Fans of Downton Abbey are not ready to let go of the costume drama that told the story of the Crawley family at the turn of the century. So to give the fans what they want while the idea of a Downton Abbey movie is still under consideration (and to capitalize on Downton Abbey fever), there are now ways that fans can experience a piece of the grandeur of Downton Abbey and Highclere Castle. From Downton Abbey live action role play (LARPING) and Downton Abbey vacations/Christmas Balls, think of it as a trip to Disney World for adults who want to get lost in 1920.
Alastair Bruce served as historical advisor on the set of Downton Abbey and assisted on all details from manners to dress and place settings for the PBS series. Bruce helped the show’s cast on personal carriage, posture, and even eye contact. But now that the series has ended, Lady Fiona Carnarvon of Highclere Castle was looking for new opportunities and new ways to market her beloved Highclere Castle.
Are you still missing Downton Abbey on Sunday nights? Perhaps you’ve imagined yourself as a noble or a lady’s maid, and what would you pay for that experience? Well, there is a LARP (Live Action Role Play) just for you called Fairweather Manor. Fairweather Manor is actually Zamek Moszna, a castle in Poland, which doubles as England around the time of the first world war, and a wedding is about to take place. What role would you like to play? A butler, a footman, or maybe a Countess, attending the fete?
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Fairweather Manor’s website certainly is enticing, and it invites you to join them for your very own Downton Abbey-esque experience of your own.
“We invite you to take the leap with us, back one hundred years into a past where class and social status was everything and where the ideal of service was still very much alive.”
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In terms of cost, it is less expensive to play the help than it is to play one of the upstairs folk (less glamorous lodging) at approximately $150, while if you want to be a noble, you can expect to pay approximately $400. Costuming is extra. In a weekend, over 130 people from around the world join in on the LARP Downton Abbey-style experience. Fairweather Manor even provides a video to give potential LARP-ers a glimpse into the experience.
But if LARPing in Poland is not your idea of living Downton Abbey, you might think of attending a Christmas Ball at Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey was filmed. A company called Friendly Planet Travel is offering a Downton-inspired six-day tour called the Downton-centric tour of Great Britain, which is built around an evening of holiday festivities, including singing carols around an enormous tree, and then sitting down to an elegant three-course dinner with wine pairings. The six-day holiday also includes a champagne tea, and a bus tour of London. The trip this year is scheduled from December 14 -19, leaving time for you to get home to your actual family Christmas.
Already booked for Christmas, then check out The Barge Lady, a Downton-themed cruise down the Thames, around London, and Oxford. Or you can check out London Lodge, which is a smaller structure on the grounds of Highclere Castle, where you can stay overnight, as it is now a bed and breakfast, just available for 2016.
So fingers crossed for Julian Fellowes to start working on a Downton Abbey movie, but in the meantime, you can book a bit of Downton Abbey for yourself.
Does a Downton Abbey vacation sound like a good time to you?
[Image by Oli Scarff/Getty Images]