Ever fancied playing Maggie Smith’s formidable Violet Crawley or seen yourself as Hugh Bonneville’s charismatic Robert Crawley? It may well be possible to slip right in to their shoes this month, as 12 real Downton Abbey experiences are up for grabs on Christie’s website.
Real Downton Abbey experiences at Highclere Castle in Hampshire include dinner for eight, an overnight group stay in Lady Sybil’s, Lady Edith’s, and Lady Cora’s quarters, a lesson with Highclere’s butler on table setting, and a behind-the-scenes tour of the House of Lords plus afternoon tea with Baroness Jenkins.
The only catch? You may need a sizeable bank balance. The starting bid for the Downton dinner experience is £5,000, and the overnight stay (including dinner and cocktails with the real owners, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon) is expected to sell for more than £10,000.
More affordable prizes in the auction include a picnic for four in the grounds of the 5,000-acre estate, with gardens designed by Capability Brown. Bids start from £250, with a visit to the castle’s cellars from £500.
Coinciding with the centenary of the First World War, the auction will donate all proceeds raised to Heroes at Highclere, which helps various armed forces charities. Highclere Castle has a great connection with veterans; the Hampshire property was used as a healing house during the First World War.
The Heroes at Highclere auction will continue until 14th August, see more details here.