The Real-Life Downton Abbey Is on Airbnb, and You Can Eat Dinner with the Earl and Countess
Two lucky guests will have the chance to stay overnight at Highclere Castle and eat like royalty.
After years of waiting, the Downton Abbey movie is almost here, and fans will be able to reunite with (most of) their favorite characters, including Dowager Countess Violet Crawley, Mr. Carson, Anna, Mrs. Hughes, Lady Mary, and more. When the film premieres in the U.S. on September 20, we’ll see the household deal with a visit from King George V and Queen Mary—intrigue and sassy comments from Violet are sure to ensue. However, super fans will be delighted to know that even after the movie debuts, there’s still a way to keep the spirit of Downton alive…by staying in the real-life castle where the series was filmed. Yes, Highclere Castle is now listed on Airbnb for the bargain price of £150 per night (roughly $188), as a one-night-only, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Only two lucky guests will get to stay—and they’ll be treated to all the luxurious meals and amenities Downton (err, Highclere) has to offer.
“It’s an absolute privilege and pleasure to call Highclere Castle my home and I am delighted to be able to share it on Airbnb for a truly unique stay,” host Lady Carnarvon says. “Highclere Castle has been in the Carnarvon family since 1679 and has an incredibly rich history.”
Per the announcement, guests will enjoy cocktails in the Saloon, followed by a three-course dinner with the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon in the State Dining Room. (Yes, there will be a butler waiting on you.) Then, it’s time for coffee in the library, before turning in at one of the Gallery bedrooms, which offers stunning views of the property's 1,000 acres. The next morning, you’ll be treated to a “delicious breakfast,” before embarking on a private tour of Highclere’s grounds. Once it’s time to leave, you’ll receive a gift from Lord and Lady Carnarvon “so you can enjoy a little bit of Highclere Castle at home.”
Your stay also entitles you to exploring rooms you’ll recognize from the tv show, such as the Drawing Room. However, as you’d expect with an esteemed establishment like Highclere Castle, there are a few rules guests need to follow during their stay. Pets are not allowed—although there are “nine friendly dogs on site"—nor is smoking. All newspapers must also be ironed, and butlers are limited to one per person, which we can’t imagine anyone taking issue with. For dinnertime, cocktail dress is “de rigueur” (aka required by etiquette), so now’s the time to whip out any Flapper-era clothing, if you have it. Lastly, gossip is restricted to the downstairs quarters only—the Dowager Countess won’t be pleased.
To book the property, which will only be listed during midweek (what is a weekend, after all?), head to Airbnb on October 1. Reservations will go live at 12 pm BST, or 7 am EST—since the listing is projected to be very popular, qualifying guests will need to have a verified Airbnb profile, positive reviews, and “be passionate about Downton Abbey,” according to the Airbnb page. You’ll also need to identify the guest staying with you. If you successfully get the booking, you and your guest will get to stay at Highclere on November 26th—say hi to Mrs. Hughes for us.