Are you a fan of Downton Abbey, the PBS period drama that has become essential Sunday-night viewing everywhere? The 3rd season begins airing in the U.S. in January, and continues the saga of the glittering world of the Grantham family.

We previously reviewed The Wayfarers, who for nearly 30 years have been expert in providing luxury, bespoke walking adventures for discerning travelers in England and beyond. The Wayfarers offers eco-sensitive walking vacations of both culture and fitness in 16 countries with 40 itineraries. For you procrastinators out there, we can’t think of a better gift this Christmas than this newest excursion – The Wayfarers’ Downton Abbey Tour.

This tour features England at its finest with a packed week, including a private tour of Highclere Castle, the ancestral home of the Carnarvons. Such is the success of Downton Abbey, that group tickets to visit Highclere are sold out for 2013, making a Wayfarers private tour a rare opportunity. The Downton Abbey tour spans thousands of years of history and contrasts the mystery of the 4,500 year-old standing stones at Avebury, with the opulence and grandeur of 19th century Highclere Castle.

Downton Abbey has turned Britain’s Highclere Castle, home of the 6th Earl and Countess Carnarvon, into a television icon. History buffs will recognize that the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, along with Howard Carter, discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922. There’s much more on its website about its fascinating history. Can’t get enough about Highclere Castle? Here’s a snippet of a tour. You might also enjoy this article featured in the January/February 1979 issue of Architectural Digest.

The current Countess of Carnarvon’s book about the 5th countess, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, would make a fine Christmas stocking stuffer. Many of our other great resources have products available in our online Shop. What could be easier than shopping Bette Recommends!