Alnwick Castle stars as the magnificent Brancaster Castle in both the 2014 Downton Abbey Christmas special and the 2015 Christmas special, which was also the very last episode of this world-famous series.
The cast and crew of Downton spent two busy weeks at the castle in July and August 2014, filming extensively in the spectacular State Rooms, as well as in the castle's grounds and at the semi-ruined Hulne Abbey in the Duke of Northumberland's parklands in Alnwick. In July 2015, they returned for another week of filming in the State Rooms, the ramparts, and in the nearby Bow Alley and St Michael's Church Hall.
The two hour Christmas episode rejoins the Crawley family in the early autumn of 1924. It's grouse shooting season and Rose’s father-in-law, Lord Sinderby, has rented out Brancaster Castle in Northumberland and invited the family to a shooting party. While good sport is enjoyed, Stowell (Lord Sinderby's butler, played by Alun Armstrong) has an axe to grind and a scandalous secret threatens to undermine the holiday. Surprises are in store as the families become better acquainted with each other and some new faces arrive on the scene.
The two hour finale episode, broadcast in the UK on Christmas Day 2015, concludes the epic story of Downton Abbey, and features Brancaster under the ownership of the new Lord Hexham, otherwise known as Lady Edith's fiance Bertie Pelham. Lord and Lady Grantham join Edith at Brancaster, where the future of her relationship with Bertie will be decided once and for all, meeting the formidable Mrs Pelham (played by Patricia Hodge) in the process.
Visitors to Alnwick Castle in 2016 can explore a Downton Abbey exhibition, featuring photography, costumes, and props from the filming of both episodes. Group visitors can also enjoy a groups-exclusive Downton Abbey Tour of the State Rooms; please call 01665 511 184 to register interest or make a booking.