Fans of the award-winning British drama, Downtown Abby are in for the thrill of a lifetime. If you follow Viking Cruises, you already know of the company’s connection to the celebrated MASTERPIECE series that aired on PBS. For years, Viking has offered a host of ways for guests to experience life at Highclere Castle, the great English estate where the show is filmed. Now Viking offers even more exciting opportunities to explore the set, including Highclere Castle and an eight-day river cruise!

To kick off the of the premiere, Viking unveiled a new Pre/Post Cruise Extension; Great Homes, Gardens & Gin. This fantastic tour gives you exclusive access to some of the country estates featured in the acclaimed productions. “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. “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.”

Beginning in 2023, the new five-day extension will be available on Viking’s Rhine Getaway river cruise itinerary and British Isles Explorer ocean cruise itinerary. The extension awards you the opportunity to explore Oxford and truly dive into English country life. 

Expect amazing experiences such as ‘Viking’s Privileged Access® tour of Highclere Castle, a visit to Broughton Castle, home of the influential Fiennes family (the renowned British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and actors Ralph Fiennes and Joseph Fiennes) and the setting for the MASTERPIECE series Wolf Hall. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit Chavenage House in the Cotswolds, best known for its appearance in the MASTERPIECE series Poldark – and stroll the gardens of Highgrove House, the private home of Charles, The Prince of Wales. While visiting Highclere Castle, you 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 even includes a visit to the nearby Bombay Sapphire Distillery to learn the history and production of gin.

BROUGHTON CASTLE Credit: Viking Cruises

But that’s not all. In addition to the new Great Homes, Gardens & Gin cruise extension, Viking also offers Oxford & Highclere Castle – its highest-rated Pre/Post Cruise Extension, which is available for guests on select river and ocean cruise itineraries. 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.

Credit: VIking Cruises

As part of the exciting launch, Viking is giving  U.S. residents a chance to win a trip to Highclere Castle, with the grand prize including roundtrip international Business Class air for two, an 8-day Paris & the Heart of Normandy river cruise and the 3-night land extension program visiting Oxford and Highclere Castle. For more information and to enter by October 31, 2019 visit: Viking Cruises.