Fans of Downton Abbey may visit the palace used as the principal filming location for the English historical drama series chronicling the lives of the Crawleys and their servants.
Located in the North Wessex Downs Area of Natural Beauty (AONB), Hampshire, the majestic country estate of Highclere Castle is only 65 miles west of Central London.
A history of Highclere Castle, England
The foundations of Highclere Castle date back to Anglo-Saxon times when Bishop William of Wykeham oversaw the construction of a medieval residence and formal gardens in 749. This original property was reconstructed in 1679 upon passing ownership to Sir Robert Sawyer. The palace that stands today was built in 1842 by Sir Charles Barry – the same architect behind the Palace of Westminster in London.
Highclere Castle was used as a hospital during the First World War and as a refuge for evacuated children in the Second World War.
Today, the castle is the private residence of George and Fiona Herbert, the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Lord and Lady Carnarvon employ a full staff including chefs, gardeners, housekeepers, and those responsible for welcoming tourists to the mansion.
Located between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the San Rafael Mountains, California's Santa Ynez Valley is one of the world's great wine regions. With its Mediterranean climate, chic towns, and proximity to the golden beaches of central California, it’s little wonder that the Santa Ynez Valley is regarded as the American Riviera.
Santa Ynez Valley wines
The Santa Ynez Valley contains the highest concentration of vineyards in California's Santa Barbara County. Furthermore, it constitutes the largest American Viticultural Area (AVA).
The sweltering summer heat juxtaposed with brisk winters and a coastal environment means that a diverse assortment of cool and hot-climate grapes may be cultivated. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc are the signature varieties in the region. However, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Merlot are also represented.
Across the region, there are around 120 wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms most of which are family-owned boutique wineries.
A number of these welcome walk-ins while others, such as Rusack Vineyards require advance reservations. Meanwhile, others – such as Grassini Family Vineyards – are restricted to those with Wine Club membership.
Bali attracts sunseekers with its tropical climate and verdant rainforest studded with waterfalls. Besides snorkeling, surfing, and volcano trekking, traveling to Bali provides an opportunity to engage with the unique culture of the spiritual sanctuary known as the Island of the Gods.
Unlike the rest of Indonesia, island residents practice Balinese Hinduism. Although the principal Hindu gods are worshiped, Balinese Hindus pay significant attention to their agricultural and ancestral deities. Practices overlap somewhat with Buddhist beliefs.
In addition to the 10,000 temples scattered across the island, shrines are encountered on just about every street corner. Balinese Hindus place daily offerings called canang cari on these shrines as well as outside their houses and shops. Consisting of a small woven basket containing flowers, rice, money, and incense, canang cari are an expression of gratitude.
Ubud: Bali’s spiritual heart
Situated in the uplands, Ubud will open your eyes to traditional Balinese customs. Ubud Palace hosts a Barong dance recital every evening, a spectacle with animal costumes and music.
Symbolic of prosperity in Balinese culture, water is a typical motif at temples in and around Ubud as well as in the north of the island. Dedicated to the goddess of learning, literature, and art, who once took the form of a river, the ornate Saraswati Temple is set upon a lotus pond in Ubud town.
Rome, the eternal city, is a treasure trove of history, art, and culture. Known for its ancient ruins, stunning architecture, and delicious cuisine, Rome is a must-visit destination for any traveler.
The city is home to countless historical landmarks and monuments, from the Colosseum and the Pantheon to the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica. Rome is also famous for its museums, galleries, and delicious Italian food.
So whether you're a history buff, an art lover, or simply looking for a taste of la dolce vita, Rome has something for everyone.
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