European Waterways, a luxury, hotel barge cruising company offering vacations in nine countries, is offering a few culture-rich excursions in England, Ireland, and Scotland; among these is a visit to the castle where the very popular TV series,“Downton Abbey” is filmed.
Down the Thames to “Downton Abbey”
Cruising down the River Thames in England, the hotel barge Magna Carta meanders by majestic castles, palaces and cathedrals. For select departures on Magna Carta’s classic cruises, the company has added a new excursion to Highclere Castle, a Victorian castle nestled on 1,000 acres surrounded by gardens and the setting for the PBS period drama series, “Downton Abbey.”
The cruise itinerary also features a private tour of Dorney Court, a picturesque Tudor home on the banks of the Thames, where “Elizabeth”, “The Other Boleyn Girl”, and Agatha Christie’s series “Poirot” were all filmed. The cruise concludes with a tour of Christ Church, one of the most prestigious colleges at the University of Oxford.
The Scottish Highlands—Land of Legend and Conflict
European Waterways’ The Scottish Highlander cruises along the Caledonian Canal through varied lochs across the Scottish Highlands. The tours on these cruises traverse Scotland’s medieval sites from beautiful scenery to wildlife and rich battle history. The cruises tour the village of Fort Augustus, gateway to the famous Loch Ness, before visiting Eilean Donan Castle, which sits on an island where three lochs meet. The medieval castle is set against mountainous scenery, often affording sightseers a glimpse at dolphins and otters.
The Craft of Local Irish Specialties
Shannon Princess II is the only luxury hotel barge navigating the picturesque inner lakes and canals of Ireland and the cruise itineraries feature unique excursions for exploring the folklore and majestic landscape of the “Emerald Isle.” For 2013, European Waterways has added new tours highlighting the artisanal craft of local Irish specialities, giving guests the chance to experience the age-old traditions of Ireland’s past and present.
Shannon Princess II visits the Kilbeggan Distillery, the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world, dating back to 1757. Before tasting some of Kilbeggan’s finest, guests will witness the traditional method for making whiskey. Also new to the itinerary are visits to Meadowsweet Farm, where visitors with sample wild Irish honey and other organic produce grown at the farm. Guests will also visit Mossfield Organic Farm, set on lush pastoral fields at the foot of a mountain, where they will taste award-winning Gouda cheeses made from fresh, organic ingredients.
Starting rates are: Magna Carta, $4,190 pp; Scottish Highlander, $3,690 pp; and Shannon Princess II, $4,110 pp.
For more information on rates, visit http://www.gobarging.com/special-offers.php#offers.
Rates are based on departure dates and special offers are available for select departures. “Downton Abbey” tours are available for select departures.