Hampshire movie magic

The Crawleys are back – and bigger than ever in 2019!

Nine years after Hampshire’s iconic Hichclere Castle first hosted the cast and crew of TV smash hit Downton Abbey, the servant’s bell is ringing once again as the acclaimed series returns, this time on the silver screen.

Filming at the stunning country house began late 2017 with the all-star cast, including Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern and Dame Maggie Smith, returning for Downton Abbey, the movie.

It has been three years since the final TV episode aired, with the six seasons of the show becoming a huge hit, not only in the UK, but also worldwide, particularly in the US.

Enjoyed by around 270 million viewers globally, it is no surprise that the real Downton Abbey has become a ‘must visit’ location.

Cinemagoers won’t be able to see the movie until September 2019, but an atmospheric teaser trailer featuring glorious aerial shots of Highclere offers a taste of what is to come, together with the message “you are cordially invited to the motion picture event.”

Written by Julian Fellowes and produced by Carnival Films and NBCUniversal, the movie is out on 13 September 2019 in the UK, and 20 September in the US.

In the meantime fans eagerly awaiting the Big Screen version can experience their own Downton Abbey magical moment by touring the ‘set–jetting’ location – which has been the seat of the Earl of Carnarvon since 1679 – when it re-opens for the season on selected dates from 7 April 2019.

Steeped in history, and set in grounds landscaped by Capability Brown, Highclere offers tours with afternoon tea April-September (£53) and a live Downton orchestral concert narrated by Carson (Jim Carter) on 22 June 2019 (£67.40).

There’s also the chance to make the movie magic last longer too, by staying at one of two lodges on the estate, the circular Grotto Lodge, designed with a nod to an original Grotto within the grounds, or London Lodge, built by the first Earl of Carnarvon.

While the present-day Castle was designed in 1842 by Sir Charles Barry, the architect also responsible for building the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, it is built on an ancient site, with the original house recorded in the Domesday Book.

The Castle’s history also includes a fascinating connection with ancient Egypt, as the 5th Earl, with Howard Carter, discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in 1922. The Castle now houses an exhibition that commemorates this historic event, including some rare antiquities from the 5th Earl’s earlier Egyptian excavations.

For more information on visiting the Castle, see www.highclerecastle.co.uk

All tourist information for Hampshire can be found at http://www.visit-hampshire.co.uk.