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Throughout the decades, numerous locations in Britain have become world-famous after an appearance in a much-loved movie or television series.
Period dramas and 'fantastical fiction' are two genres that have created the most interest. Stunning spots that starred in Harry Potter or Game of Thrones and alluring locales used in productions like Pride & Prejudice have become places of pilgrimage for fans from across the globe.
Few have created more interest than Downton Abbey filming locations, with fans of the show flocking to the two main spots: Highclere Castle (the Abbey itself, where the Granthams lived) and Bampton, Oxfordshire, where the fictional village of Downton was set and filmed.
I was lucky enough to stop by the postcard-perfect hamlet recently.
What to See
While just simply strolling the streets of Bampton could be enough to whisk you away to the fictional Downton, there are three main sites that fans of the show will definitely want to focus in on: the old Grammar School building, Church View and St. Mary's Church.
The old Grammar School served as the village hospital in Downton Abbey. Inside the building, you will find the Bampton Community Archive, which nowadays houses a nice mix of Downton Abbey memorabilia and merchandise. In the show, the hospital was the haunt of Mrs. Crowley and Dr. Clarkson. Located directly next door is Churchgate House, which was used as Mrs. Crowley's home during the show.
Church View is the next must-see in Bampton, as this romantic street lined with stone homes housed two fictional pubs: The Grantham Arms and The Dog and Duck. Church View was also used as a de facto 'strolling street' in the show and the place where Downton held its funfair.
Walking in the character's footsteps here is sure to give any fan of the show goosebumps.
However, the filming location that will leave the biggest impression on you is bound to be St. Mary's Church. This impressive house of worship has a history that dates back to the 12th century and is surrounded by moody gravestones.
In the show, the church was the setting for weddings, funerals and even a shocking plot twist that left a bride jilted at the altar. Visitors are free to walk inside, where you can view pictures of scenes shot in the church and learn more about the history of the structure, (which would be a worthwhile attraction whether or not it made an appearance on film).
[READMORE]READ MORE: 6 More Harry Potter Filming Locations Every Fan Should Visit[/READMORE]
Bampton is located approximately 70 miles (a little over two hours driving) west of London. If you are traveling independently (as I was), it is recommended to visit Bampton with a rental car. If you are without one, Bampton can be easily reached by bus from Oxford.
Group tours are another popular way to visit, with several companies running day trips from London and Bath that visit both the village and Highclere Castle.
The Bampton Coffee House is a great place to rest your feet and have a bite after taking in the charms of the town, as quality coffee and traditional British cafe fare is served with a smile.
Born in the USA but now based in England, Scott has been writing about travel for over 10 years. He specializes in Europe, rail...
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