Downton Abbey castle opens its doors for summer tours

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Downton Abbey castle opens its doors for summer toursPA


If you're feeling a post-Diamond Jubilee lull, don't panic: you can celebrate all things regal with a tour of the wonderful castle where hit show Downton Abbey is filmed.

Yep, anyone suffering from withdrawal symptoms for the programme can visit the stunning Highclere Castle, where all the action is based.

Designed by architect Sir Charles Barry, Highclere Castle is home to aristocrats Lady Fiona and Lord Geordie Carnarvon, whose family have been there since 1679, according to msnbc.com.

You can take a peek at the library, music room, drawing room, smoking room, bedrooms, and the saloon, all of which are filled with wonderful art and antiquities.

The fifth earl of Carnarvon helped to discover Tutankhamun's tombs, and spent 16 years working in Egypt. Today, there is an Egyptian Exhibition Room in the castle's basement.

The enormous portrait of a man on a horse that you often see behind Hugh Bonneville's head int he dining room on Downton Abbey is a 1635 portrait of King Charles I by Anthony van Dyck.

Lady Carnarvon told the LA Times: "That painting is particularly fine, but there are three Van Dycks in the dining room.

"There are 15th century Italian embroideries in the Music Room, and 18th century silk bed hangings, and 400 years worth of European and English paintings and furniture throughout the castle. Not to mention those 5,000-year-old antiquities from Egypt."

Even Lady Carnarvon herself doesn't know exactly how many rooms the castle holds, adding: "There are probably 200 or 300 rooms, and 50 to 80 bedrooms.

"Today we tend to use 14 or 15 bedrooms, and some of the other rooms are used for archives and storage. It's just on a different scale. We don't need a Robing Room anymore, but there's nothing wrong with it. We've just left it as is. Some rooms are interesting as relics of the past."

The tour runs from Sunday to Thursday from 1 July, and tickets cost £9 for children and £16 for adults.

Fancy being king or queen of your own castle? Discover these top 10 castles available for holiday hire across Britain:

Ten of the best: Private castles to rent in the UK

Ten of the best: Private castles to rent in the UK



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