How To Live The Downton Abbey English Christmas Dream (If You're Not A Millionaire)
Because we can't all be sassy Maggie Smith all the time...
When it comes to English stereotype cliche bingo, Downton Abbey comes pretty high on the list.
Ask many a foreigner and they all assume we regularly take high tea with stately dames, get frisky with ‘the help’ and spend every Christmas swanning around stately mansions, throwing sassy, withering one liners as we sip buckets of port.
Sadly, the reality is that while most English people wish they were Maggie Smith, the reality is a lot more budget.
Thankfully, MTV headed down to the Isle of Wight to experience the next best thing - an escapist weekend getaway that allows you to live out your Downton Abbey dreams in style.
Hire An Enormous Ye Olde English Manor House
Just because you’re not a gazillionaire, doesn’t mean you can’t at least pretend at being one. Blue Chip Holidays have a host of incredible properties available for hire. We opted for Kingston Manor, a preposterously enormous Grade II Listed, 13th century manor house that boasts (brace yourselves):
15 acres of grounds (with a CARP POND)
8 bedrooms (sleeping up to 16 people)
An actual library snug room
Stables (you know, if you want to bring your horse away for the weekend)
An outdoor hot tub
A detached barn housing a gym and full size snooker table
It’s a building so big it takes you around three minutes to walk from end to end (and that’s getting your briskness on), and full of so many fascinating ye olde nooks and crannies, immaculate detail and all-round festive charm that you’ll have a grin slapped to your face from the moment you shut the door.
Oh, and did we mention it had SEVEN bathrooms? Because it does, and each one is pretty much bigger than most London flats.
Go For Lots Of Meandering Walks Around The Grounds
That Downton lot don’t ‘arf like to go for a wander.
When you’re staying in a place like Kingston Manor though, you understand why. When you’re not burning out your step-o-meter inside, you’ll want to stroll around its enormous, beautifully kept grounds. Even better than the topiary? The nearby farms housing these cuties.
Get a Private Chef To Cook You Something Swanky
There’s no greater pleasure than someone else cooking and bringing you food. Blue Chip offer an array of ‘experiences’ you can add onto your booking, including the option to hire in a private chef for the weekend to make you something fancy. Upon checking, we had these Michelin-looking menus waiting for us.
Alas, our chef was ill, meaning we had to improvise. And lo, we did replace a traditional Christmas meal with THE BIGGEST CHINESE ORDER THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN.
Buy Literally All The Christmas Jumpers
It simply wouldn’t be Christmas without an array of gaudy/amazing festive fashion monstrosities.
Bonus points for anything that lights up, blares out Mariah Carey or is tinsel-tactic.
Eat Literally All The Junk Food
Everything in Downton Abbey looks so goddamn fancy, but the modern reality is that sometimes - when the quail vol-au-vents and caviar hors d’oeuvres are simply all sold out - you need to fall back on the tried and tested English Christmas classics.
Mainly kilograms of Maltesers and pyramids of Chocolate Oranges.
Toast Your Toes by A Roaring Fire
It’s winter. It’s cold. Your weekend country mansion has four fireplaces. It’d be rude not to.
Bring The Family Together
Whether it's your blood family or your fam family, Christmas is all about bringing your nearest and dearest together for a time of board games, board game arguments, over-eating, over-drinking and constant, unrelenting LOLs.
And hey, if you end up arguing with each other, at least with a weekend away, you’ve got a hot tub in which to literally blow off steam.
MTV Travelled With... Blue Chip Holidays offers three nights in the eight-bedroom property from £1,400 on a self-catering basis. For more information or to book, visit www.bluechipholidays.co.uk / 0333 331 4275.