Ever since the PBS Masterpiece series “Downton Abbey” first aired in 2010, many Americans have been fascinated by the fortunes — and misfortunes — of the fictional Crawley family and their servant staff. In March, a group from the Golden Triangle will depart from Columbus to tour England’s Highclere Castle, where much of the series is shot. As of Friday, six seats remained for the trip offered through the Columbus Arts Council. Deadline for deposits is Friday, Dec. 19.
“The arts council is excited to offer this trip to London. We hope to host similar trips in the future,” said CAC Executive Director Tina Sweeten-Lunsford about the fundraiser that will support ongoing programming.
“This is a rare opportunity to be in the castle where the scenes are filmed as well as tour the gardens and village,” said CAC board member Ralph Null. Many tourist trips to the location are only for garden and village tours, he noted. “But our agency has secured these scarce tickets, and we are delighted to be touring the castle and offering this event.”
The trip is March 29 through April 3, 2015. Cost is $2,999 per person, based on double occupancy. A deposit of $250 is due by 5 p.m. Dec. 19. Final payment of $2,749 is required by Jan. 15. Those on the tour will also be able to shop the small town where village scenes are filmed and see some of London’s best known landmarks, such as the Tower of London.
The price includes four nights’ stay with complimentary breakfast at a four-star hotel, roundtrip airfare from Birmingham, Alabama, to London, plus roundtrip bus transportation from Columbus to the Birmingham airport.
Dr. Ralph and Patti Johnson of Columbus reserved their seats early.
“Our family is really hooked on ‘Downton Abbey,’ and we travel a lot. We’re really excited,” said Patti Johnson. The Johnsons were attracted by the convenience of the trip, with arrangements like transportation all included. “And I’m just dying to see the inside of Highclere Castle, and the village — to feel like you’re a part of that. That was what really spurred us to go.”
Null remarked, “On a recent trip to Rome, I was visiting with an English couple and mentioned I was planning to be in England in the spring with a group to visit the castle. He said that we were quite lucky since his civic group had just recently wanted to go and were told the first available tickets were in 2016. So don’t miss this excellent opportunity.”
For more information, contact the CAC at 662-328-2787 Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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