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Dreaming of Downton Abbey: What a summer vacation!

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If you're a big fan of Downton Abbey you've probably thought of traveling to England and visiting Highclere Castle to see all the glamour for yourself. But if you go, beware—they say that only the outside of Downton Abbey is recognizable to fans of the TV show!

Highclere Castle stands in for Downton Abbey and is the actual home of the real life 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. As you might expect, a lot of scenes are shot in a studio, but not for a lack of hospitality. The Lady Carnarvon told the LA Times that she enjoys sharing her historically home with the world—even if it means having a TV crew underfoot. No, the reason scenes need to be filmed elsewhere is because Downton Abbey is a period piece and the real castle has been modernized. A real 21st home, even if it’s a castle, doesn’t need the same kind of servants quarters they did ages ago.

According to the show's website, the 430+ year old castle has an estimated value of 150 million pounds--which is close to $249 million dollars. Wow! The estate is so large it would just barely fit in Forest Park. Lady Carnarvon wasn’t even able to tell a reporter how many rooms are in Highclere!

The estate is just 50 minutes from London’s Heathrow, if you're thinking about visiting this summer. Now that's a summer vacation to remember!

Isram has a cool package to London that is centered around the sites of Downton Abbey.

The trip is five days long—plenty of time to soak up the sights and scenery around London. There’s a bus tour of London where you’ll drive by Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. While in London you can cruise the Thames and watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. And of course you can’t leave London without checking out the Tower of London and the crown jewels.
And that’s just one day.

This tour from Isram also takes you to Stonehenge, which I think would be fascinating. All we have around St. Louis is Woodhenge, and that was rebuilt by some archaeologists at Cahokia.

For Downton Abbey fans, the big highlight of the trip is day four. That’s when you travel to Oxford and then Bampton, the picturesque town used to film Downton Abbey village scenes. Maybe you’re catch site of something familiar here! You will visit the Church, Matthew Crawley’s mother’s house, the hospital and more. Next on the tour is Highclere Castle, aka Downton Abbey. The tour of the Castle’s public rooms includes the magnificent public main hall, the library and sitting rooms in addition to other rooms featured in Downton Abbey.

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