Destinations

Downton Abbey tourism: Making a pound off a television phenomenon

Excerpt from New York Times

May 26, 2013 12:59 pm

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As Downton Abbey has demonstrated, the world in which families could maintain these massive piles of brick is thankfully in the past, so it’s up to canny thinkers to come up with methods that will keep estates from collapsing entirely.

— Jason Clampet

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Calotype46  / Flickr

Calotype46 / Flickr


Lady Carnarvon, a self-described “prudent Scottish accountant,” doesn’t mind buses coughing and screeching onto the gravel driveway of her country estate and depositing 1,500 fans each day at her doorstep. In fact, she eagerly welcomes the visitors to Highclere Castle who pay the $27 admission fee, buy the $14.50 guidebooks and don’t leave without souvenirs like a $23 polo shirt with Highclere Castle etched on the front.

Why the attraction? Lady Carnarvon’s home is the fictional setting for the TV series “Downton Abbey,” and she is determined to cash in. As she told a visitor while scrambling to find a place for lunch that wasn’t already occupied by tourists, the location fees paid for the use of Highclere “are not going to pay for the roof.”

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