Downton Abbey

The real 'Downton Abbey' housed its own drama

April 11, 2012 at 9:17 AM ET

American fans of the Emmy Award-winning series "Downton Abbey" are flocking to Hampshire, England to take a tour of the real grand residence behind the fictional Abbey, Highclere Castle, and what they're finding is an off-screen taste of the on-screen drama -- sort of.

While Highclere might not have had anyone quite like the Dowager Countess delivering quips and snips in the great hall, and maybe there was no frightening flu to conveniently free up the local heir, NBC News correspondent Keir Simmons revealed on TODAY that it is said to host a curse.

Over 2000 visitors a day see the halls of Highclere Castle.

In the 1920s, George Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who was born in Highclere Castle, died under mysterious circumstances months after discovering the tomb of Egyptian King Tutankhamun. Others involved with the excavation are said to have suffered strange deaths, as well. Now there are those that believe the castle itself is under the "Curse of Tutankhamun."

That's certainly TV-worthy drama, but it's not the story some visitors really want. Rather than details of the past, many fans hope to get a glimpse of what's to come on the show. Barring that, they want bragging rights.

"I just want to tell people when season three comes on that 'I've been there,'" one loyal viewer revealed.

She and other visitors of Highclere Castle will have to wait a while before they can deliver that boast. The third season of "Downton Abbey" is set to air in January 2013 on PBS.

Would you make the trek to get a closer look at the real "Downton Abbey"? Tell us on our Facebook page.


Related content: