Tuesday, 30 April 2013

England Part Two

While Paige and I was on our "Downton Abbey' Tour,  Dh, Meaghan and Hannah had some adventures of their own...
First stop......

Julia Roberts

Emma Watson

Nicole Kidman

And because Paige wasn't with them....
They had to promise to take a photo One Direction for her!!!
Apparently there was a long line of teens waiting to see!

Even Shrek made the waxworks!


Robin Williams!


Princess Diana

The Beetles


Christina Aguilera

Then off to the
M&M Store
which was 4 storeys of M&M products.
The three were overwhelmed the moment they stepped in the door!
It was a mega-hit of in-coming stimulus!

Touring off some more...
to the
Tower Bridge
With another day gone, we then set off to where Meaghan lives near the middle of England...
 but to the east.  Its two streets over from the sea.
Outside her home... its three storeys high... she's just locking up...

On the double decker bus... up top

Arriving at the over-night ferry that the five of us travelled on to Brugge in Belgium on our way to Paris.
I worked so hard to find a solution to meet up with Jenneke in the Netherlands, but it just didn't work out -it was so disappointing to us both..... but we will make sure on our next trip!

In our cabin for five!

Dinner and Breakfast was all we could eat!  It was delicious and they looked after Hannah's gluten/dairy free diet very well too.

Finally we arrived at Brugge, Belgium

And our next part of the journey begins...
Will update about that soon!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

LONDON - Downton Abbey Locations Tour

Paige and I were so lucky to manage seats on the Downton Abbey Locations Tour...
This however, does not include the castle - Downtons (Highclere Castle -real name) as it was closed.
It only opens certain times of the year - which is booked out for quite some time.
It didn't matter to us, as we had such a wonderful time touring the English countryside from location to location and was also so lucky to strike a magnificent sunny day!
We learnt so much!
Firstly - much of what is filmed (interiors) is in a studio in London except most of Highclere Castle and the Dowager's House (Maggie Smith - Cousin Violet)
Much of the exteriors are at Highclere Castle and a little village called 'Bampton'

I've added in some series photos to show the scenes...
We set off at Gloucester Station...just outside a little flower shop!
Here's Paige listening to our guide 'Richard'.
There were only 3 aussie's (out of 12- they only take small groups at a time) and the rest were Americans - they LOVE Downton Abbey!
First stop - BAMPTON
So pretty and quaint, I can see why they picked this villiage
It's really quite a small area which is filmed...
the Library(used as the hospital - exterior only), the tiny grounds outside (the fair scene)
Crawley's house (used only the exteriors) and the church for the weddings/christenings. Its interiors were used as well.
Here we went inside the library and bought a book about the filming which is quite interesting.

This lovely local lady was just leaving the library, she told us she was used as an 'extra' at times as many of the local are.... like street scenes, the fair scene etc.  The town loved the attention, and remain tight lipped on spoiling the upcoming episodes.  They have been sworn to secrecy and don't want to loose what they have with the series.  The film staff do everything possible to keep the towns people happy and have a wonderful relationship with them.


The 'hospital' gate

Daisy, Thomas with extras


Thomas and Daisy

Mr Bates

The laneway at the side of the 'hospital'
(note the red dog-poo bin on the lefthand side for later)


Here is a residence, turned into the 'Post Office', and the red dog-poo bin is covered by a 'post box'.  Bushes are fake ones to cover modern day wiring and plumbing.

Here you can see that the side of the 'hospital is covered with old fashion doors to cover modern wiring/plumbing too.  The series employed the local electrician to 're-wire' old fashion electrical cables etc.  Everything has to be authentic.  They have admitted once overlooking this and an aerial can be seen in once shot in an episode.  The staff were horrified!

 This is the scene of the 'Fair'
It isn't very big, it was make seem big by clever camera men.  It's just in front of the 'hospital'  and 'Crawley House'  The housing in the background contains 'Moseley's father's house - Arthur'
 Crawley House  (right next to the 'Hospital')
Only the exterior was used in the filming.  It is a private residence.
Saying goodbye


The driveway.... and the 'swine' car as its called.
Apparently... it has no brakes!  Or they work intermittently.
The amount of times it nearly ran into the garage is numerous.  And once 'Lady Edith' had to drive it weeell, she nearly killed staff and to top it off, she also doesn't have a licence!

And the church is right next door to the 'Crawley House'!

You can just see the front of the 'Crawley' home, then the church and the tiny grounds out the front  where the 'fair' was staged.  A lot of the local children were used in the shooting of that scene.
And they were allowed to use the rides etc as much as they liked.

Edith's almost wedding...  Cora - rugged up! ... Oh and the 'swine' car!
Little 'Sybil's' Baptism
Sybil's funeral
Mary and Matthew's wedding
We were then back on the bus and only passed by the 'Swan Inn' (exterior only, used for Bate's work as a bar man (interior shot in film studio in London, and  Sybil and Tom's almost wedding night'.  It wasn't an Inn at all!
It was a private house, but it had a ford and stream so the scene was perfect.
The Downton Staff knocked on the door and asked the lady owner if she'd like to earn 500pounds a day though they needed to build a false front onto her building and remove it when they had finished and she was very quick to say - 'Yes!'  and 'Take your time!'
(don't mind the bus drivers ear!!)

 The change.. plus sign
The Picnic Scene!
Remember when it was seemed that Downton Abbey was lost and the family had to 'downsize'.  Oh and downsize to 'only' eight servants too.
THis is the place... it was only the exteriors used even though we could go inside and look through.. (strictly no photos inside)
Apparently the paparazzi was so bad they were camping out in the trees in the background hiding with cameras. They saw flowers taken inside which were a goodbye gift to Sybil leaving and because it was top secret, they had to say that it was her birthday instead.

Maggie Smith's house both exteriors and interiors were used.

The drawing room... you will see the matelpiece often in the episodes.


Paige looking at the autographed posters... we got two!

On the left is Julia....the owner of the house.  She was delightful and served us tea and cake


Found this funny moment - arent her 'quips' just the best!

Dining room... not used in the series

Remember the 'staircase' where Cousin Violet stood on the landing and over heard Edith's discussion!

The back side of the house.. also not used.  We sat our here in the sun, it was lovely

One of the three cats who live here...  one of them managed to get itself in an epidsode in series one by accident!

 Paige chatting to another 'fan'  with Julia on the right hand side


 Another shy little cat

Pic of the outside back

This little cat is definitely not shy, and the mother of the other two

Can you see the deer?  Deer roam freely on the land.  

This is me....waving goodbye
waving to page at the gates
What a treat!


*EDITED IN*  6th March 2016
Post found HERE

I'm a great fan of Downton Abbey... AND in 2013 Paige and I was lucky enough to go on a 'Locations Tour' when we were in England...

A lovely person by the name of Jo Toader emailed to let me know of a new Downton Abbey resource has been created:

The Ultimate Map of Downton Abbey Locations: http://www.wayfair.co.uk/aresidence/2015/12/04/downton-abbey-filming-locations/
I've added Jo's words below just in case there is anyone else who might want to share this too!
And I'll edit my old post linked above and add this in too.
Our map marks over 71 Downton Abbey filming locations, with pictures, information about where they are, what scenes they feature in and how you can visit them. Our hope is that fans of the show from all over the world can fulfil their Downton dreams and see the locations for themselves.

I thought this might be of interest to you and your readers, especially as the show is sadly coming to an end on Australian TV screens soon. You’re welcome to include the map in a post of your own and get creative with it (or just add it to your existing article so your readers can follow in your footsteps easily); you could perhaps write about your favourite of the Downton Abbey locations or put together a list of the spots you’d like to visit next time you’re here, for example. The map is free and easy to embed directly from Google Maps with the following code, so long as you accredit it to

< iframe src="
https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=zth2XN15qXCY.kagBA1BhhFKc" width="640" height="480">

I hope this is of interest to you and if you do feature the map be sure to let me know (or tweet @WayfairUK)—we’ll be sharing related content and would be delighted to hear from you.

This is really exciting!
 On my side bar to the right, you'll see the interactive map there already to play with!
So clever!!!

And I'm REALLY sad Downton Abbey has come to an end.

 71 gorgeous locations across the UK used in #DowntonAbbey that prove how amazing this show is ♥