With all the down time I’ve had over the holidays I decided to catch up on the shows in my Netflix queue, including my new favorite, Downton Abbey.
The British TV series (which can be seen on PBS in the U.S.) begins just after the Titanic sinks, taking with it the two male heirs of the fictional estate of Downton Abbey, which creates turmoil for the Crawley family and their servants, who hear and see everything.
The estate featured in Downton Abbey is actually the Highclere Castle, a 1,000-acre estate in Hampshire, U.K. that has been the country seat of the Earls of Carnarvon since 1679. The castle was designed in 1842 by Sir Charles Barry, the architect responsible for the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.
Highclere’s history also includes a fascinating connection with ancient Egypt, as the 5th Earl discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 and the castle now houses an exhibition that commemorates the discovery and includes some rare antiquities from the Earl’s Egyptian excavations.
The Egyptian Exhibit and the surrounding Grounds and Gardens are open to the public from April to September. Adult admission for the full tour of the grounds is £16.00. You can find more details about visiting the castle at https://www.highclerecastle.co.uk/.
UPDATE: To clarify, the castle is open from April 2nd- 15th over Easter, then is closed until July 1st when they are open Sundays through Thursdays until September 13.
The second season of Downton Abbey premieres on PBS on Jan. 8, 2012.