In 2008, Iceland was on the verge of economic collapse. The GFC dealt a fatal blow to its already complex web of bloated local banks and austerity measures, and its currency collapsed nearly 60 percent. So how, ten years later, did Europe’s most sparsely populated nation find itself at the top of just about every travel blogger’s Must Visit list? The short answer? Game of Thrones.
While Hollywood has been influencing travellers for years – think Salzburg’s Sound of Music
tours, or New Zealand’s Lord of the Rings
shire tours – it’s the sensational rise of serial television that’s influencing the next generation of travellers. From Iceland to New York, Monterey to Morocco: many of the world's latest tourist hot spots have location scouts to thank for their meteoric rise in popularity. Even Russia’s Chernobyl has seen a sudden influx of visitors moved by the HBO series released earlier this year.
The show that’s had the biggest impact on Australian
travellers, though, is Downton Abbey
. With its 2019 graduation to the silver screen, we’ve been fielding enquiries from clients eager to walk in the footsteps of its 1920s cast and crew in droves.
So, what tours would we recommend for Downton lovers?
While there are plenty of day tours out of London that will get you to Highclere Castle, we’d thoroughly recommend teaming up with a company that can take you one step further.
Viking – who many of you will have travelled with before – have a fabulous Privileged Access 3-Day Highclere Castle Extension
, which includes an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of the ‘Abbey’ and nearby Oxford Town. You’ll enjoy high tea in Lord Grantham’s private study, and discover secret doors and passageways to other rooms and reception areas. If you have a little more time up your sleeve, their 5-day Great Homes, Garden and Gin
tour also includes a visit to Broughton Castle (Wolf Hall
) and Chavenage House (Poldark
). You’ll top off the tour with a private tasting of the newly launched Highclere Castle Gin, inspired by botanicals from the castle’s gardens.
Viking’s Highclere extensions start from $2,199 per person
, and are available on a handful of their 2020 Ocean and River Cruise itineraries.
Oh, and did we mention all
said itineraries are eligible for Viking’s Fly Free or Companion Fly Free promotion until November, 30
? Seems like the right time to wallow in those Downton withdrawals... we know we will.