped gardens and see the Temple of Diana where Sir Winston Churchill proposed to Clementine Hozier in 1908, before we drive back to London.



Important Information

  • Maximum group size 16 people

Departure

07.20am Great Russell Street, outside British Museum main entrance
07.30am Outside Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch
07.45am Outside Ashburn Hotel, 111 Cromwell Road, Kensington (close to Gloucester Road Tube station), London
09:15am – Outside Oxford Visitor Information Centre, 15-16 Broad Street, Oxford. OX1 3AS
Please arrive at your departure point at least 10 minutes before the departure time. This tour is a guaranteed departure.

Return to London

On the return to London your driver will drop you at Victoria Train Station in the city centre. This is one of the largest transport stations in London, with excellent connections to all parts of London and beyond.



FAQ’s

Will the tour pick-up from my hotel?

Not unless you are staying at a hotel that is a designated pick-up (you will see options for these before you pay).  This is because of Government actions to help prevent pollution, no tour operators have been allowed to make individual hotel pick-ups since 1st April 2017.

Are there toilets on the coaches?

Some coaches have toilets, some do not, but on all tours there are regular comfort stops of no longer than 2 hours apart, plus all places visited have toilets on site.

Will we have time for a full lunch stop whilst on tour?

Unless you book a tour that includes a specific lunch stop then no.  Most tours are targeted at seeing as much as possible in one day and do not have time for a full stop.  There are options to buy food and snacks at all sites visited, but these can be expensive and most people prefer to bring food and drink with them.  Supermarkets, e.g. Tesco Express offer excellent and great value, pre-prepared food that is ideal for this.  Here is a store finder link.

Will the tour return to for example London at the time stated or can it be late?

Most tours return at the expected time, but this is always subject to traffic and it is possible there could be a delay and so it is always wise to allow plenty of spare time if you are planning on booking theatre shows, trains or flights etc. after your tour.

What clothes should I wear?

It is always wise to check the weather forecast before setting out.  It is good to plan in case of rain, with perhaps a shower coat and umbrella.  There will likely be quite a bit of walking on tours and comfy shoes are a must and if any of the tour is on grass e.g. Stonehenge Inner Circle tours then waterproof shoes are sensible.  It is often colder out of London than in London particularly if windy and a jumper or fleece in summer are wise and a warm coat in winter.

If visiting London how much time will it take to see all the main sites, will we have time for more than one out of London tour if we only have a week? How long in advance should I book tours?

It is a common mistake that people think it may take six days to see London and only allow a day for out of London tours.  However there is so much to see out of London that four days to go out of London will be an amazing experience to see maybe all these locations, Dover, Canterbury, Leeds Castle, Hampton Court, Windsor, Winchester, Glastonbury, Stonehenge, Avebury, Bath, Stratford, Oxford and Warwick.

There are excellent day tours of London that see all of the main attractions in one day and then perhaps allow a further two days to see the Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros. Tour and other London attractions not included on the main tours and do not forget to book your show/theatre tickets well in advance too.

These are all very popular tours, most sell out well in advance and it is wise to book your tours, theatre and attractions several months in advance and you will find good planning in advance will optimise your holiday.

Is it better value to tour sites of London and out of London sites on our own, perhaps hiring a car?

No, fixed tours of both London and out of London are much better value than visiting sites individually and you will find going individually entrance costs alone will add up to more than the fixed tours, even before you factor in travel costs.

Do tours pick-up from any of the London airports?

Sorry no tours depart or return from any UK airports.  There are however excellent rapid express trains for example the Heathrow Express.

Can you help me find a discounted best value hotel? Plus theatre/shows and other attractions?

Yes we certainly can and here are some useful links.



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Why stop there?


The ever-increasing demand and availability for well-organised, safe and reliable trips means that we now go further afield, so while we love taking people on tours of England, Ireland and Scotland we are pleased to offer that little bit more with river tours of Amsterdam, coach tours of Paris and train trips to the chocolate capital of the world, Brussels!

Our Most Popular Essential Trips

There are so many and we cater for everyone so it may be a case of a leisurely out of London trip to Stonehenge or you may want the buzz and excitement of a theatre tour of London – all the glitz and glamour is there. Out of London, we offer all sorts of adventures: Roman Baths, Shakespeare country, the Royal Pavilion, Brighton – you name it. Same with London – we don’t just do the round London tours – we can take you to Kew Gardens or we can take you on an expedition on the roof of the O2 Dome to the platform at the top offering spectacular views.

So we offer Out of London, Around London, Theatre and Hotels and then there are the spectacular Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day tours – what a way to celebrate the fun season.