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EUROPEAN WATERWAYS OFFERS EXCURSIONS TO HIGHCLERE CASTLE, SETTING FOR ‘DOWNTON ABBEY’
Industry: Cruise       

(TRAVPR.COM) European Waterways announced that it has sold out all of this year’s cruises on the Magna Carta hotel barge that feature a tour of England’s Highclere Castle, the real-life setting for the popular period drama, “Downton Abbey”.  The company notes a resurgence of interest ahead of the premiere of the movie in September 2019.  The tour takes guests through many of the rooms seen on the show and lets them explore the estate’s expansive 1,000 acre parkland.  It is part of the classic cruise aboard the deluxe 8-passenger vessel, which cruises the River Thames.  European Waterways is now accepting cabin bookings for 2020, starting at $4,750 per person, based on double occupancy.  Space is limited due to the popularity of the cruise.

Guests who want to share their passion for the drama with friends and family can also charter the entire vessel for 2020, starting at $35,000, for up to eight passengers.  Chartered cruises offer the possibility of an exclusive tour of Highclere Castle that includes meeting real members of the household and, possibly, Lady Carnarvon herself, the 8th Countess of Carnarvon and current resident.  An additional supplement applies.

“Highclere Castle looks magnificent on TV, but it’s even more impressive in person, with the splendour of its rooms and the castle’s beautiful parkland bringing the magnificence of the drama to life,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways.  “Magna Carta’s excursion there shows how England’s aristocracy lived, but our guests will also receive the ‘royal treatment’ while on the barge throughout the entire cruise.  They’ll be catered to by an attentive crew, who will spoil them with elegant meals of fine wine and gourmet cuisine every night – thanks to our on-board master chef – making this cruise truly ‘fit for a king.’”

The Royal Treatment
A tour of Highclere Castle is a highlight of the Magna Carta classic cruise, but European Waterways’ guests will also enjoy numerous additional excursions and immersive experiences along England’s historic River Thames that reveal the fascinating history of the British Empire.  Kings, dukes and earls left behind extraordinary legacies that still linger in the opulent royal residences and their sprawling, meticulously manicured grounds. It is a captivating journey back through the country’s colorful history – some of which continues to be made today.

The recent royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, for example, was conducted, among much pomp and circumstance, at Windsor Castle, one of the many excursions on the Magna Carta.  Guests will also visit Hampton Court Palace, a sprawling estateof red-brick buildings and formal gardens alongside the river. The former residence of Henry VIII, it was built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and was home for over 900 years to the Royal Family.  It is also a popular setting for movies, with Pirates of the Caribbean, Vanity Fair, Sherlock Holmes, and Jack the Giant Killer among the many filmed here.

Cliveden Estate, former home to the wealthy American Astor family, is also on the itinerary.  Guests can tour its magnificent formal gardens that include the celebrated Parterre of unique geometric designs and a topiary consisting of whimsical creatures and sculptures.  It was built in 1666 by the second Duke of Buckingham as a hunting lodge to entertain his mistress and friends, but it quickly became the setting for political intrigue.  The Profumo Affair of 1961, one of its most “heinous scandals,” sent shockwaves through the British Parliament, brought down the Secretary of State for War, and ultimately forced the resignation of the country’s prime minister.

Other cruise highlights include the exploration of ancient villages at Henley-on-Thames, with mooring at the famous Henley Regatta Rowing Course.  This is followed by a drive to Oxford for a tour of its oldest college, Christ Church, where Lewis Carroll wrote “Alice in Wonderland.”

“The Magna Carta cruise is truly ‘fit for royalty,’ immersing guests in the magnificent history of England’s royal family and aristocracy,” said Banks.  “Highclere Castle is a highlight for ‘Downton Abbey’ fans, but the entire cruise offers an unforgettable journey into a time of grand estates, palace intrigue and royal pageantry.”

About European Waterways
Hotel Barging is a boutique, unique experience which offers an immersive, all-inclusive “gentle voyage of discovery” that focuses upon the culture, history, fine wine and gourmet cuisine of the region. With a 6 to 20 person capacity and 1:2 crew ratio, European Waterways are able to provide an impeccable level of on board service and can transport their guests on the intimate inland waterways that are inaccessible to larger vessels. This fascinating network of smaller canals allows for flexibility, spontaneity and ample opportunity to hop off and explore the beautiful surroundings via bicycle, or on foot. In addition to this there are daily, chauffeured excursions “off the beaten track” to a wide variety of enthralling locations, from exquisite wine tastings to private tours of stately homes. With over 40 years’ experience and a fleet that spans nine countries it is the largest luxury hotel barging company in Europe. For more information, call 1-877-879-8808 in the U.S. and 1-877-574-3404 in Canada, or visit www.europeanwaterways.com.

 

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