Walk in the footsteps of Downton stars at open day

Downton Abbey star Rob James-Collier with Orlando and Ned Bridgeman during filming for the show last year.
Downton Abbey star Rob James-Collier with Orlando and Ned Bridgeman during filming for the show last year.

Stunning gardens at a historic property which was used to film scenes for the 2015 Downton Abbey Christmas special will open to the public later this month.

Visitors are welcome to have a rare look around the grounds of Fallodon Hall on Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26.

The initiative will be raising money for the National Gardens Scheme on the first day and then The Red Cross on the second.

Fallodon Hall was used as a location for the festive episode of hit ITV show, Downton Abbey.

Filming took place last summer and days of preparation were involved, with stars such as Rob James-Collier and Laura Carmichael coming to the Northumberland venue to shoot scenes.

But it isn’t just Fallodon’s appearance on television which makes it renowned.

The stunning property was the birthplace of former Prime Minister Charles Grey, after whom Earl Grey tea is named, while Edward Grey, who was Foreign Secretary from 1905 to 1916, also lived at Fallodon.

The Bridgeman family bought Fallodon from Edward Grey’s nephew, Cecil Graves, in 1946, and the third and fourth generation are now living there.

Visitors who come during this month’s open weekend are welcome to walk around the gardens to see the herbaceous borders, trees and shrubs, and kitchen garden, and enjoy home-made teas.

They can also buy a selection of cuttings and plants, while children can use the play equipment. Dogs on leads are welcome and there is limited wheelchair access.

People can also have a hunt for history, to see if they can find a fireplace on the outside of the kitchen garden wall which is roughly 300 years old and was used to keep the walls warm to grow fruit trees against in the 18th century.

There is also a drainpipe with the initials CG and the date 1796, and the burial place of Edward Grey – the longest serving Foreign Secretary – whose ashes and those of his wife Dorothy are marked by an engraved stone in the woods by the pond.

The gardens will be open from 2pm to 5pm and entry is £4 adults, children free.

To find Fallodon, follow the A1 five miles north of Alnwick, turn right onto the B6347 and after two miles drive through the gates. It will be signposted.