You Can Have Christmas Dinner at Downton Abbey This Year

Downton Abbey was known for its epic Christmas specials. The end of season two (not to spoil anything!) has one of the best plotlines in dramatic television. Cue the epic romance and tears, who knew snow could be so romantic?!

The ever-so-popular television series followed the lives of the Earl and Countess of Grantham, Robert and Cora Crawley, along with their three daughters: Ladies Mary, Edith and Sybil. Navigating various social and political issues pre-World War I, the Crawley’s lives were mirrored with that of their servants. Dramatic and captivating, this series was the one to catapult the media’s intense desire to explore the worlds of “Upstairs Downstairs.”

Whether you’re a diehard fan or just getting into the series, there is just something really special and inviting about Edwardian England.

Downton, better known as Highclere Castle, is one of the most magnificent Victorian properties in England. Sprawling over a massive 5,000 acre estate in Hampshire, Highclere consists of the State Rooms, the Gardens and Woodlands, Parks, Follies and the ever so popular “Upstairs Downstairs.” If you are not familiar with the show, this is the divided world between the socialites whom inhabit the castle and the servants who support them.

Highclere is also particularly rich in history and has served numerous roles over the years. It became a hospital during World War I and served as a safe haven for evacuee children during World War II. What is most interesting about the inhabitants of this estate is that the Fifth Earl of Carnavon, along with Howard Carter, were the individuals who discovered King Tut’s tomb back in 1922.

Today’s Eighth Earl and Countess of Carnarvon are very active in maintaining Highclere. Their lives are divided between the castle and its neighbouring grounds. They are part of the reason it has become such a desirable travel destination.

Thus, the London-based travel company Premium Tours and TripAdvisor UK have deigned Highclere the ultimate seasonal celebration. The event is scheduled to take place Dec. 15. With tickets costing around $849.61 Canadian dollars (but the price is worth it to live the ultimate fantasy, right?), the evening will consist of the indulgence of decadent canapés, champagne and Christmas carolling around the tree. Transportation will be provided via coach, to and from central London. 

Professional guides will share stories about Highclere’s history and provide guided tours of the property. There will also be a three-course dinner with wine. I’m almost certain that Lady Mary and Lord Matthew will be in attendance. Mrs. Patmore’s probably making the food and Mr. Carson will be hovering amongst the rooms.

On Dec. 18, another dinner will be held: the Carols and Christmas Magic tour, in aid of the RAF100 Appeal. According to Highclere, the RAF100 Appeal is a joint venture between the Royal Air Force and four major RAF charities: the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the Royal Air Forces Association, the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust and the Royal Air Force Museum. The aim of the Appeal is to “raise money for the RAF Family and to create a lasting legacy as they celebrate 100 years of the Royal Air Force in 2018.”

But if this feast just isn’t quite in your budget range, don’t fret; you can still experience the festive beauty of Highclere! From Dec. 5 to 6, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon’s annual Christmas Fair will be running, as well as specialized Christmas tours of the castle on Dec. 9.

So what are you waiting for?! It’s time to live your ultimate Edwardian dreams and travel back in time to this illustrious estate. The Crawleys will be expecting you.