Part 2…The village of Bampton, where many scenes from Downton Abbey are filmed…Tomorrow…Part 3, Oxford…

This is St. Mary’s church in Bampton, known as Church of St. Michael of All Angels, as shown on the series, Downton Abbey, where Mary married Matthew, Edith was jilted at the alter and eventually Matthew was buried.
The front entrance to the church in Bampton where many scenes for Downton Abbey have been filmed.

After posting yesterday, we were anxious to post the remaining photos of the tour to Bampton, the village of the series Downton Abbey where many church and outdoor scenes are filmed.

Cemetery at the “real” church in Bampton, St. Mary’s.

Having completed the Highclere Castle portion of the tour in Thursday’s post, today we review the visit to the charming village of Bampton with its own story to tell.

The sequence of our 13 hour day was as follows with considerable driving in between:
10:45 -12:45 Village of Oxford
2:30 – 4:30   Highclere Castle, home of Downton Abbey TV series
5:30 – 6:30  The village of Bampton, of the Downton Abbey TV series

Tom, at the side entrance to the church,

Due to several traffic delays, the events of the tour changed when Highclere Castle was to be our last stop. As a result, when we finally arrived in Bampton, many of the sites we were scheduled to see were closed for the day.

The alter inside the church where Mary and Matthew were married.

Leave it to tour guide Paul (pronounced “pool”) he called the vicar of the church and the shop owner to ensure we’d gain access to both. They both happily obliged. Of course, all 60 of us were thrilled (as much as one can be thrilled in a group of 60).

There was a carved bird of prey on the podium in the church.

Paul and Martin, our drivers, both stated several times that such delays were unusual. With diligent planning they made every effort, successfully, to get us to each venue for the time specified in the tour itinerary, although overall the day was longer than planned.

A stained glass window in the church.

We were baffled by the number of detours, roadblocks, and accidents, resulting in hours of sitting on the bus in traffic, especially surprising in the countryside.

This is the Crawley house on the series where Matthew and Isobel (Matthew’s mother) lived here after the announcement that as to the real heir to the Earl of Grantham’s estate after the death of Patrick Crowley on the Titanic.

With the amount of traffic we noticed in London, we both thought these delays may not have been unusual after all. There’s an ordinance in London called the Congestion Free for a vehicle entering certain boundaries of the city of London during weekdays of 11.60 pounds per day, (US $19.24).

The actual library in Bampton is used as a hospital in the series which now houses a gift shop. The owner was notified we were in town and she rushed to open the shop for us.

A sophisticated digital system is in place that ensures no vehicle avoids paying these daily, weekday only, fees, or serious penalties are imposed. The traffic coupled with the Congestion Free is enough motivation for Londoners to avoid purchasing a car and use the comprehensive public transportation.

A sign outside the shop, which appears as a hospital on the series.

Paul explained that he’s never driven a car in his life which apparently is not unusual in London. People walk a lot here in London. We’ve heard on the local news that rising prices for public transportation are creating upheaval and a public discord.

Several houses in Bampton have these thatched roofs some of which have been shown on
the series.

Originally, when we booked the upcoming cruise for Harwich, UK, leaving next Sunday, we’d hope to spend time in the UK, perhaps renting a house in the country for a few months. After weeks of frustration, we gave up the search when prices for even a modest country home were far beyond our budgetary guidelines. The 15 days stay in a hotel was the only alternative.

The photo on display at the gift shop of Edith’s wedding which never took place.

After all, was said and done, we had a great day having learned more about this country, its people, its history, and its modern day lifestyle, in many ways not unlike the lives of citizens from all over the world.

Mr. Charles Carson, head butler at Downton Abbey, and Dr. Richard Clarkson, the family physician in this photo at the gift shop.

Last night, we dined in another French bistro to disappointing meals for both of us. Spending over US $72, 43 pounds (without beverages!) for a mushy burger and a bowl of soup for Tom and, a small chicken breast, a few greasy green beans, and a side salad for me, we were sorely disappointed.

Photo of Mary at her wedding to Matthew, again on display in the gift shop.

Tightening our belts after three weeks of dining out, we’ve lost interest in dining out and will hit the more affordable spots where we won’t spend over US $60, 36 pounds, for dinner without drinks. 

Dame Maggie Smith plays Lord Grantham’s mother, Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley.

Tom purchased a liter bottle of cognac for US $30, 18 pounds, and will have a drink in our room if he wants one as opposed to spending US $17, 10 pounds for a single cocktail in a restaurant.

Today, we’re off to find a self-service laundry which we’ll visit again a week from today, boarding the ship with clean clothes.  The hotel’s cost of laundering one pair of jeans is more than we’ll spend on two full loads at the self serve.

Photo in the gift shop of camera crew actress from series.  We couldn’t tell who it was.

Monday is our next full day of sightseeing when we’ll see the highlights of London including the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and a boat ride of the Thames River. (At this point, we have little interest in the interior of yet another palace).

For now, we’re experiencing a little of life in London, barring many of the comforts of our usual homes of the past. We’ve decided living in a hotel in no way meets our criteria of living life in the world with simplicity and ease. However, we’ll never regret visiting Paris and London.

                                                Photo from one year ago today, August 22, 2013: 

No photos or story was posted on this date when the Internet was totally down in Boveglio, Italy. At this point, we’d begun assessing and sorting our belonging to lighten the upcoming long flight to Kenya in only nine days.