• Gina Rullo

Downton Abbey movie featuring Highclere Castle


The Highclere Castle, where the filming of Downton Abbey took place. (Courtesy Photo)

Viking announced it has partnered with Focus Features, Universal Pictures and Carnival Films for the release of the new full-length film, Downton Abbey: A New Era, which is the highly anticipated continuation of the first Downton Abbey film and beloved television series. Viking became a household name during its sponsorship of the celebrated series masterpiece through the years Downton Abbey aired on PBS, and the extension of the partnership builds on the company’s commitment to enriching cultural programming.


The continuation of the 2019 feature film reunites the original principal cast, following the Crawley family and the staff of Downton Abbey. Beyond the Downton estate, this film will also see the Crawley’s travel to the south of France to explore the region and uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa. This is the first time that viewers see the Crawley family travel outside of the U.K. The film premiered in U.S. theaters on May 20.


“Many of our guests were introduced to both Viking and Highclere Castle while watching the acclaimed Downton Abbey series. For more than a decade, we have been connected with Downton Abbey and the team at Carnival Films, through the television series and the first film, and we are proud to continue that partnership,” said Karine Hagen, Executive Vice President of Viking. “Offering Privileged Access to cultural treasures around the world is a key aspect in the Viking way of travel—and our experiences at Highclere Castle, developed in close collaboration with the Carnarvon family, have become cherished favorites among our guests.”


Since 2013, Viking has offered guests a variety of ways to experience life at Highclere Castle, which is the home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Privileged Access® Pre/Post Extensions co-created by Karine Hagen and the Carnarvon family include the highly-rated Oxford & Highclere Castle and Great Homes, Gardens & Gin extensions, both of which are available for guests on select river and ocean voyages. Also, for guests on the popular Pharaohs & Pyramids Nile River cruise itinerary, Viking offers the five-day British Collections of Ancient Egypt Pre Extension, 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, George Herbert, 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 to view the Earl’s magnificent private collection of Egyptian artifacts.


“Viking and Highclere Castle have been linked through Downton Abbey and my close friendship with Karine for more than a decade, and we are delighted to continue welcoming the extended Viking family to experience everyday life at our home,” Lady Carnarvon said.


Lady Carnarvon has also welcomed viewers to Highclere Castle on Viking’s award-winning enrichment channel, Viking.TV (www.viking.tv). In her ongoing series, “At Home at Highclere,” Lady Carnarvon offers virtual Privileged Access to the historic home and its grounds. In the past two years, she has led more than 20 virtual tours and offered glimpses of life at her home. Additionally, Lady Carnarvon has served as godmother to a Viking Longship, the Viking Skadi, and is the ceremonial godmother to Viking’s newest ocean ship, the Viking Mars.


For those looking to explore France like the Crawley family in the upcoming film, Viking offers eight river voyages with ports of call throughout the country. In the south of France, Viking’s eight-day itinerary Lyon & Provence travels between Avignon and Lyon along the Rhône River, allowing guests to explore the region’s Roman history and indulge in its acclaimed wines. Additionally, guests on the grand 15-day voyage, France’s Finest, will experience the best of the country’s art, cuisine, style and history during the journey between Paris and Avignon; guests will enjoy the rich culinary heritage of Lyon, the world-renowned wine region of Burgundy, as well as travel throughout the northern region of France and pay their respects at the historic beaches of Normandy.


Additional river voyages in France include: Paris & the Heart of Normandy, Cities of Light, Chateaux, Rivers & Wine, Rhine Getaway, Paris to the Swiss Alps and the new eight-day itinerary, Christmas on the Seine, which sails roundtrip from Paris and offers a look at Joyeux Noel beginning this holiday season.


Through June 30 Viking is offering two sweepstakes for U.S. and Canadian residents for a chance to win grand prize trips for two on Viking’s eight-day river voyage, Paris & the Heart of Normandy and three-night Privileged Access land extension program, Oxford & Highclere Castle. The winner will also receive roundtrip international Business Class air for two. Enter now through June 30 for a grand prize opportunity.