If you’re in the UK, you’re already enjoying the pomp and circumstances of Downton Abbey’s third season (North Americans will have to patiently wait—like Lady Mary sort of did for Matthew Crawley—until the new year), regardless, you can live like the Grantham’s tout de suite in one of these country manor houses-cum-hotels.
Old-fashioned on the outside, but hipper than Lady Sybil on the inside, this hundred-year-old manor house is in the heart of the Cotswolds lets you get that Downton feeling while wandering the grounds—55 acres of woods, meadows and parkland, in fact—but keeps you firmly planted in the present with its cool, contemporary interiors, including two pools (indoor and out).
Drama abounds here. The good kind of drama. There’s a build-up as make your way onto the 500 acre property: a mile-long, tree-lined driveway. You arrive at a regal 18th century country manor house, walk into your room to be greeted by a handsome Turkish diplomat, just kidding, more like a plush poster bed and windows swathed in yards of luxurious fabrics, but never say never.
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire
If you’re a dog lover like the Earl of Grantham, you’d be pleased to know this Georgian manor house which now houses 133 guest rooms is pet-friendly, so your pup can join you in the Hampshire countryside. The hotel even has their own live-in canine, a beautiful black Lab named Oliver Beckington. It will take you just shy of an hour to get here from London, so you won’t be too fatigued to whip out witty retorts à la the Dowager Countess.
This Victorian-style home was once a fox hunting lodge, but since 1979 it’s been a cozy 17-suite inn owner-operated. Lady Mary Crawley is likely too dignified to ever hop in a rowboat, but if you’re not above it then that’s one of the activities the area offers on nearby Rutland Water, the largest man-made lake in Western Europe. Perhaps most thrilling are the dinners made by Michelin-starred Chef Aaron Patterson—just avoid talking politics to keep it civilized.
While it’s not in England proper, this Scottish castle erected in 1870 is certainly fit for the Crawley family. With views to the Irish Sea, it might be as close as Robert would ever get to his disinherited daughter living in Ireland. But you don’t have those sorts of complicated family issues, so you’ll just be able to enjoy a meander through the lush gardens and post-stroll soak in the claw foot tub completely carefree.