In celebration of the premiere film premier of “Downton Abbey,” Viking Cruises is now offering a new pre/post cruise extension: Great Homes, Gardens & Gin -- designed to give guests an exclusive look at several country estates that have served as the settings of acclaimed PBS and Masterpiece Theater productions.

Starting in 2021, the new five-day extension will be available on Viking's Rhine Getaway river cruise itinerary and British Isles Explorer ocean cruise itinerary. The addition allows guests to explore Oxford and experience English country life and take a “Privileged Access” tour of Highclere Castle. The tour also includes Broughton Castle, home to the influential Fiennes family, whose members include the renowned British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and actors Ralph Fiennes and Joseph Fiennes. The castle also served as a setting for the award-winning series, “Wolf Hall.”

As part of the extension, guests will visit Chavenage House in the Cotswolds, best known for its appearance in the Masterpiece Theater series Poldark – and stroll the gardens of Highgrove House, the private home of Charles, The Prince of Wales. While visiting Highclere Castle, guests 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 to learn the history and production of gin.


"Many of our guests were introduced to both Viking and Highclere Castle while watching the Downton Abbey series. For this reason, we are linked in the minds of many Downton Abbey fans," said Karine Hagen, Executive Vice President of Viking.

Highclere Castle, the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, builds on Viking's longstanding relationship with the Carnarvon family. The extension provides guests with an exclusive three-day experience in the rolling hills of England's countryside with a champagne welcome and a tour of the castle and estate.

Earlier this year, Viking also announced the five-day British Collections of Ancient Egypt, a Pre-Cruise Extension for the Pharaohs & Pyramids Nile River cruise itinerary, which gives guests an introduction to Egyptian antiquities in preparation for their Nile experience, and includes retracing the steps of the world's most famous Egyptologist, Howard Carter, and his benefactor, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Guests experience Privileged Access to archives and museum exhibits not normally accessible to the public, and at Highclere Castle, have the opportunity view the earl's magnificent private collection of Egyptian artifacts.  

​Looking to spend a night in Highclere Castle? Information here.