Highlights

  • Castle Combe and Lacock, two of England's loveliest villages
  • The stone circles at Avebury, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • The House and Gardens at Bowood House
  • A tour of Highclere Castle (TV's Downton Abbey)
  • Bampton village, a key location in Downton Abbey

Get to know the lives of lords and servants on this Walk in the heart of the English countryside. The Upstairs / Downstairs theme takes you through some of the Cotswolds' prettiest villages crammed with thatched cottages, and to the stately home and splendid gardens at Bowood House.

To crown it all, we visit Highclere Castle, owned by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and the setting for Downton Abbey, as well as Bampton village, one of the main Downton locations. Literary links abound. We visit beautiful Lacock, a village mostly owned by the National Trust and featured in the BBC' s Cranford and Pride and Prejudice, and our route through ancient Savernake Forest takes us close to Wolf Hall, home of Jane Seymour, featured in Hilary Mantel' s eponymous bestselling novel.

Sunday Overnight: The Plough

We meet for our Welcome Talk and Dinner at our lovely hotel in Oxfordshire.

Monday Overnight: The Plough

After a morning stroll along the river, we board a boat to take us to lunch in The Trout at Tadpole Bridge, a wonderfully peaceful setting. In the afternoon, we wander around the village of Bampton, where both the village library (the hospital in the drama) and the church frequently feature as backdrops, and Matthew's mothers house is the attractive Churgate House. This evening, an author joins us evoking the era of Downton Abbey and talking about country house life from the servants' perspective.

Tuesday

This morning's walk takes us to Avebury, with its Neolithic henge containing three stone circles. Unique among megalithic monuments, Avebury contains the largest stone circle in Europe and is one of the foremost prehistoric sites in Britain. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the afternoon, we continue our walk past one of the famous Wiltshire White Horses carved into the hillside before reaching our hotel in Marlborough. We have dinner in a private house near Marlborough College, alma mater of the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton), and near the site of Jane Seymour's Wolf Hall on the edge of Savernake Forest.

Easy-Moderate
"The Walk Leaders are excellent and always engaged with you. They're very knowledgeable about the area, its history and culture."
Terrain: Country byways, well-trodden footpaths, village lanes, low hills. 6-10 miles of walking per day.

TRIP DETAILS

6 nights from
$4,195.00
Per person, Double occupancy
(Single Supplement $565.00)
Our Wayfarers friends' Price is $3,985.00

Dates

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Arrival: Oxford Rail Station
Departure: Chippenham Rail Station

Activities

Walk CulturePre-historic monument visitFilm Location Visit
Downton Abbey Map

Hotels - Where we stay

Start planning your trip

What Is Included in the Price of My Vacation

  • Full-time services of two staff - a Walk Leader and Walk Manager
  • A backup vehicle for resting walkers and moving luggage
  • Comprehensive Travel Information Package and Reading List
  • Diverse itineraries with an emphasis on history, geography, culture, peoples, flora and fauna
  • Demonstrations, wine tasting, admissions to museums and historic sites
  • All ground transfers (ferries, cable cars, trains, etc.)
  • Maps and unique souvenirs to commemorate your trip
  • First-class accommodations with cultural and historical interest
  • All meals - with choices - (Special dietary requirements? No problem!)
  • Wine with dinner
  • On-trail snacks and refreshments
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants