(Relaxnews) - Fans of the British TV series "Downton Abbey" are being offered the chance to wander the saloon, state rooms and bedrooms where the show is filmed in a hotel package that includes exclusive access to the grandiose Highclere Castle.
Ellenborough Park, a stately country hotel in the Cotswolds, has launched an overnight travel package that includes an all-day visit to the Victorian castle which serves as the setting for the wildly popular period drama that follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants during the First World War and in the post-war period.
Highclere Castle is normally closed to visitors with the exception of special openings and events.
But between September 30 and October 7, the stately castle will throw open its doors in a private tour for guests of Ellenborough Park in advance of the show’s season premiere. The fourth season is set to air Sunday, September 22 in the UK and on January 5 on PBS in the US.
The tour will also include a visit to the castle’s collection of Egyptian artifacts including relics from tombs discovered by the 5th Earl of Carnarvon. The estate is still privately owned by the Carnarvon family.
The cast and crew of the show spend four months at a time filming at the castle, which actors describe as one of the main characters in the show given its omnipresence in each nearly every scene.
“It’s like walking into Hogwarts or something like that in Harry Potter, it’s on par with that,” said actor Rob James-Collier who plays Thomas.
Adds Hugh Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham: “It’s the center of the whole show around which everybody else revolves.”
But visiting the castle and staying at the neighboring country hotel doesn’t come cheap. A one-night’s stay is priced from £1,350 (US$2,155) and includes dinner, a day trip to the surrounding area, a pub lunch, and use of the hotel’s spa.
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