You can stay at Downton Abbey ! It will only be in the Gatehouse ‘London Lodge’ BUT you will not have to get up in the middle of the night to open the gates for aristocratic revelers . VIDEO The real Downton Abbey is actually Highclere Castle in Hampshire -home of the discoverer of Tutankhamun’s tomb -the Earl of Carnarvon .
The success of the BBC TV series -Downton Abbey has had a dramatic impact on the lives of those living inside the ‘real’ Downton. While the fictional Earl of Grantham struggled to keep hold of his ancestral home, things have never looked better for the owners of Highclere Castle, where the ITV drama is filmed.
Before Downton hit our screens, the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon admitted their Berkshire estate needed £11.75million worth of repairs, including £1.8million of urgent work on the main house. Ravaged by damp and rot, at least 50 rooms were uninhabitable and its stone turrets were falling into disrepair.
But after their friend, writer and producer Julian Fellowes, asked if he could film his new period drama at Highclere, it has become one of Britain’s best-known stately homes.As many as 1,200 paying visitors a day descend on the house in the summer, enabling the owners to begin major repairs. (Source :Daily Mail London )
In 1907 Lord Carnarvon employed Howard Carter him to supervise Carnarvon’s Egyptian excavations in the Valley of the Kings. The intention of Gaston Maspero, who introduced the two, was to ensure that Howard Carter imposed modern archaeological methods and systems of recording.
Carnarvon financed Carter’s work in the Valley of the Kings to 1914, but until 1917 excavations and study were interrupted by World War I. Following the end of World War I, Carter aggressively resumed his work.
After several years of finding little, Lord Carnarvon became dissatisfied with the lack of results, and in 1922 informed Carter that he had one more season of funding to search the Valley of the Kings and find the tomb.
On 4 November 1922, Howard Carter’s excavation group found steps which Carter hoped led to Tutankhamun’s tomb .He wired Lord Carnarvon to come, and on 26 November 1922, with Carnarvon, Carnarvon’s daughter and others in attendance, Carter made the “tiny breach in the top left hand corner” of the doorway (with a chisel his grandmother had given him for his seventeenth birthday.) He was able to peer in by the light of a candle and see that many of the gold and ebony treasures were still in place. He did not yet know whether it was “a tomb or merely a cache”, but he did see a promising sealed doorway between two sentinel statues. When Carnarvon asked “Can you see anything?”, Carter replied with the famous words: “Yes, wonderful things!”
The holiday rental – London Lodge was built in 1793 by the first Earl of Carnarvon, was constructed to celebrate the Earl’s entry to the peerage.The imposing stone archway, dressed with Coade stone and filled by the heavy iron gates, framed a grand entrance for family and visitors alike. The individual lodges, to either side were added later, most probably around 1840. Over the past two years they have been painstakingly restored by the current Earl and his wife to provide unique and luxurious accommodation for two.Not unsurprisingly it is fully booked for 2015 but you can book for 2016 and there is a competition to win a stay for Valentines weekend next year!