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With the much-anticipated Downton Abbey The Movie hitting screens this September, travelers have never had more wanderlust to visit sprawling country estates. And while fans now have the chance to rent the real-life castle from the hit series on Airbnb, there are plenty of other ways (and locations) to live like a Crawley for a day. From the United Kingdom Berkshires and the U.S. Berkshires to Scotland, France, and Ireland, these are the top estates, chateaus, and manors that will transport you to the very scenes of Downton Abbey.
Cliveden House in Berkshire, United Kingdom
Straight from the scenes of Season 2, Episode 1, you can actually step into the world of Downton Abbey at Cliveden House, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property. Plus, the famed estate has welcomed actual royal guests for over 350 years, including Meghan Markle who stayed here the night before her wedding. You can also stroll through the postcard-perfect estate gardens that rival those of the show. And like Highclere Castle, Cliveden was designed by architect Charles Barry. Oh, and the storied past of the property his just as dramatic as the television show. Take the infamous Profumo Affair for example (that nearly took down the British parliament in the 60s); a British political scandal where a John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War and Christine Keeler, a 19-year-old accused Russian Spy had a love affair. The only thing missing is Maggie Smith.
Hotel Château in the Loire Valley, France
While Downton Abbey welcomes many distinguished guests, so to did the newly-opened Hotel Château. The former country home of the Baron Jacques Pineau de Viennay, the Château has played host to some of the greatest philosophers and minds from the Age of Enlightenment—Voltaire, Mozart, Rousseau—as well as nobles, writers, design teams (i.e., Louis Vuitton), and some of France's most recognized individuals. Built in 1760, the chateau has been returned to its former splendor after a private restoration. Now, guests can relax like nobility and the Crawleys in the French countryside and enjoy one of the 17 stunning suites, including arguably the most luxurious in all of Europe. Surely Cora and Lady Mary would approve.
Adare Manor in County Limerick, Ireland
If there is one part of Downton Abbey more famous than the building, it’s the sprawling grounds. If that’s what you’re after, then you might not get a more spectacular setting than one of the world's top new hotels and castles, Adare Manor. The 840-acre estate (the size of Central Park) dates back to the 1700s, and the Earl of Dunraven once owned the property. The 19th-century castle was built in the same era as Downton Abbey and modeled after the great houses and cathedrals of Europe.
Blantyre in Lenox, Massachusetts
Yes, a Downton Abbey experience is even available in the U.S. One of only 12 remaining gilded-age mansions in the region, Blantyre has been called the "Downton Abbey of the U.S. Berkshires." So much so that the show's creator Julien Fellowes, a former guest, was even quoted as saying the "Downton Abbey flavor seeped out of Blantyre." Set on a 110-acre estate, the 1902 mansion retains its old-world ambiance with original wood paneling, hand-carved molding, leaded stained glass, oversized fireplaces, and a music room to enjoy live piano entertainment and after dinner drinks.
Links House in Dornoch, Scotland
Formally a manse house for the Free Church of Scotland and built in 1843, Links House has become the most luxurious boutique hotel in the North Highlands. The 15 bedroom property recently acquired the former kitchen gardens (similar to Downton Abbey where many favorite scenes took place) and the structure has been restored to its former glory. Additionally, guests can feel the true Downton experience by partaking in traditional Highland activities such as deer stalking, shooting and clay pigeon shooting with expeditions led by the hotel's very own Manager of Highland Experiences, Alastair Kennedy, who channels his inner Charlie Carson.
The Ivy Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland
For those looking to dine like a Crawley for a night, head to Baltimore's gilded mansion, turned five-star hotel The Ivy Hotel, another American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, for Sunday Supper at Magdalena. Guests of Maryland's only Relais & Chateaux property can enjoy a traditional British roast reimagined into a seasonal three-course menu ($65). Inspired by the British family custom of a Sunday Roast, chef Mark Levy's Sunday Supper will offer a seasonal three-course menu featuring classic British fare as well as some options from Magdalena's spring menu.