If you're a fan of the TV series Downton Abbey, you may enjoy being a guest at a virtual cocktail party at the historical period drama's real-life setting and inspiration in England. Friday evening drinks have taken an aristocratic turn as Highclere Castle's owners are hosting the fun soirée online.

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Downton Abbey chronicles the saga of the Crawley family and the lives of their servants in the early 20th century © ITV

Highclere Castle is a 19th-century Victorian castle used for exterior shots and most of the interior filming on the ITV/PBS series, which has captivated audiences in recent years as it chronicled the saga of the Crawley family and the lives of their servants. The castle itself covers 100,000 square feet and has a total of 300 rooms, and it epitomises the fortitude and glamour of the Edwardian period at the beginning of the 20th century.

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Fans of Downton Abbey can join a virtual cocktail party at Highclere Castle © Highclere Castle

Its owners, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, are hosting their second virtual cocktail party on Facebook Live, using Highclere Castle Gin, which is made from botanicals from the Highclere Estate. Those who tune in will be treated to an inside look at the historic castle, which has been in the Carnarvon family since 1679, and has an incredibly rich history.

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The lavish state dining room at Highclere © Highclere Castle

It looks like the virtual cocktail hour may even become a staple feature during the COVID-19 pandemic. "We will tell stories of the cocktails that were served here in the ’20s and ’30s and pull out some of the old recipes and add some jazz music in the background and see what we can do to bring people together,” Lady Fiona Carnarvon told People. “It is something to look forward to and be part of our routine.”

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The library at Highclere Castle © Highclere Castle

"Virtual Cocktails" will take place on Friday 1 May at 8pm GMT, 4pm ET, 1pm PT and 9pm BST on Highclere Castle Gin's Facebook page here.

Keep up to date with Lonely Planet's latest travel-related COVID-19 news here.

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