The Gothic grandeur of Highclere Castle - better recognised as the centrepiece of TV show Downton Abbey – immediately summons a theme tune and the phlegmatic performances of Dame Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville.

The fictional Yorkshire estate is set to return to our screens, with a feature film confirmed by the show's producers.

With filming set for September this year, fans of the show will soon be treated to more of the "upstairs, downstairs" drama that made this castle famous.

However, if you can't wait for the return of the Crawley family, you could always go on your very own Downton holiday.

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This Edwardian country pile is the setting of the most successful costume drama since to come out of Britain since Brideshead Revisited.

Like Brideshead did for Castle Howard, the six series of Downton Abbey have put Highclere on the map - although the Yorkshire manor isn't situated quite where you'd think.

Highclere Castle is set on 500 acres of landscaped gardens in Berkshire, 50 miles west of London.

The grounds are open to tourists with admission tickets to the house, gardens and guided tours sold online. It's $32 for an adult admission to the house and grounds.

But if you're there, why not stay the night?

Spiral staircase: Grotto Lodge is in the grounds of Highclere. Photo / Highclere Castle, Supplied
Spiral staircase: Grotto Lodge is in the grounds of Highclere. Photo / Highclere Castle, Supplied

You won't be able to stay in the castle itself, as Highclere is still lived in by the Carnarvon family, but the castle estate does rent out cottages on the property.

You can stay in the Grotto Lodge, a folly turret in the grounds. It's a castle of sorts, complete with a spiral staircase, but in a far more manageable size. It sleeps just two, so there's no room for service staff!

The London Lodge sits at the entrance to the grounds, at the end of the long approach to Highclere. It's a brighter and grander affair than the Grotto, and has recently been renovated by the castle's landscaping and decorating teams.

London Lodge: Stay in the gatehouse of Downton Abbey. Photo / Highclere, Supplied
London Lodge: Stay in the gatehouse of Downton Abbey. Photo / Highclere, Supplied

It's not just Highclere that has gained fame in the TV series. Brampton, which plays the part of the on-screen town of Downton, is just across the county border in Oxfordshire and has started running tours of filming locations.


The Castle is thrilled by the news that the cast and crew will be returning to Highclere. Owner, Countess of Carnarvon – aka the real Countess Crawley - said those at the castle "are delighted to be welcoming Downton back to Highclere again. Julian and the wonderful cast and crew of Downton were part of our lives and we will enjoy our next role with them."

No room for service staff: Inside the London Lodge restored by Highclere Castle. Photo / Lady Carnarvon, Supplied
No room for service staff: Inside the London Lodge restored by Highclere Castle. Photo / Lady Carnarvon, Supplied

The castle is likely to get very busy during the run up to filming. However, as the filming schedule is set for September, the castle has announced that it will not be running tours during production.

"Filming is likely to take 10 weeks. During this time, the Castle will be closed to the public but some special guided tours will be available to purchase on our website on days where no filming is taking place."