Downton Abbey fans still missing the series will have another chance to visit Highclere Castle, the site of the hit television show, with the release of new spring and summer dates for luxury barge company Magna Carta's seven-day Downton Abbey Classic Cruise.
Beginning with English Cream Tea at the legendary Stafford Hotel in London, the cruise includes stops at many of England’s finest historical treasures: the former Tudor Palace of the notorious Henry VIII; Windsor Castle, the Official Residence of Her Majesty The Queen; Christ Church in Oxford; and more.
The journey begins with a tour of Hampton Court Palace, Henry VIII’s former palace and home to the finest Tudor ceiling in existence, the world’s oldest growing grape vine and the famous Hampton Court maze. Guests will then sail along the River Thames through Runnymede, site where King John put his seal on the Magna Carta, the document which was the very first Bill of Rights and from which the vessel takes its name. The trip also features a private tour of Dorney Court, a home dating back 13 generations and the site of films such as Poirot and The Other Boleyn Girl, and there is time for relaxation with a spa treatment at the four-star Runnymede on Thames hotel, a fully-refurbished Georgian property.
Julian Fellowes, writer of the television show Downton Abbey, drew his inspiration from Highclere Castle and the Carnarvon family which has lived there for centuries. Set on 1,000 acres of sprawling parkland, the classic Victorian castle is the main filming location for the show, and it was in fact converted into a hospital during World War I as depicted during the series. Guests will receive a tour of the castle and learn firsthand about its role in English history.
Additional cruise highlights include a boatyard tour by legendary boat builders and restorers Peter Freebody & Co., as well as free time to explore an ancient 11th century village, home to Ye Olde Belle, which is reputed to be the oldest inn in the country. Guests will enjoy cruising through the bucolic countryside to the final mooring situated along the famous Henley Regatta Rowing Course. The trip concludes with a drive to Oxford and a tour of Christ Church, Oxford’s grandest college and the site of where Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland.
For more information contact Dominic Read at [email protected]