Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Attend a Christmas Ball at the real Downton Abbey

Fans of Downton Abbey don’t need to wait for long to return to the famous estate and sprawling grounds; there is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to attend a special Christmas Ball at Highclere Castle this festive season.

You could pretend to be the Crawleys this Christmas. Photo by ITV
Dubbed the Christmas Ball at Downton Abbey, it promises to be a “quintessentially British Christmas evening” in one of television’s most famous locations. Run by Premium Tours, guests will be collected at the not-so-glamorous Victoria Coach Station but then transported to the estate, a 90-minute drive away.
The Castle will be decked out for the celebration, complete with roaring open fire. The evening kicks off with champagne and canapes in the Saloon and guests will be able to roam freely through the drawing room, music room and smoking room to explore.
If you’re lucky, you might even see Highclere Castle in the snow. Photo by Highclere Castle
Throughout the evening, expert guides will be on hand to answer questions about the history of the building, artwork, furniture and some insider insight into the filming of Downton Abbey. Lord and Lady Carnarvon, who live at the Castle, are also tipped to make an appearance.
Dinner will be served in the Library with a full three-course meal full of local produce coming straight up from the Highclere kitchens, with plenty of wine to go around. There will also be a raffle with a chance to win prizes like Eurostar tickets and champagne and a performance of Christmas Carols afterwards.
Neil Wootton, CEO of Premium Tours told Lonely Planet: “We have worked with Lady Carnarvon and her team for ten years now, helping to showcase the historic venue. The festive celebration at Highclere Castle is one of the highlights of our calendar helping everybody to pause for a while and get into the Christmas spirit.” The Downton Abbey Christmas Ball is on 15 December and the entire night will run from around 4pm to 1am, including your return trip to London. There are still last-minute tickets available, costing £499 per person from Premium Tours. Despite the fact that Downton Abbey ended in 2015 after six seasons, Highclere Castle is bound to stay in the public imagination for a while yet. Filming is underway at the Castle since September 2018 with most of the main characters making a return. The Downton Abbey film is due for release in September 2019, meaning next year it might be too busy with tourists to get a seat at the table.

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