‘Downton Abbey’ opens its doors with Airbnb listing


Wed, Sep 18, 2019 - Page 6

Two Downton Abbey fans will soon get the chance to live like a Crawley for a night when Highclere Castle, the main filming location for the Emmy Award-winning drama, lists on Airbnb.

As a promotion for the premiere of the film on Friday in the US, the estate in Hampshire, England, is opening its doors to two guests for a one-night stay on Nov. 26.

George Herbert, the 8th Earl of Carnavon, and his wife, Countess Fiona, live at the castle when it is not open to the public.

They will invite the guests for cocktails in the saloon, followed by dinner in the state dining room, where they will be served by the castle’s butler.

Then they will receive coffee in the library before retiring to one of the principal bedrooms, with views of the rolling hills.

In the morning, the guests will receive a private tour of the castle grounds, which include gardens of roses and lavender, along with beech and oak woodlands.

“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,” Lady Carnarvon said in a statement announcing the listing.

Booking is to open on Oct. 1 at 12pm BST and will cost £150 (US$186.40).

The history of Highclere dates to 749, when an Anglo-Saxon king gave the estate to the bishops of Winchester, who built a medieval palace and gardens.

In 1679, the palace was rebuilt after being purchased by Robert Sawyer, a direct grandfather of the current earl, and then was transformed into Highclere Castle with renovations in 1842.

During the summer months, the castle opens its doors to about 1,200 visitors per day, five days a week.

While Downton Abbey aired from 2010 to 2015, the castle’s great hall, library, music room, drawing room, saloon, dining room and bedrooms were used for filming.

The series followed Lord and Lady Grantham as they navigated Edwardian England with their family and servants from the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 until 1925.

It was nominated for 69 Emmys and won 15.