Downton Funk: groovy locations from the show
Downton Abbey has long left us, but if you’re still harbouring visions of yourself as Lady Grantham (with a naughty dalliance with Lord Gillingham in the staff quarters – oh just me?!), here’s a nifty swifty guide to some of the Downton Abbey locations that you may not already know about. *Meh* to Highclere Castle, and hellooooo to…
Basildon Park, Berkshire (Grantham House)
I love this gorgeous Georgian mansion near Pangbourne and actually haven’t been for ages, so this is a prod-to-self to go over the next few months before it starts to get superbusy. Basildon Park featured at the centre of the marriage of Lady Rose and Atticus Aldridge but actually the grounds are lovely too – some fantastic roly poly hills from memory!
Inveraray Castle (Duneagle Castle), Argyll
Wowsa. This beautiful Scottish castle has been the setting for many a juicy plot (Lady Rose v her bonkers mother; O’Brien up to new mischief; Anna, er, dancing a reel). In the real world Inveraray Castle is the family home of the Dukes of Argyll located on the shores of Loch Fyne and is open to visitors from April – October. I feel a trip to the Highlands coming on, big style.
Hoxton Hall, Hackney (the Jubilee Dance Hall)
Remember the episode Rose, Mary and Matthew went off to for a night of naughty jazz at the Jubilee Dance Hall in York? Well, that was a porky – actually they hung out in Hoxton Wayyyyy cooler. The 150 year old Hoxton hall is undergoing a major facelift at the mo, but it will reopen in the next few months – worth a gander next time you’re busting some shapes at a grime gig that way.
The Criterion Bar & Restaurant, Piccadilly (unnamed restaurant)
I’ve never eaten at the Criterion Restaurant – have you? Looks fab though. The Criterion first opened in 1873 and by the looks of it retains a sense of luxe and grandeur. This is where Lady Edith and Michael Gregson shared their first kiss *ahhh*. Give dinner a whirl or make like a Muddy stalwart and get tanked up on cocktails in the long bar.
Byfleet Manor (The Dower House), Surrey
No chance of nosing around The Dower House, this is actually a privately owned property. But you can book the house for private events, and occasionally – I imagine for a sum that would make Maggie Smith wince Byfleet Manor can be booked for afternoon tea in the Downton Room for up to 30 people. Pinky fingers extended, I’ll have two sugar lumps please.
Bampton (Downton village), Oxfordshire
Ever been to Bampton? This is probably your best chance to get into the Downton mood, as it’s the location for the Downton itself. St Mary’s church is seen in gazillions of episodes and the village also serves as the location for the Grantham Arms. Now all you need to do is bring new muscled and buff Matthew back from the dead (have you seen him since he left Downton – blimey!), fling on your net veil, and drag him to the church and life will be pretty much perfect.
If that’s not enough for you (!), there are more more more gorgeous venues to take your hoi polloi attitude into. If you’re bored at work or home (that ironing will just have to flippin wait), have a goosy gander at Visit Britain, Travel Channel or GoEuro, all of whom seem as Downton crazy as the rest of us.