Do you love Downton Abbey so much you want to live it? Get as close to the dream as possible with a visit to Highclere Castle in England. Writer Julian Fellows based the show’s setting off the real-life Highclere Castle, and much of the exterior and interior filming is shot there. (So maybe you’ll run into a Crawley while you’re there!)
Fans will recognize much of the 1,000 acres of beautiful parkland that make up the Castle grounds. Even if you’re not an avid viewer of the show, the castle’s real-life history (which includes illegitimate children, dowries, and wars), is more interesting than fiction!
When the castle is open to the public, you’ll be able to tour the ornate rooms upstairs and downstairs. When it’s not open, you can still tour the public footpaths and walks near the castle.
Where is it? Hampshire, England. Heathrow airport is less than an hour away (check prices).
Where to Stay? You can’t stay in the castle itself, but you can stay at an even fancier property nearby, the five-star The Vineyard at Stockcross. This former 18th-century country house is now full of wine (around 23,000 bottles) and luxury.
What Else Should I Know? The castle is open for visits from April through September.
Who’s it For? Downton Abbey super-fans, historians, castle-lovers.
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(Photo: Shutterstock/Margaret Smeaton)