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Hoping Hedsor becomes as big as its human co-stars...

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Anne Diamond | 12:28 UK time, Thursday, 10 January 2013

Pauline COllins and Maggie Smith outside Hedsor House

...and perhaps as much of a famous location as Highclere Castle has, thanks to Downton Abbey. This is Hedsor House near Taplow - right at the other end of our BBC Radio Berkshire patch - which is the backdrop of the new movie, Quartet, starring Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins and Dame Maggie Smith and which is a directorial debut for Hollywood actor Dustin Hoffman.

Hedsor is still privately owned (for the last four generations, it has belonged to the Shepherd family who now run it as a business).

It has a history going right back to the 12th century - and King George III and Queen Charlotte helped design the present house and chose the location high above the River Thames because of its stunning views. Queen Victoria was a regular visitor from Windsor Castle a century later with historic diary entries of the Royal children playing croquet on Hedsor's lawns.

In the 21st century, like Highclere, it is a favourite wedding venue and location for fashion shoots - but now mega movie exposure may give business a further shot in the arm. And so for the first time over the next few months, Hedsor will be open to the public. Tickets are already selling out.


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