London at dusk

London & Downton Abbey

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Overview

Featuring London & Oxford, plus Brampton Village and Highclere Castle from Downton Abbey; Stonehenge & Bath optional excursions
Style Value VacationTravel in larger groups than our Small Group tours, but at fantastic value prices. These group tour packages are operated by our carefully selected partners and may be shared with other English speaking passengers ensuring guaranteed departures. More of these packages
50 travelers max, tour escorts & guides for some segments
Departures Scheduled Dates
Price Includes
  • Flights
  • Coach
  • Transfers
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Guides
  • Round-trip flights from USA to London including fuel surcharges and taxes and fees
  • Arrival & departure transfer with meeting & assistance
  • 4 nights' accommodations in a First Class Hotel
  • Breakfast daily
  • Tour of Highclere Castle, Bampton Village, and Oxford
  • Half-day Vintage Double-decker Bus Tour of London
Optional
  • Included flights may have a stop in Reykjavik (KEF), Dublin (DUB), or similar. Non-stop flights may be available for an additional cost
  • Exciting optional excursions in and outside London purchasable at your hotel
  • Stonehenge & Bath with entrance to Roman Baths
Highlights
  • Explore the ivy-clad walls of Oxford
  • Visit Bampton to see the Church, Matthew Crawley's mother's house, the hospital, and more
  • Enjoy a guided tour of Highclere Castle, the setting of Downton Abbey
  • Discover London on a half-day Vintage Bus Tour
Departs Washington Dulles (IAD), Boston (BOS), New York City (NYC); other gateways on request (flight schedule)
Themes History & Culture
What to Expect This leisurely-paced, partially guided tour requires minimal walking and is suitable for most levels of physical fitness.
As Seen in
Los Angeles Times

Prepare for your trip Already booked? Find everything you need to know before you go, including information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.


London & Downton Abbey itinerary

Ask any experienced traveler about London, and chances are you'll hear that it is a personal favorite, high on the list of "visit every chance I get" cities. The pomp, pageantry and grandeur are only the beginning of the story. London positively comes alive during the summer. Warm weather, vibrant green gardens, and plenty of opportunities for downing pints in pubs, await the lucky visitor, throughout the city. Even more exciting, a true highlight awaits you at Downton Abbey. Officially known as Highclere Castle, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon will open their home, one of England's most beautiful Victorian castles and setting of the hit PBS television series, welcoming you to enjoy an afternoon tour following a day of sightseeing in Bampton and Oxford.

 

For the true Anglophile, you can add an optional full day excursion to Stonehenge & Bath. Ponder the meaning and significance of Stonehenge. Then admire the Roman Baths and Georgian architecture of the city of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Itinerary

Day 1: Depart USA/Overnight Flight

  • Board your overnight flight for London

Day 2: London

Accommodations: 4 nights The Grange Holborn Hotel, London or similar.

  • Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel
  • Balance of the day at leisure

Westminster Bridge and Big BenFull Day Itinerary: Upon arrival in London you'll be met and transferred to your centrally located hotel. Enjoy the balance of the day to relax, unwind, and enjoy the facilities of the hotel. Or, venture out for your first exploration of the city. Your hotel is conveniently located near Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben. A short ride on the underground provides easy access to Piccadilly Circus and many of London's other main attractions.

 

Day 3: London

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Full day at leisure or join an optional tour

StonehengeOptional Excursion: Stonehenge & Bath, with entry to the Roman Baths, $120. Today, depart for Stonehenge and Bath. One of the great enigmas of ancient engineering, Stonehenge stands alone in a vast empty tract of the Salisbury plain. Dating back nearly 5,000 years, it has been a pillar of paganism and spiritual worship, but its origin is still hotly debated among academics and Anglophiles, alike.

Who carried and carved these 40-ton rocks and what was their purpose? Perhaps an observatory, a temple to the sun, or an elaborate cemetery, Stonehenge will fascinate and confound as you weigh the facts and form your own opinion. Afterward, we head to the beautiful Georgian city of Bath in time for lunch (on your own).

Roman baths, BathWith fabulous restaurants, coffee shops, and pubs, Bath has no shortage of places to eat. Following a scenic drive to the heart of the city, you will have time to explore independently. Your ticket includes entrance to the Roman Baths, built nearly 2,000 years ago on Britain's only natural hot spring. At the heart of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can walk around the steaming water on the Roman stone paving and admire the ancient Roman statues and architecture. Be sure to see Bath Abbey and Pulteney Bridge overlooking the river Avon. Perhaps visit the Jane Austen Centre and the elegant Assembly Rooms built in 1771. Return to London at approximately at 7:30 pm.

Day 4: London, Oxford, Bampton & Highclere Castle

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Enjoy a unique tour of Oxford
  • Explore Bampton, the setting of various Downton Abbey village scenes
  • Visit Highclere Castle (where Downton Abbey was filmed) for a guided tour

Highclere CastleFull Day Itinerary: This morning, travel to Oxford, the City of Dreaming Spires. Boasting one of the world's greatest and oldest universities, as well as, some of the finest architecture in Europe, you will enjoy a unique tour journeying through ivy-clad stone walls into Oxford's chapels, halls, and libraries. Afterward, enjoy some time at leisure to explore on your own and buy souvenirs before heading to Bampton.

This quintessentially British village is one of Britain's true hidden treasures. Bampton serves as the setting of various village scenes from the Downton Abbey series. You will visit the Church, Mathew Crawley's mother's house, the hospital and more, before travelling to Downton Abbey's most recognizable setting.

Officially known as Highclere Castle, one of England's most beautiful Victorian castles, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon will open their home, welcoming you to enjoy a tour of the setting of the hit PBS television series. Designed by architect Sir Charles Barry, who also designed the Houses of Parliament, Highclere Castle is the countryseat of the Earl of Carnarvon. You will be guided through the public rooms including the magnificent main hall, the library, sitting rooms, and state rooms in addition to other areas featured in the filming of Downton Abbey. Afterward, spend some time enjoying the parklands created by Lancelot “Capability” Brown, who also designed the grounds of Blenheim Palace. Or, simply indulge yourself with tea and cake in one of Highclere Castle's many tea rooms while reading your signed copy of Lady Carnarvon's autobiography. Return to London at approximately 7:30 pm.

Day 5: London

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Enjoy a half-day Vintage London Bus Tour & Thames Cruise
  • Balance of the day at leisure

Tower Bridge, LondonFull Day Itinerary: Enjoy a hearty English breakfast then set out on a half-day Vintage London Bus Tour & Thames Cruise. Whether you've visited London before or are a first-timer, you'll be delighted by the great views of Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London and the London Eye, as you drive through the city aboard your 1950's era double-decker Routemaster bus. Then, board your river boat for a cruise along the River Thames. You'll have an opportunity to view and photograph Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Cleopatra's Needle and London Bridge, before arriving at Westminster pier. Re-join the bus and head for Buckingham Palace to see the iconic Changing of the Guard. (Changing of the Guard is not daily and may not occur on the day of the tour.)

London EyeEnjoy the remainder of the day at leisure to explore the sights and sounds of London on your own or join an optional tour, purchasable directly at your hotel. Get a 360 degree view of the entire city by taking a ride on the London Eye or stay grounded for a more intimate approach to the city. View antiquities from around the world at The British Museum, one the greatest collections of art at the National Gallery, and, for modern art, visit the Tate Gallery of Modern Art. If you have a taste for London's macabre past, be sure to visit the Tower of London. Famous as a place of imprisonment and execution, it has also been used as an armory, a mint, a royal residence, a menagerie, and observatory; and is still used as a safe-deposit box for the Crown Jewels. Or, simply, take a walk in Kensington Gardens, home to Kensington Palace, the Italian Gardens, the Albert Memorial, and the Serpentine Gallery.

 

Day 6: London/USA

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA

Reviews

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Oh where to start. It was so over the top and wonderful and classy and just everything I dreamed it would be and more. The trip of a lifetime for this Downton fan. Thank you so much. I would not hesitate in the least to take another Friendly Planet trip. In fact, I'm keeping my eyes open for an Italy trip for the next 12 months!

Kathryn Deters

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