The awe-inspiring Highclere Castle, set of the fictitious Golden Globe-nominated Downton Abbey television drama, is now open to the public so that fans of the show can stroll through the hallways and dining rooms and picture themselves as part of the early 20th century storylines.

Downton Abbey Cast
Highclere Visitors Can Pretend They're Part Of The Downton Cast.

Highclere Castle sits at the centre of a 1,000-acre estate about 70 miles west of London in the English county of Berkshire. The castle, with its striking square design, has been in the Earl of Carnavon's family for centuries. PBS' Downton Abbey has been filmed at the castle since 2010 and the decision to open up parts of the castle to the public will provide a welcome income and relieve the pressure of the costs required to keep such a large residence open, maintained and heated.

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Well-informed staff positioned in each of Highclere's many rooms are on hand to happily answer any questions visitors might have, under the one condition: they're not allowed to leak any juicy Downton Abbey plot details for fear of being fired. Staff are also used by the DA team for help with moving the antique furniture and priceless artefacts that help embellish the drama.

"When anything needs to be done in the house [during the filming], we do it," explains a member of staff who is positioned in the room where the Kemal Pamuk confession took place, via the NY Times. "If a piece of furniture needs to be moved, they tell us. If they need a window opened, they tell us. A lot of things here are old and have to be handled a certain way. We know how to crank open a window. Someone who didn't know that might just grab it and then we'd have a broken window."

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Fans of the show will recognise just about every room on the castle's tour from the hit series, due to return for a fourth season. Guests can also stroll through the Earl and Countess of Carnavon's lawns and gardens, with beautiful flower displays that have never been part of the show's set.

If the Downton lure wasn't enough to convince you to visit the Highclere estate, the castle now plays host to an exclusive Egyptian exhibition. 91 years ago, the 5th Earl of Carnavon discovered Tutankhamen's tomb with Howard Carter and now the 8th Earl and Countess have opened an exhibition to celebrate the 5th Earl's findings.

For the full Highclere experience, including access to the castle, exhibition and gardens, guests pay £18.00 for an adult and £10.50 for a child, with concessionary rates available. Further information can be found on the castle's website.