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broughton castle
The new tour includes Broughton Castle, home of the Fiennes family, including explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and actors Ralph Fiennes and Joseph Fiennes. The castle also served as a setting for the ‘Masterpiece’ series ‘Wolf Hall' PHOTO: Viking

Viking backs ‘Downton Abbey’ film, adds new ‘Great Homes’ tour

Viking partnered with Focus Features, Universal Pictures and Carnival Films for the release of the new ‘Downton Abbey’ movie, based on the Emmy Award-winning television series.

Viking became a household name during its sponsorship of the celebrated ‘Masterpiece’ series through the years ‘Downton Abbey’ aired on PBS, and this new partnership builds on the company’s continued commitment to cultural programming.

Today marks the London global premiere of the film, which will be in US theaters on Sept. 20.

New 'Great Homes, Gardens & Gin' tour

For years Viking has offered a variety of ways for travelers to experience life at Highclere Castle, the filming location of Downton Abbey. Now it is unveiling a new pre-/post-cruise extension, ‘Great Homes, Gardens & Gin,’ providing an exclusive look at several country estates that have served as the settings of PBS and ‘Masterpiece’ productions.

Starting in 2021, the five-day extension will be available with Viking’s ‘Rhine Getaway’ river cruise itinerary and ‘British Isles Explorer’ ocean cruise itinerary. The program features Oxford and English country life, and includes a ‘Privileged Access’ tour of Highclere Castle and a visit to Broughton Castle, home of the Fiennes family, whose members include the British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and actors Ralph Fiennes and Joseph Fiennes. The castle also served as a setting for the ‘Masterpiece’ series ‘Wolf Hall.’

Prince Charles' Highgrove House gardens

As part of the extension, participants will visit Chavenage House in the Cotswolds, known for its appearance in the ‘Masterpiece’ series ‘Poldark,’ and stroll the gardens of Highgrove House, the private home of Prince Charles.

At Highclere Castle, visitors will have an opportunity to taste the recently-launched Highclere Castle Gin, a super-premium London dry gin inspired by botanicals from the castle’s gardens. The extension also includes a visit to the nearby Bombay Sapphire Distillery.

‘Partnering for the release of the new film is a natural extension of our close relationship with Highclere Castle and our close personal friendship with the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, with whom we proudly created Viking’s highest-rated cruise extension,’ Viking EVP Karine Hagen said.

That 'Oxford & Highclere Castle' program continues to be available with select ocean and river cruises, and, earlier this year, Viking announced the 'British Collections of Ancient Egypt' pre-cruise extension available with its 'Pharaohs & Pyramids' Nile cruise.

Cruise fare savings through Sept. 20

From now through Sept. 30, US residents can take advantage of special savings on Viking cruise fares, and up to free air on select 2019, 2020 and 2021 ocean and river itineraries.