Do you love watching ‘Downton Abbey’? Well, now you can actually stay there! Highclere Castle – the posh British mansion that doubles as the main filming location for the ITV drama, is opening up it’s rooms for paying guests.
Visitors to Highclere Castle will soon be able to stay in the estate’s Georgian Grade II-listed gatehouse. Bookings are now open for ‘London Lodge’, the historic gateway that forms the grand entrance to Highclere Castle’s extensive grounds in the countryside of Hampshire. London Lodge is estate’s northern entrance, and has paths trailing through the rest of the parkland.
The gatehouse features two separate lodges, which are situated on both sides of the property’s heavy iron gates, each of which can accommodate two guests. The original gateway was built in 1793 by the first Earl of Carnarvon, with the flanking lodges built around 1840. One flank houses a kitchen and sitting room arranged around a wood-burning stove, while the other features a double bedroom, bathroom and dressing area.
While a night at the lodge will set you back £350, don’t expect any butler service as there are no servant quarters. Highclere Castle also offers couples the opportunity to host weddings on the estate’s 5,000 acre grounds. Currently there is a long waiting list to marry there, with each wedding earning the estate £15,000.
Left abandoned for decades, Highclere’s owners, the current Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, have spent over two years renovating the gatehouse. According to the DailyMail, Lady Carnarvon and her husband Geordie were burdened by the rising expenses of maintaining the estate until their friend Julian Fellowes wrote the popular TV series, with Highclere Castle in mind.
Lady Carnarvon added: “Downton has helped our marketing in an extraordinary way and has meant we have been able to tackle various projects earlier than otherwise because of the increased tours and visitors. And I suspect the effects from Downton will still roll out over the next 20 years.”
Although the lodge’s interior showcases a much more contemporary style, compared to what the show’s fans might be used to – It is being billed as the ideal getaway for fans who want to relive first-hand the lavish aristocratic lifestyle illustrated in the popular drama.