Fans of the PBS Masterpiece show ‘Downton Abbey’ will be excited to learn that they can now visit the actual castle used in the show’s production, as part of an add on package to several European river cruises.
Viking River Cruises, a major Downton sponsor, is now offering the three day Oxford & Highclere Castle land extension that gives travelers the rare chance to explore Highclere Castle, the setting for Downton Abbey, and other well-known British landmarks.
Offered as a post-extension on the Cities of Light or Paris & the Heart of Normandy itineraries, the Oxford & Highclere Castle package consists of a three-night stay in the rolling hills of England’s countryside. Guests will enjoy an exclusive insider’s look at Highclere Castle, including a special champagne welcome for Viking guests, and a tour co-created with the owners of the magnificent property, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon.
The extension trip consists of the following:
- Day One – You depart your cruise in Paris, and board high speed Eurostar rail to London and a visit to Oxford. You’ll visit Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and “Big Ben,” before spending the rest of the day exploring on your own.
- Day Two – Walking tour of the colleges of the University of Oxford, then an afternoon visit to Blenheim Palace. There you’ll tour the State Rooms, the parklands, lakes and follies. Then a drive to the English Cotswolds for typical stone villages, elegant market towns and cottages.
- Day Three – Ride through Hampshire to Highclere Castle, the setting for ‘Downton Abbey’. You’ll be welcomed with champagne, then given a tour of the castle’s public rooms, including the main hall, dining room, library and sitting rooms. You’ll have free time to enjoy the parklands. After returning to Oxford, the rest of your day is free to explore. You’ll check out the following morning for your return home.
The add on extension is only offered as a package with the other river tours and will cost you $1399. The Cities of Light cruise is 4 countries over 12 days, and will begin in Paris, taking you to various ports in France, Luxembourg, Germany and Czechoslovakia. The Paris & the Heart of Normandy cruise is eight days, is exclusive to France and allows you to visit Paris, Giverny, Vernon, Rouen, the beaches of Normandy, Les Andelys & Conflans.
Downton Abbey is a period drama which appears on PBS as part of it’s ‘Masterpiece’ series. It is set in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey, and depicts the lives of the aristrocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era. It has won numerous awards, and set a record for the most primetime Emmy nominations in history, with 27. It returns for it’s third season on January 6.
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