Caroline Goldstein
September 18, 2019 8:06 am

To celebrate the September 20th premiere of the highly anticipated Downton Abbey movie, the Lord and Lady Carnarvon have listed their home, Highclere Castle, for a one-night stay on Airbnb. How modern of them. 

Although the British castle has casually belonged to the Carnavorn family since 1679, us crude Americans will know the 300-room “stately home” better as the BBC series’ titular residence and the backdrop to some of TV’s most significant moments. Remember the time a paralyzed Matthew Crawley miraculously leaped out of his wheelchair to save a falling tea tray?

So what, exactly, does a visit to the queen’s favorite TV home entail?

It all starts at 4 p.m. on November 26th, according to the listing, when two lucky guests “will enjoy an exclusive evening drinking cocktails in the Saloon followed by a traditional dinner with the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon in the State Dining Room, being waited on by Highclere Castle’s own butler.” No word on whether that butler is actually Mr. Carson. 

Then, after dinner, “coffee will be served in the Library before you retire to one of the Gallery bedrooms with an en-suite bathroom and views over 1,000 acres of rolling parkland.”  

Check-out is at 11 a.m. the following morning, after you “enjoy a delicious breakfast prior to a private tour of Highclere Castle’s extensive grounds.” Before you depart to your castle-less life, Lord and Lady Carnarvon will bequeath you with “a special gift…so you can enjoy a little bit of Highclere Castle at home.” Intriguing. Could it be one of Lord Grantham’s beloved snuff boxes?

To score the booking, you need to have a verified Airbnb profile, positive reviews, and “be passionate about Downton Abbey,” which you’ll ostensibly have to prove in your written application.

The listing is priced at just £187. But the competition for this once-in-a-lifetime experience will be stiff with other Downton Abbeyists. Set an alarm for October 1st, when the booking goes live. Oh, and heads up: Because the castle is literally from the 17th century, the guest bedroom doesn’t have air conditioning, a TV, or WiFi.   

Even after scouring the Downton Abbey Airbnb listing like our livelihoods depended on it (ask us about things to do nearby—we’re partial to “having a go at polo in Hampshire”), we’re left with some burning questions. Will you overhear Mrs. Patmore telling off Daisy in the kitchen for some infinitesimal culinary sin, like failing to brush the egg-wash on the currant scones? Will you be haunted by Sybil’s ghost? Will you be delightfully, viciously dragged by the Dowager Countess of Grantham (or perhaps she’ll ask you what, exactly, is a “week-end”)? 

These are all questions for the fortunate winners to find out, and for us to write fanfiction about.

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