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The Real Downton Abbey

ITV’s record-breaking period drama has influenced everything from fashion to sherry sales since it aired in autumn 2010, and unsurprisingly Highclere Castle, the plush stately home where much of the action takes place, has experienced a dramatic rise in visitors.

With the third series of the hugely popular show in sight, Fiona Carnarvon, the current lady of the castle, will host the Real Downton Abbey lunch at Berkshire's The Vineyard hotel, in Stockross, on May 14, where she will reveal the true history of the "real Downton Abbey" and her early predecessor Lady Almina, whose extraordinary life inspired the show.

Fans who can’t make the lunch - and who can’t wait until September for their next dose of Downton - can satiate themselves with charming trivia Stylist has unearthed about the 320-year-old Berkshire property, which is used for both the exterior shots and interior scenes of the Grantham family home.

Let us know your favourite fact about the "real Downton Abbey" on Twitter or in the comments section below.

Words: Anna Pollitt. Pictures: Rex Features

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