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A Visit to Downton Abbey, Photos & Quotes

A Visit to Downton Abbey, Photos & Quotes
By Vida Cunningham February 24, 2016 3 comments

As the 6th season of the beloved PBS series Downton Abbey comes to an end, I thought it would be fun to share some highlights and quotes from this fantastically popular show, its greatly entertaining characters as well as our own visit to the beautiful location of Downton Abbey – namely, Highclere Castle.

The family of Lord Grantham and staff from Downton Abbey

Lord and Lady Grantham, Dowager Countess of Grantham, Mrs. Isobel Crawley and some of the main staff, characters from the television series "Downton Abbey"

Our Visit to Highclere Castle

We visited the castle after the 3rd season of the Downton Abbey show when they opened the estate to visitors for just a few days. This trip was a side trip from our main destination of Limoges, France where we regularly travel to for importing French Limoges boxes. The day we arrived in London in early June, was very cold with pouring rain! Luckily, when it was time to visit Highclere, the rain stopped. Being so excited to see the location of this popular show, we were pleasantly surprised at how vast the estate was – 5,000 acres! Once you pass through the gates, you have to travel through acres of land before you catch a glimpse of the main building – the now iconic Highclere Castle.

Grounds of Highclere Castle - Downton Abbey

The vast grounds of Highclere Castle include large pastures, farmland, hills and valleys with great scenic views.

As the estate was only made open to the public for about 3 days, the place was absolutely packed with visitors – mostly from the United States! We were not allowed to take any photographs inside but, I can assure you, it looks exactly as they show it in the television production – absolutely beautiful. The one fantastic area was the basement and the great surprise offered there. Just as a way of a background (before we get to the surprise part), the 5 th Earl of Canarvon who spent a great deal of time in Egypt for health reasons, was the benefactor to the archeologist Howard Carter, who worked with the Earl for 16 years. It was this duo who discovered the world-famous Tutankhamun’s tomb. So, as a tribute, Lord Canarvan recreated a replica of the famous tomb with all of its contents in the basement of the Highclere Castle as well as a small Egyptian museum. His personal museum includes many Egyptian original artifacts as well as some replicas. Very impressive!

Howard Carter examining the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922

Howard Carter examining the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922

Sadly, when we visited, none of the cast of the show were there to greet us! Haha – they were long gone about their business.

The cast of Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey has introduced us to many characters whom we have come to admire and know intimately. Although, after watching this show, we can all be so happy to know that we do not have a sister like Mary!!!!

Lady Mary Crawley and Lady Edith Crawley of Downton Abbey

For six seasons, the residents of the Downton Abbey, both the Crawleys upstairs as well as the staff downstairs have entertained us with their activities and many trials. Every character has captivated our attention with anticipation and hope for a good outcome.

Carson, the long-life butler of Downton Abbey and Mrs. Hughes, the housekeeper finally tied the knot in season six.

Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes of Downton Abbey

Ana and Bates, after going through many trials and false accusations, seem to finally be able to have a peaceful life. Bates after spending time in prison for a murder he did not commit and was finally acquitted, Ana being accused of murder of the man who raped her and having child-bearing issues, can now seem to be settling and with child.

Anna and Bates, staff at Downton Abbey

Wedding of Lady Mary Crawly to Matthew Crawley

Lady Mary Crawley who finally married her cousin Matthew after many ups and downs in the relationship, became a widow immediately after giving birth to their first son. After being pursued by several handsome and eligible suitors, she finally gets to marry a different person in season 6!

Lady Mary of Downton Abbey marries for the second time

Downton Abbey showed us many of the latest inventions of the time. We got to share the joy of having electricity in the house, installing a telephone and even a gramophone!

Mr. Carson of Downton Abbey checks the grammaphone

The in-laws and relatives visiting (and staying at) Downton provided more drama and entertainment, especially Mrs. Martha Levinson, Cora's mother (played by Shirley Maclaine) visiting from America.

The Downton Abbey Crawley Family and Relatives

From the Dowager Countess' witty jabs to Anna Bates' tender vows, Downton Abbey's characters have brought us many entertaining moments. Of all the conversations, the character of Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess provides a wealth of zingers and one-lines that certainly bring a laugh. Here is a small portion of her quotes that I have accumulated below:

Favorite Quotes of Dowager Countess Lady Violet Crawley

Dowager Countess Lady Violet and Isobel Crawley with light sabers

The constant battle of wits between Dowager Countess Lady Violet and her cousin by marriage, Mrs. Isobel Crawley, continuously entertain us in every episode of Downton Abbey. Here are some of their best lines and favorite quotes:


Violet: "You are quite wonderful the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal."
Isobel: "I take that as a compliment."
Violet: "I must've said it wrong."

Violet and Isobel enjoying tea at Downton Abbey

Isobel: "How you hate to be wrong."
Violet: "I wouldn't know. I'm not familiar with the sensation."


Violet (trying to use the newly-installed telephone): "Is this an instrument of communication or torture?"

Violet on Telephone at Downton Abbey


Violet [to Cora]: "I'm so looking forward to seeing your mother again. When I'm with her, I'm reminded of the virtues of the English."
Matthew Crawley: "But isn't she American?"
Violet: "Exactly!"

Violet and Martha Levinson at Downton Abbey


Cora: "I think Granny's right"
Violet: "Can somebody write that down?"


Violet: "An unlucky friend is tiresome enough; an unlucky acquaintance is intolerable."
Isobel: "You're all heart."

Violet and Isobel of Downton Abbey

Violet: "One forgets about parenthood. The on-and-on-ness of it."
Isobel: "Were you a very involved mother with Robert and Rosamund?"
Violet: "Does it surprise you?"
Isobel: "A bit. I'd imagined them surrounded by nannies and governesses, being starched and ironed to spend an hour with you after tea."
Violet: "Yes, but it was an hour 'every day' ."
Isobel: "I see, yes. How tiring!"

Dowager Countess and Isobel Crawley of Downton Abbey
Posted in: Travel
Cindy March 10, 2016 at 12:11 AM
Great post. It is so sad to think that we have to say goodbye to Downton Abbey and its characters after six years of great entertainment. At least we can finally know that Lady Edith can be happy! What a relief!
Ellen C. March 10, 2016 at 1:51 PM
It feels like we have lived at Downton Abbey with the Crawleys for the past six seasons and have been intimately involved with the ups and downs of the family upstairs as well as the staff downstairs. I am glad they all ended up well at the end of season 6. The only person that I feel was left unresolved was Tom Branson. After leaping from the servant social level to the gentry and becoming a son to the Crawleys, what future could he expect now? I suppose, this must be left to Julian Fellowes's creativity. However, now that the story has ended, we will never know!
Limoges Collector March 10, 2016 at 1:57 PM
Thanks Ellen. I agree. It seemed to me that at the very end of the episode 6, they left an opening for Tom and the woman Edith hired as editor of her magazine. But, like you say, we may never know!