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Real Downton Abbey owners’ new partnership embracing creative projects like ‘Friends at Highclere’

Lady Fiona Carnarvon
 

The iconic Highclere Castle that sits on the Hampshire/Berkshire border is instantly recognisable as the set of Downton Abbey. The much loved television series was filmed on the estate between 2010 and 2015.

Viewers are currently falling in love with Highclere Castle all over again as they descend on cinemas for the latest film, Downton Abbey: A New Era. But to the owners of the estate, the location is far more than just a film set.

Highclere Castle is the home of Lord and Lady Carnarvon and has been the ancestral home of the Carnarvon family for over 300 years. As well as their family setting, the castle has been used to host special events and been opened up to visitors keen to see the real Downton Abbey.

However, to market and manage such a large estate take time, commitment and money. Hence the Carnarvons have announced a new partnership with Strutt & Parker to act as as managing agents for the internationally significant estate.

The partnership will see the estate “embrace new technology and entrepreneurial thinking”, but al the same time protect the heritage that surrounds the castle. This will build on the projects that have already taken place at the estate.

The team at Highclere welcomes thousands of visitors a year, with tours, receptions, concerts and themed fairs held annually. Highclere also has its own award-winning gin brand and Lady Carnarvon regularly shares insights into life as custodians of the castle through her podcasts, seminars and books.

Moving forward, Lord and Lady Carnarvon have said: “Downton Abbey has made Highclere Castle a much-loved family home for which we are both incredibly grateful. Highclere is not just a building – it is about a community and one that is keen to reach out to, share with and welcome many visitors from around the world.

“With exciting plans such as the launch of ‘Friends at Highclere’, we value expert advice and discussion in progressing these diverse projects and plans.”

‘Friends at Highclere’ gives exclusive virtual tours of the Castle showing rooms, treasures and landscapes not usually seen by visitors. In a mark of how the estate is embracing new technology, the friends-only section of the Friends of Highclere site allows subscribers to embark on virtual reality tours and join Lady Carnarvon live each Friday with news and stories from the Castle.

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