Thanks to the huge popularity of Downton Abbey, tourism in England is up, according to this CNN article. Specifically, tourists are moving away from London and exploring the riches the countryside has to offer. If you've ever been interested in historical tourism, now is the time to try it out for yourself. I have a few of my own suggestions for your next trip.
1. Go Downton Abbey
The house we know of as Downton Abbey is really called Highclere Castle, and it is the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Besides the filming of the hugely popular show (with over 11 million viewers in the UK and now shown in over 100 countries around the world--go Downton Abbey!), they have also opened their grand house to tourists. Evidently, this year the house is booked until the end of the year for tour groups. But individuals can still get tickets, which will be available online starting next month.
For the big spender who wants to experience a real Downton Abbey day, you can dine with the Earl and Countess, have a private tour of the house and the estate, and enjoy tea with them in the Countess' morning room. This opportunity to rub elbows with aristocracy will only cost you $12,300! I won’t be signing up for that one any time soon, but I bet somebody does.
2. Go Jane Austen
For the Jane Austen fan, there's no place like the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, which will be held this year from September 14-22. It begins with a promenade, where hundreds of Janeites from all over the world dress in Regency attire and parade through the cobblestone streets of Bath. During the course of the week one may enjoy small soirees, theatre, concerts, walking tours, food, talks, DANCING, and of course, one may wear Regency attire all week long.
3. Go Bronte Sisters
Are the Bronte sisters more to your liking? If so, you'll want to head north, to the country around Yorkshire. In Haworth you can visit the parsonage the sisters grew up in, which is now a museum. Then don your good walking shoes and set off through the heather-filled moors. You'll want to stop at North Lees Hall, the private manor that inspired Thornhill in Jane Eyre.
What do you think about historical tourism? Which of these sites would you pick if you could only pick one?