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Where to watch and stream Downton Abbey

Find out where to watch and stream BBC's Downton Abbey, if Downton Abbey is on Netflix as well as your guide to the cast and what the period drama is about

Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is a series about an early 20th-century high society family and the staff that work for them in their ancestral home. It follows the soap-opera-like drama that unfolds in the house and how these personal stories are affected by historical events.

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And it proved to be hugely successful during its run too and even produced a movie after the series wrapped.

As the most successful British costume drama series since 1981’s Brideshead Revisited, the series has received critical acclaim and several awards, including a Global Globe and an Emmy. So, how can you watch it?

Where can I watch Downton Abbey?

You can watch Downton Abbey through Amazon Prime now. If you don’t have an account, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial. Alternatively, every episode is currently on BritBox which also currently comes with a free trial before you have to start paying.

You can also buy episodes to watch on iTunes.

Alternatively, the full Downton Abbey DVD box set is available on to purchase online.

What is Downton Abbey about?

Downton Abbey – Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery)
Michelle Dockery in her Downton Abbey
Carnival Films

The show is set in the country estate of the Crawley family, Downton Abbey, and explores the lives of the wealthy family and their servants. Each episode follows plots focusing on the family “upstairs” and the staff “downstairs” as their very different, yet overlapping, lives unfold.

Through the series, the show also covers events of the time such as the effect of World War I and its aftermath on both levels of society. Other key historical events of the era are also covered, including the sinking of the Titanic, the Spanish flu and the Irish War of Independence.

The gripping ITV series explores the class and gender differences of the time, and how the passions and problems that all humans share play out in the period landscape of Yorkshire, in the early 20th century.

Who’s in the cast of Downton Abbey?

Lily James as Lady Rose on Downton Abbey (ITV, HF)

The Crawley family include Robert, played by Hugh Bonneville of Paddington and Cora Crawley, who is played by The Handmaid’s Tale’s Elizabeth McGovern. Their daughters Mary, Edith and Sybil are played by Anna Karenina’s Michelle Dockery, Marcella’s Laura Carmichael and Jessica Brown Findlay, who starred in the biopic film England is Mine. Last but not least, beloved British actress Dame Maggie Smith plays Robert’s mother Violet, delivering the best, most cutting lines and steely looks of the show.

The “downstairs” staff include butler Mr Carson who is played by Jim Carter of Shakespeare in Love, The Golden Compass, and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. His counterpart and housekeeper Mrs Hughes is played by Phyllis Logan while lovable Daisy, assistant to cook Mrs Patmore, is played by Sophie McShera (Waterloo Road, Cinderella) and Mrs Patmore by Lesley Nicol.

Amongst the characters who visit the Crawleys is Lady Rosa Aldridge, played by the now-star of the silver screen, Lily James. She’s known for starring as a young Donna in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, taking the lead in the live-action remake of Cinderella (alongside Daisy actor Sophie McShera) and for Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis’ Yesterday.

Who wrote Downton Abbey?

The show was created by acclaimed writer Julian Fellowes who is known for working on successful shows and film scripts adapted from classic novels or staged in period settings.

Having won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay with Godsford Park in 2001, the writer has penned a number of series, mini series and films including Vanity Fair, The Young Victoria and Belgravia on ITV.

How many seasons of Downton Abbey are there?

In total, there are six seasons of Downton Abbey, as well as a spin-off movie which follows the events of the series.

When is Downton Abbey set?

hugh bonneville downton

Downton Abbey spans from 1912 (pre-World War I) to 1926 and features the fashion of the time including bow ties and flapper dresses.

Over the years of the different series span, we see the clothing and hairstyles adapting with the changes of the times as fashions, particularly for the women, become more daring.

Where was Downton Abbey filmed?

The exterior shots of Downton Abbey were of Highclere Castle in Hampshire, which has become a favourite tourist spot for fans of the show.

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Most of the interior scenes, particularly those shot downstairs in the servants’ quarters, were built especially for the show in Ealing Studios in London. The village of Bampton, Oxfordshire, also features in the show and is where the real-life versions of the church of St Michael and All Angels, Downton Cottage Hospital, and Isobel Crawley’s house can be found.

Is there a film of Downton Abbey?

The much-anticipated Downton Abbey film was released in September 2019. It explores how a visit of the King and Queen to the house creates drama for both the Crawleys and their servants.

Fans were excited by the release of the film as it is set in 1927-1929, the year after the conclusion of the TV series, and many were keen to see what had become of their favourite characters since.

The film adaptation featured the same cast as the TV series, with the addition of new faces appearing as the royal guests and staff. The Royal Butler is played by David Haig of Casualty and Hollyoaks, Queen Mary by Alice in Wonderland’s Geraldine James and King George V by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s Simon Jones, while Lucy Smith is played by Tuppence Middleton and Imelda Staunton joins as Lady Bagshaw.

You can buy the full Downton Abbey box set on Amazon now. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.