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 Hotel

Meet at our lovely Oxfordshire hotel for a Welcome Reception and Dinner.

Monday Overnight: The Plough Hotel

Stroll along the River Thames, then board a boat to lunch at The Trout at Tadpole Bridge, a wonderfully peaceful setting. In the afternoon, we wander in the village of Bampton, where both the village library (the hospital in the drama) and the church frequently feature as Downton backdrops, and Matthew's mother's house is the attractive Churchgate House. This evening, an author joins us evoking the era of ˜Downton Abbey' with tales of country house life from the servants' perspective.

Tuesday Overnight: The Vineyard

Today we visit ˜Downton Abbey' aka Highclere Castle, the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Our morning walk takes us along local footpaths and within the private estate before we stop for lunch at a country pub. Later, we visit inside the castle itself, seeing the actual rooms where the series is filmed.

Wednesday Overnight: Manor House Hotel

Our morning walk takes us to Avebury, with its Neolithic henge containing three stone circles, including the largest stone circle in Europe and one of the foremost prehistoric sites in Britain. In the afternoon, we continue our walk to one of the famous Wiltshire White Horses carved into the hillside. Tonight we'll dine 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.

Thursday Overnight: Manor House Hotel

This morning we walk to impressive Bowood House for a look inside the house and a special tour around the private walled gardens, all set in 100 acres of stunning parkland laid out by Capability Brown. After lunch there, we continue to Lacock where we walk around the beautiful village, mostly owned by the National Trust, and featured in the BBC's ˜Cranford', ˜Pride and Prejudice' and the Harry Potter movies.

Friday Overnight: Manor House Hotel

We explore picturesque Castle Combe, often called the Prettiest Village in England; this idyllic spot has starred in many movies from Doctor Dolittle in 1966 to War Horse in 2010. We then walk in the charming Cotswold countryside surrounding Castle Combe before returning to our hotel for our Farewell Dinner.

Saturday

Morning transfer to Chippenham rail station or onward connections.
Easy-Moderate
Visiting Highclere Castle, it was easy to imagine we really were at Downton.
Terrain: Country byways, well-trodden footpaths, village lanes, low hills. 6-10 miles of walking per day.

TRIP DETAILS

6 nights from
$4,695.00
Per person, Double occupancy
(Single Supplement $795.00)
Our Wayfarers friends' Price is $4,460.00

Dates

30-AUG-20 - 05-SEP-20
Request booking
Arrival: Oxford Rail Station
Departure: Chippenham Rail Station
Downton Abbey Map

Hotels - Where we stay

The Plough Hotel

The Plough Hotel

The Plough Hotel is a perfect example of a 16th century, stylish yet informal hotel in the Cotswold countryside. The hotel was built with authentic local stone and is located in Clanfield, a quaint Oxfordshire Village with a touch of Cotswold charm. The restaurant and bar serving local ales, offer something for everyone with cozy open fires and a terrace.The hotel has an idyllic charm combined with modern amenities such a WiFi access throughout. Stylish bedrooms are all en-suite with either bath or shower and have hairdryer, TV, tea and coffee making facilities and complimentary bottled water.

The Vineyard

The Vineyard

The Vineyard is a 5-star, Relais & Chateaux hotel, renowned for its 30,000 bottle wine cellar, with some of the wines from the California vineyards of The Vineyard's owner, Sir Peter Michael. The hotel has noted art collection, an award winning restaurant, indoor pool and spa, and fitness center. Guest rooms all have ensuite bath, Wi-Fi, TV, king-size bed and minibar.
Manor House Hotel

Manor House Hotel

Castle Combe village lies in a breathtaking location on the outskirts of Bath. Untouched since the 17th Century, this chocolate box Cotswold village is home to the definitive country retreat, the Manor House Hotel. Beautifully appointed bedrooms offer everything you need for a wonderful and comfortable stay including phone, TV and hairdryer. Each room is individually styled with its own unique features, be it views over the lawns, a walk-in shower or a built-in TV in the bathroom! Wifi is available in all rooms. Having recently received the award for 'Wiltshire Restaurant of the Year', the Michelin Starred Bybrook Restaurant offers excellent dining, carefully combining the finest local ingredients with produce from their very own kitchen garden. Within the surrounding 365 acres of woodland and parkland, there is a championship golf course, fly fishing available on the river or you can play a game of croquet on the lawns.

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