Season 3 may have ended but the world of Downton Abbey lives on in this vacation! Enter the world of the Crawleys with a journey through the locations & themes of Season 3 (IF you have the kind of $$$ the Crawleys had, that is!). Highlights include the best of London and the stately homes of England’s gentry in Berkshire (including Highclere Castle – the real Downton Abbey), Staffordshire, and Oxfordshire, and an optional excursion to Scotland.
Departures are flexible but needs to be coordinated with Highclere Castle’s opening dates, which are from July 14th to September 12th, 2013, Sunday to Thursday. Places Visited: London, Berkshire (Highclere Castle), Staffordshire, and Oxfordshire. Optional: Scotland. This customizable tour starts from $3,250 per person (note: this does NOT include airfare) based on two people sharing. Optional 2 nights in Scotland starts from $499.00 per person.
The starting price includes 4-star hotels with breakfast, airport transfers, day tours, and the services of a private driver guide for Days 4, 5, 6 and 7 who is an expert historian on World War I, the British Monarchy, and noble society, providing in-depth knowledge of the Downton Abbey period. The private driver guide will drive you to the locations in your own private vehicle, so there is total flexibility on how much time you want to spend at each place. This private tour can be further customized or extended, as well as upgraded to 5-star hotels.
SPECIAL OFFER: Book this tour by April 15, 2013 and afternoon tea at the exclusive Goring Hotel is included at no extra charge (see Day 3 of itinerary).
EARLY BOOKINGS are highly encouraged due to limited availability of visits to Highclere Castle.
• Private guided tour of Highclere Castle, the real Downton Abbey, as well as the filming locations for Downton Village, St. Mary’s Church, and Downton Place;
• Experience the real “upstairs downstairs” workings of a historic mansion at Shugborough Hall;
• Visit to Blenheim Palace, childhood home of Winston Churchill and a filming location for Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes’ 2009 screenplay, The Young Victoria;
• Afternoon tea at London’s Goring Hotel, one of the most prestigious hotels which once served as a WWI command center and recently housed Kate Middleton and her family on the eve of the The Royal Wedding when you book before April 15th;
• Optional two-night excursion to Scotland’s Inveraray Castle, filming location of Duneagle, home to Lady Rose MacClare.
Airport transfer to London hotel. The hotels on this trip are selected because they are representative of the Downton Abbey era and quintessentially English.
The Total London Experience Tour. To get introduced to the city, this wide-ranging and exceptional London tour encompasses the very best of London’s attractions in one day.
OPTIONAL: If you wish to focus on British royal history and aristocratic society, we can also arrange for a private historian guide who can show you London in the context of the Downton Abbey period as well as any specific interests you may have.
A free day to explore the city. Continuing with understanding the theme and times of Downton Abbey, we’ll recommend places to visit, including The Victoria and Albert Museum which features fashion, art, furniture and much more from the era of this fantastic series.
In the afternoon, enjoy English afternoon tea, at The Goring Hotel, one of London’s most exclusive hotels, and be truly pampered. The Goring has a long history of true royal connections. Kate Middleton and her family stayed here the night before her wedding to Prince William. During the World War 1 era of Downton Abbey, The Goring played a part in English history by being the command centre for Chief of Allied Forces, with the war effort being run from The Goring kitchen including a telephone link between General Pershing and President Wilson.
Guided by a private historian driver-guide, visit Shugborough Hall, Staffordshire, to see the real “upstairs, downstairs” of a stately home in action! Upstairs, you’ll see the beautiful house as well as the Brew House, museum and collection of horse drawn carriages. Downstairs, visit the Victorian Kitchen where you are able to meet the head cook and kitchen maid and the working laundry where washdays produce a flurry of activity by the blue and white uniformed laundry maids as piles of linen are washed in the copper, scrubbed in the wooden tubs, rinsed, wrung out and dried, then ironed using flat irons.
Enjoy a day tour to one of the most famous of the quintessentially English stately homes — a place that has also played a significant part in English history. Blenheim Palace is perhaps more famous these days for being the venue of many celebrity weddings but the house has stood since the early 1700’s and was gifted by the Queen and the nation to the Marlborough family for services given during the war at that time. Although many great men have led this prestigious family, the most famous son of all is Sir Winston Churchill who was born and married at the house.
Downton Abbey Country Film Locations Tour. On this day tour with your private expert guide, explore some of the film locations used in the hit TV series Downton Abbey. This includes visits to Downton Village with the lovely church seen in the drama, as well as Downton Place, which would have replaced Downton Abbey if the family had to sell out (during Season 3), and the home of the Dowager Countess.
Become Lord or Lady Grantham for the day as you visit Highclere Castle. This castle in Berkshire (South East England) is the real one that plays the role of Downton Abbey. Aided by your expert guide, relish in the stories, history, and grandeur of this exemplary Victorian castle with its 1,000 acres of beautiful grounds. And it’s still the home of a real Earl and Countess — the Earl and Countess of Carnavon, whose family has lived at Highclere since 1679 (the current castle stands on the grounds of an earlier house).
Downton Abbey author, Julian Fellowes is a longstanding friend of the Carnavon family and had Highclere Castle in mind as he wrote the series. During your tour you will have the chance to see many of the rooms which, for ardent viewers of the series, will be easily recognizable.
Departure day with airport transfer.
* A recommended extension includes a 2 night trip to Scotland to visit Duneagle which featured in Series 3. The real name of this beautiful castle is Inveraray Castle and is the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell. The castle is situated towards the rugged west coast of the country.
***For more information, visit www.zicasso.com (a travel company specializing in luxury tours)