Hampshire, England (CNN) — Fans around the world were distraught when "Downton Abbey" ended its sixth and final season. Aunt Violet, Carson, Lady Mary, Spratt and others left a sizeable hole when author Julian Fellowes decided that Christmas 1925 would signify their swansong. Arguably the most famous character in the show is still going strong, however: Downton Abbey itself, in real-life Highclere Castle, 70 miles west of London in the English county of Hampshire. Home to the earl and countess of Carnarvon, the main house was remodeled by Charles Barry in 1838 to become the imposing building now known to millions. It's only open to the public 70 days a year, with tickets proving hugely popular, but special events and parties also allow guests to experience the house and grounds first hand. Even though "Downton" is no more, here are seven reasons to pack your bags for England and visit Highclere, where you can channel your inner Lord and Lady Grantham: 1. A mysterious … [Read more...] about 7 reasons to visit the ‘real’ Downton Abbey
7 days to die crafting
When was the last time he cried? "I don't really cry. I'm not a person that gets emotional about things and certainly not someone who will share if I do." What adjectives would he use to describe his personality? "What's an adjective?" Pat laughs, slipping into a comic character to avoid revealing anything about himself. You imagine Pat Shortt would happily gouge his eye out with a rusty spoon rather than do a selfie or conduct a celebrity interview at home in Castleconnell, Co Limerick, with wife Caroline and their three grown-up kids, Fay, Lily Rose and Ludaigh. He is just not that kind of man. An indicator of what kind of man Pat Shortt is, is perhaps best revealed when he talks about when he is at his happiest. He doesn't say winning awards in Cannes or the IFTAs for his portrayal of poor lonely Josie who eventually takes his own life in Lenny Abrahamson's 2007 classic Garage - though I'm sure such moments please him in a different way. Pat says, instead: "I love to go … [Read more...] about ‘We were all brought in to give her a hug’
Imagine a region that has miles of white sand beaches on one coast, picturesque rocky bays on the other, two mountainous national parks, and one of the world’s oldest cities. Add lots of warm sunshine plus fine food and wine and you might expect the area to be a tourist mecca, busy with hotels and tour buses. However, Basilicata, the arch and instep of Italy’s boot, has all the above but – thanks admittedly to a history of poverty and difficult access – little mass tourism. Though bigger than any English county, Basilicata is home to fewer than 600,000 people. And it shows: apart from a few very hot weeks in high summer, the region is blissfully quiet, its beaches and (now quite good) roads devoid of crowds. Access from the UK is now easy too, with cheap flights to Bari, in neighbouring Puglia. Naples airport is a couples of hours’ drive way too, but as Basilicata’s beaches and main sights are in the south, Bari will suit most. MATERA What to see and … [Read more...] about Holiday guide to Basilicata, Italy: what to see plus the best restaurants and hotels
112. Boris Akunin (b. 1956) Boris Akunin / TASS / Sergei Belyakov We're putting this great author on the honorable 112th place not because we like him less than the others, but because he admits that he's not a writer but a belletrist. His real name is Grigory Chkhartishvili and he's the ultra-popular Russian detective writer. Several of his novels, set mostly in the late 19th and early 20th century czarist Russia, have been adapted and turned into full-length feature films that were box office hits. His main hero, detective Erast Fandorin, is a Russian Sherlock Holmes, and one of the most charismatic heroes in modern literature. Another of Akunin’s project is, “The History of the Russian State,” a multi-volume work that seeks to understand why Russia has remained stable in the face of so many revolts and revolutions. His pen name first appeared as B. Akunin, which has several … [Read more...] about 112 Russian writers ranging from great, to absolutely freaking great
KIT Harington has become THE face of Game of Thrones and is also fronted the hit BBC series Gunpowder. Here's everything you need to know about the leading man of Westeros who's getting married to his former flame on GoT... Who is Kit Harington? Kit Harington, born Christopher Catesby Harington, was born in 1986 on Boxing Day and raised in Acton, London. His parents are playwright Deborah Catesby and Sir David Richard Harington, 15th baronet and businessman. The star started focusing on his craft at sixth form, studying drama and theatre before attending the Central School of Speech and Drama at the age of 18. Despite playing a powerful and brilliant warrior in Game of Thrones, Kit is actually a bit shorter than many people might think. He is only 5ft 7in (170.2cm) - not that it stops him from standing tall on the battlefield. Kit was reported to earn nearly £1m an episode during the latest series of the HBO hit. Who does Kit play in Game of Thrones? On the HBO … [Read more...] about How old is Kit Harington, when did Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow actor get engaged to Rose Leslie and how tall is he?