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Step inside the set of Downton Abbey

The cast of Downton Abbey
The cast of Downton Abbey | © Focus Features LLC. All rights reserved.

Much of Downton Abbey's 2019 movie and original TV series was filmed in National Trust places, including Lacock’s quaint village and grand country homes such as Basildon Park. Here’s how to relive scenes from the screen.

Downton Abbey at Lacock

We care for both the village and neighbouring Lacock Abbey, preserving the historic character of each place, making it the right fit for this period production. Lacock's quaint cottages and historic streets made is the perfect stand-in for the village of Downton in the film.

The crew didn’t have to make many changes in terms of set dressing – there was a lot of union jack bunting and flags draped out of residents’ windows, and the tarmac was dusted to make it look less modern.

A quote by Graham HeardNational Trust General Manager, Lacock
Lacock stars as a film location for Downton Abbey
Lacock stars as a film location for Downton Abbey | © Focus Features LLC. All rights reserved.

Royalty comes to town

Stars such as Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Phyllis Logan and Jim Carter were all on set for the filming, but it wasn’t just the famous faces of the Crawley family and staff who descended on the village.

Set in 1927, the 2019 Downton Abbey film focuses on a visit by the King and Queen to the Downton estate. Lacock's streets set the scene for a spectacular royal parade through the village.

Lacock plays its role beautifully as a part of the village of Downton which somehow we have never seen before. In truth, the scale and colour of the great parade we filmed there was something we could never have achieved on television and, as such, makes a crucial contribution in taking Downton to the big screen.

A quote by Julian Fellowes Writer and Director

The parade scene featured 350 extras including real-life Lacock villagers in period-accurate costumes and 80 soldiers on horseback, plus a royal carriage.

‘There was such a sense of occasion and excitement in the village during filming. It would have been impossible to recreate that atmosphere in a studio,’ says Graham Neame, Producer of Downton Abbey.

Giving back to the community

As well as sharing the beauty of Lacock on screen, Downton Abbey filming has also provided tangible benefits to the village. Location fees were put towards refurbishing the village play area, which is much-loved by the local community and visitors alike.

Behind the scenes video

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Filming Downton Abbey at Lacock

Producer Gareth Neame takes you behind the scenes of bringing Downton to the big screen

Downton Abbey at Basildon Park

Basildon Park became the set of Grantham House, home of the aristocratic Crawley family, in the series created by Julian Fellowes.

The house featured in the season five finale of the popular period drama in November 2014. It also featured in the special London Season episode of Downton Abbey on Christmas Day 2013, which was watched by more than 10 million people.

Inside Grantham House

The period interiors of Basildon Park were used as the Crawley family’s London residence, Grantham House, and in the season five finale the elegant Georgian mansion was at the heart of Lady Rose and Atticus Aldridges' wedding.

During The London Season episode in 2013, the house can be seen as the family prepares for Rose’s coming out ball in the capital. Shirley MacLaine reprised her role as Martha Levinson in the episode and Paul Giamatti joined the cast as Cora’s playboy brother, Harold.

A scene from the film Downton Abbey
A scene from the film Downton Abbey | © Focus Features LLC. All rights reserved.

Supporting special places

As well as showing off beautiful locations, filming directly benefits the places in our care that star in the production. The income from location fees goes straight back into conservation work to care for historic houses and landscapes, so that we’ll all be able to see them both on screen and in real life for years to come.

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