Downton Abbey, the titular estate of the hit British period drama, is one of the most iconic TV residences of the 21st century. The grand staircase, the opulent dining room, the lush greens. Man, don't you just wish you could somehow live there, too?
Well soon you'll be able to... sort of. The estate featured in Downton Abbey is actually a real place. Highclere Castle is located in Newbury, England, and it will soon open its very fancy doors to allow the public to stay in newly restored buildings called London Lodge, which were added on to the existing London Lodge gateway in 1840.
For more than two years, the buildings in London Lodge underwent restoration by the current Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, whose family has owned the estate for centuries. Starting Valentine's Day weekend, you'll be able to stay the night in London Lodge and live like you're one of the Crawleys. Well, at least like a houseguest of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, as the Countess recently described to The Seattle Times.
But before your stay, you're definitely going to want to catch Season 5 of the series, which premieres stateside on Jan. 4, 2015 on PBS, to pick up some inspiration for your weekend planning. Do you want to have a Lady Mary-Lady Edith level brawl? You could have a fling with a foreign dignitary. Or maybe you'd like to throw some old lady shade a la the Dowager over a cup of tea? Hold on to your corsets, everybody, because the possibilities are endless with an overnight stay at London Lodge. At least that's what my Downton Abbey-obsessed imagination tells me.
While this news has me as excited as Thomas after successfully completing a scheme, this actually isn't the first time regular people were invited to stay in the real-life Downton Abbey. Back in August, Christie's auctioned off a slew of "experiences" at Highclere Castle, one of which was an overnight stay in the bedrooms of Lady Sybil, Lady Edith and Lady Cora used during the filming of the show's first season. Raking in $27,000, this was the top-earning lot of the auction, which raised money for armed forces charities.
If you're feeling fancy and are ready to book your stay at London Lodge, you can head over to its official website to find more information. For those of us who might not be able to make it across the pond anytime soon, the beautiful scenery and dependable dose of drama of Season 5 of Downton Abbey should be enough to tide you over.