Thursday, June 30

Luxury Barges Cruise To Britain’s Castles

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If you’ve been watching Downton Abbey, The Crown, Bridgerton, or a lot of other British dramas on Britbox or elsewhere, then European Waterways has a cruise for you.

With the largest fleet of luxury hotel barges in Europe, European Waterway has designed a Thames River cruise that visits many of those locations on its eight-passenger Magna Carta barge, pictured above. The Magna Carta will cruise to many of the South of England’s most picturesque sites, including royal palaces, aristocratic estates, and centuries-old riverside villages.

One highlight is a tour of Highclere Castle, scene of Downton Abbey’s Crawley family, and the real residence of Lord and Lady Carnarvon. One of England’s most elegant Victorian castles, Highclere has more than 250 rooms (there may be as many as 300), and looks out over a 1,000-acre estate with manicured gardens.

The tour includes some bedrooms, main sitting rooms that appear often in Downton Abbey, and the gardens. It also offers a look at the castle’s Egyptian exhibition, which celebrates the 5th Earl of Carnarvon’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun.

“This year’s highly anticipated premiere of Downton Abbey: A New Era has been selling out Highclere Castle tours for months in advance,” said Derek Banks, European Waterways’ managing director, “but we’ve secured a limited number of tickets for our guests.”

Other Magna Carta destinations include visits to Henry VIII’s Hampton Court and its world-famous gardens; the castle serves as Queen Charlotte’s residence in Bridgerton. There’s also a visit to Windsor Castle, home of the real Queen of England that was shown often in The Crown. A visit to Windsor Great Park, where Bridgerton’s title character went riding, is an option.

European Waterways’ hotel barge cruises are all-inclusive, and are designed to immerse guests in the history and culture of the region they are visiting. One example is a private tour of Peter Freebody’s 300-year-old boatyard where craftsmen still build and restore traditional River Thames boats.

The hotel barges generally carry from six to 20 passengers, and include impeccable on-board service with local fine wine and cuisine. The barges can travel along inland waterways that often are not accessible to larger vessels, and they offer guests the ability to explore surroundings on foot or bicycle. The barge cruises also offer chauffeured excursions to wine tastings, private tours and special events. Read more:






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