DHTour tours feature ‘Downton Abbey’ castle

The British television series “Downton Abbey”has been a hit worldwide and Highclere is seen as a wonderful example of an English stately home. The castle is open to the public for about 75 days a year and group visits are already sold out for 2013. DHTour, a London- and UK-specialist based in Burlington, Ont., has four of these dates booked and is including them in four exclusive tours in 2013. The tours include admissions to Highclere Castle and Gardens and a visit to the village of Bampton in Oxfordshire, where most of the outside scenes are filmed. The first of these has already departed and the remaining three “Downton”departures have very distinctive and different themes. April 5-15 will feature Historic Royal Palaces, such as Hampton Court and Kensington Palace, and include a stay, with dinner, at Hever Castle, the childhood home of Ann Boleyn. Sept. 3-15 has a TV and literary theme ranging from Doc Martin and Agatha Christie to Jane Austen and Shakespeare and will include a performance of Hamlet by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford. Sept. 20 to Oct. 1 will include visits to many of the current Royal Family’s homes, including Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Sandringham, as well as the Middleton’s local pub in Bucklebury. There will also be an overnight at Thornbury Castle. This visit to Highclere is private to the DHT group and includes tea and coffee and biscuits in the salon. (http://www.dhgrouptours.com)