21 things Americans think about Britain because of Downton Abbey

Hit period drama Downton Abbey sure is entertaining, but it's also spreading some rumours about life as a British citizen...

Downton Abbey is responsible for a lot. Huge viewing figures, Lily James’ Hollywood career, that family argument on Christmas Day 2012… and also quite a lot of assumptions about what we get up to over here in the UK. 


The hit ITV period drama is charming, endlessly entertaining and incredibly popular with our American cousins across the Atlantic. But it’s also rife with all sorts of misconceptions about Brits, from hats and weekday drinking to technology and the class system. 

You see, times have changed since Robert was Lord of the Manor back in 1925. (And not everyone was as posh and proper as the Granthams back then either.)

But after five brilliant years in the company of the Crawleys, Americans must all think that… 


We always wear hats

And we go upstairs to take them off

We all have butlers

We always take afternoon tea

We don’t like Americans very much 

We spar endlessly with our extended family

We are resistant to all new technology

We drink cocktails most evenings – and wine every evening 

We dress up for dinner 

And ring a gong or a bell when we want it to be served

We always have breakfast in bed

We are permanently clinging onto the past 

We think being unmarried is the worst 

We are often condescending

We use strange slang 

We can only talk about sex using metaphor 

We are always terribly polite

But often blackmail each other 

We love social structure and the class system 

We are rather melodramatic 

And we sit around a lot not doing much most of the time

Downton Abbey returns to ITV on Sunday 20th September at 9:00pm 

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