Britain is headed for a blockbuster year with the upcoming Queen’s Jubilee, the London 2012 Olympics and the Paralympics Games. VisitBritain, the official tourism agency for England, Scotland, and Wales, and MASTERPIECE, the television home in the US for the best of British drama, have come together to celebrate some of Britain's landmark castles and country estates.
For more than 40 years, MASTERPIECE has featured some of Britain’s most exquisite homes. Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and home to the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, was featured in The Lost Prince, winner of three Emmy Awards. Osterly Park was a location for Mrs. Brown with Dame Judi Dench, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal as Queen Victoria. And, in the newest adaptation of the Dickens classic, Great Expectations, the exterior of Holdenby House was used as the stand-in for Ms. Havisham’s home, Satis House.
This year, MASTERPIECE, in collaboration with VisitBritain, offers fans a chance to win a trip for two adults to London from the US from September 17-22, 2012, as part of the MASTERPIECE Classic Sweepstakes. Enter daily from February 7, 2012 through April 27, 2012 to win the Grand Prize, which includes economy World Traveler round-trip airline tickets on British Airways from 20 gateway cities in the continental US; four nights accommodation at a Radisson Edwardian property; a VIP tour of Highclere Castle with Lord Carnarvon and afternoon tea with Lady Carnarvon, author of Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey; afternoon tea at the May Fair Hotel with Jessica Fellowes, author of The World of Downton Abbey and Mud& The City: Dos and Don’ts of Townies in the Country; and a tour and lunch at Leeds Castle, along with Hudson’s Heritage Explorer Passes. Grand Prize Winner will be selected by random drawing; no purchase necessary. Go to: http://www.pbs.org/sweepstakes.
Spectacular Highclere Castle is one of England's most splendid Victorian castles set amidst 1,000 acres of parkland. Highclere Castle is approximately 65 miles west of London in Newbury and about a 45-minute journey by rail directly from London’s Paddington Station.
Highclere Castle has been home to the Carnarvon family since 1679. The present day Castle was designed in 1842 by Sir Charles Barry, the architect also responsible for building the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. The Castle’s history also includes a fascinating connection with ancient Egypt, as the 5th Earl, with Howard Carter, discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in 1922. The Castle now houses an exhibition that commemorates this historic event, including some rare antiquities from the 5th Earl's earlier Egyptian excavations.
In 2012, Highclere Castle is open to the public on select dates in the spring, beginning April 1, and in the summer, Monday through Thursday, from July 1 through September 13. Starting in February, tickets can be purchased and booked in advance on-line at www.highclerecastle.co.uk.
MASTERPIECE airs on Sunday nights on MASTERPIECE on PBS (check local listings) and with selected episodes available online at www.pbs.org/masterpiece. Great Expectations, a co-production with the BBC, starts on April 1, 2012. Funding for MASTERPIECE is provided by Viking River Cruises, contributions from public television viewers, and The Masterpiece Trust, created to help ensure the series’ future.
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com