‘Downton Abbey’ Castle Is Real—and Spectacular

The Lady of the English estate offers the inside scoop on life inside its impressive walls.

by Lesley Kennedy • MORE.com Reporter

Wish you could live on the set of Downton Abbey? Well, first, it ain’t a set; it’s a real honest-to-goodness castle. And second, sorry, someone already lives there.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Highclere Castle, which dates back to 1842 and sits on 1,000 acres near Newbury, England, is home to Lord and Lady Carnarvon.

“The best part has been sharing this romantic castle and home with so many people from around the world,” Lady Carnarvon tells the newspaper. “And Downton has helped revitalize an interest in history.”

Lady Carnarvon has penned a new book, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle, and fills in the Times on some of the estate’s lore: The castle was once a makeshift World War I hospital, a desk and chair in the music room once belonged to Napoleon, Queen Elizabeth often spent the night there, and it’s so huge, Lady Carnarvon can only estimate the number of rooms—“probably 200 or 300,” she tells the newspaper. 

If only those rooms could talk. Sounds like a new PBS reality show in the making: The Real Downton Abbey.

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First Published February 3, 2012

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