For more information about The Real Downton Abbey, Summer School topic at University of Southampton Summer School, University of Southampton, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award
Summer School

How long you will study
4 weeks

Domestic course fees
GBP 3850 per total

How you will study
find out

Course starts

International course fees
GBP 3850 per total

All study options

About The Real Downton Abbey, Summer School topic at University of Southampton Summer School, University of Southampton

Life in the English Country House has long been a subject of fascination. The huge houses of the upper classes of English society, complete with gardens, lands and lots of servants, represent a way of life that few of us will ever experience. Recent television programmes, such as Downton Abbey, present a happy and content view of the country house complete with cheery domestics, friendly aristocrats, fabulous parties and the facing of personal and national tragedy with quiet acceptance. But was country house life really like that? Over the course of this module we will focus on a number of different aspects of life in the English Country House between 1870 and 1960. During this period the English Country House changed almost beyond recognition – large country estates became impractical, unmanageable and, as time wore on, far too expensive to maintain. The period was full of events which forced the English aristocracy to change, including two World Wars. Focusing on a series of country houses, we will examine in detail what living in them was really like and consider the impact of wider events on their residents, both above and below stairs. We will use a variety of source material contrasting real and fictionalised accounts of life in the English Country House, including Downton Abbey, Upstairs, Downstairs and P. G. Wodehouse's Blandings. We will also look at presentations of English Country Houses from the period by organisations such as the National Trust and English Heritage.

Join us for a summer of British culture and explore our world-leading research.

When you join the International Summer School 2018, you will study up to six exciting topics across the four weeks you are with us. Each topic is delivered by an internationally-recognised member of academic staff at the University of Southampton working in partnership with one of our many enthusiastic postgraduate research students. Across three engaging and interactive classroom sessions, they will introduce you to their topic of choice, explaining why it is important to them and offering you an insight into the world-class research environment they work in.

You will find each topic is a friendly and engaging experience: you will normally study in groups with around 15 – 20 fellow students, allowing you to form good working relationships and have the opportunity to contribute and discuss in class.

Each topic includes a guided trip or excursion to an important cultural site which is relevant to the studies you are undertaking, helping you to put the knowledge you have gained into a real-world context.

You will receive supporting materials in advance of the topic so you can feel well-prepared and you will be provided with a pack of information so you can continue to explore the topic and develop your interest afterwards.


At the end of the course, all students will receive a certificate of attendance.  You can choose to complete the assessed exercises for the International Summer School.  If you complete the assessments, you will receive a transcript from the University of Southampton worth 5 ECTS credits.  The assessments will test your engagement and understanding of each topic you choose to study, and confirm that you have engaged with the cultural experience of joining us at Southampton.  Though subject to confirmation, it is likely this include a multiple choice test, completing a reflective log, and taking part in a group presentation. You should speak with your university to confirm that the ECTS credits can count towards your studies at your home university.

Availability and Choice

The topics available on the summer school are indicative of rich and varied curriculum you will engage with at Southampton. Due to timetabling constraints, some topics will not be available in combination with each other. To ensure a positive experience, spaces on each topic will be limited and places allocated on a first-come-first-served basis after receipt of deposit and response to request for information. No commitment can be made that a particular topic will be available; if you have particular concerns about this, please get in touch using the contact information provided.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardSummer SchoolHow you will study find outHow long you will study4 weeks
    Course startsJulyDomestic course feesGBP 3850 per totalInternational course feesGBP 3850 per total

Notes about fees for this course

A deposit of £500 (Pounds Sterling) is required to reserve a place and this payment is non-refundable.

You will be contacted by email with the information about making the finial payment of £3350, including a place in hall accommodation.

The remainder of the costs must be paid up to a month before the Summer School.

Please note you must be 18 years of age or over at the start of the Summer School

Entry requirements

Contact University of Southampton Summer School, University of Southampton to find course entry requirements.

Location of University of Southampton Summer School, University of Southampton

University of Southampton Summer School, University of Southampton main campus is shown on the map below:

Explore University of Southampton Summer School, University of Southampton

Click the following videos and images to expand or play