Cliveden House, Buckinghamshire
What While you can’t spend the night at Downton Abbey filming location Highclere Castle, nearby, the equally grand, 17th-century Cliveden House has turned hotel – its bulging guest book counts Meghan Markle (the Duchess spent her pre-wedding night here) as well as Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill.
The secret history The Profumo affair started in Cliveden’s walled gardens in 1961, when the British secretary of state for war stumbled upon teenage showgirl Christine Keeler. Quite the scandal ensued. Fly to London Heathrow
Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire
What The Earl of Bute built this neoclassical pile in 1767, while its interiors were revamped by Charles Mewes and Arthur Davis, AKA architects of The Ritz, in 1903. Its antique chandeliers and Capability Brown-designed gardens enticed the Queen and Prince Philip to spend part of their honeymoon here.
The secret history Recognise your room? Maybe because it featured in the marriage-consummation scene of Four Weddings and a Funeral (when Hugh Grant is forced to hide, cringing, in a cupboard). Fly to London Heathrow
Lyme Park, Cheshire
What Bordering the Peak District, this 1,400-acre estate is home to leafy cycle paths, manicured gardens and a herd of red deer. Stay at the Edwardian East Lodge cottage to get unfettered access to the estate and mansion.
The secret history The hall’s exterior was used as Mr Darcy’s pad, Pemberley, in the BBC’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Fly to Manchester
Downton Abbey is in cinemas from 13 September.