The Downton effect

By | Category: Travel destinations

 Bampton community archive building Downton Abbey has been a goldmine for ITV and probably its creator and actors. It has also bolstered visitors to Highclere Castle which is best known as being the face of Downton Abbey and is where the exterior shots of the mansion are filmed.

But there are other locations and one of them is using its fame to raise money to repair the building.

The village of Bampton in Oxfordshire may not be as famous as Highclere Castle but it doubles as the fictional town of Downton. The old grammar school which features in the series as the Downton Cottage Hospital is  need of some refurbishment and the village is hoping that visitors coming this year will contribute to the £250,000 needed for the work to be undertaken. In real life the building houses the Bampton Community Archive and the repairs will allow the archive to continue to be kept there.

So far about £30,000 has been raise but the international appeal of Downton Abbey has meant that there are donor pages on their website for American, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand viewers.

But it isn’t the only building in the village that has a Downton link. Churchgate House is used as the exterior for Isobel Crawley’s house and Church View has a dual role. Not only is it the The Grantham Arms – one of the local pubs, its also doubles as the other local as well, the Dog and Duck. Whilst not “playing” either of the pubs, it has been the site for the Downton fair. The local church, St Mary’s also gets in on the act by being renamed St Michaels’and All Angels, the parish church which has been the location for numerous weddings, funerals and christenings.

Just as Highclere has benefitted from additional visitors allowing repairs to be started there so the hope is visitors will come to the rescue of the commun ity archive.

Is it any wonder with all this fame that the locals should be quietly confident that the money will be raised? Already some 11,000 coach passengers are booked to visit the village  (that was a February figure so it is probably higher now) and that doesn’t include all those day visitors who will drive or coaches that will pass through, realise which village they were in and stay for an hour or two.

For more about Bampton, click here.



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