Spring blossoms at Woodside’s Filoli estate – the Bay Area’s ‘Downton Abbey’ (PHOTOS)

Bay Area residents looking for a break from the rush of modern life might take a visit to Woodside’s Filoli estate, a peaceful country house tucked away among the hills where not much has changed since the early 20th century. (Story continues below.)

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Built by San Francisco businessman William Bowers Bourn in 1915, Filoli’s 36,000-square-foot mansion and 16-acre garden are now a designated historic site by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

They are also the recipients of a whole lot of renewed attention since the debut of PBS’ hit period drama Downton Abbey in 2011. Spokeswoman Christina Syrette said interest in the show has helped drive a 50 percent increase in annual visitors to Filoli compared to five years ago.

Now that spring is finally here, the famous garden—featured in movies such as The Wedding Planner—is blossoming with tulips and definitely worth a trip. (To learn what else you might see, check out the What’s Blooming page on Filoli’s website.)

“It’s a haven, a place to take a break and nurture yourself,” Syrette said. Just five minutes from Highway 280, “you can feel like you’re in another world.”

Filoli is open 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sundays. Click here for more information on planning a visit.

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