The real Downton Abbey – Highclere Castle, 70 miles west of London in Hampshire, is arguably the most crucial character in "Downton Abbey," the British historical period drama.
A tourism hotspot – Remodeled by Charles Barry in 1838, the iconic building is now home to the 8th Earl of Carnarvon and his family. It's open to the public 70 days a year and hosts various events for visitors who want to experience the great house firsthand.
Gardens by England's greatest gardener – Highclere's gardens were designed by the legendary 18th-century landscaper Lancelot "Capability" Brown. Known as "England's greatest gardener," Brown was responsible for building more than 170 gardens across the country. This year, 2016, marks 300 years since his birth.
Secret Garden – Brown crafted more than 1,000 acres of lakes, hills, smooth lawns and woodland at Highclere, including the Secret Garden pictured here.
London Lodge – It's possible to stay on site at London Lodge, one of the estate's cottage. It's so popular that it's booked out for the rest of the year, but bookings are now being taken for 2017 stays.
The State Dining Room – At the back of the State Dining Room hangs a portrait of King Charles I by Van Dyck, flanked by portraits of Carnarvon ancestors.
The library – One of the most familiar settings in "Downton Abbey," the library stocks more than 5,650 books. It's said to be a focal meeting point for families in the past and today.
The saloon – The saloon is the heart of the house. The leather wall coverings date back to 1630 and have been hanging in the hall since 1862.
A grand venue – Queen Charlotte's Ball -- a 200-year-old annual high society event for young women (usually between 17-20) to present themselves -- was held at Highclere Castle in 2014.
New book – The present Lady Carnarvon, a historian, will launch a new book "At Home at Highclere Castle: Stories and Menus from the real Downton Abbey" next spring. The book will talk about entertaining and food at Highclere.