Want to live in Downton Abbey? Well you canů26th Apr 16 | Xpose Magazine
XPOSÉ Magazine steps back in time with Downton Abbey inspired mini-breaks
Here at XPOSÉ HQ we’ve been suffering with Downton withdrawal symptoms ever since our favourite TV show aired its final episode. Without Cora, Mary and the rest of the Crawley clan we’re finding it hard to get our weekly fix of grandeur so we’ve decided to take action. In the absence of enough spare cash to hire a couple of dozen servants we’re opting for a Downton Abbey inspired mini-break. Ireland’s rich history means it’s full of grand country estates much like the one inhabited by the Crawleys. In fact, super fans will remember Tom Branson name-checking the stunning Powerscourt House, situated in his hometown of County Wicklow. This month we’re packing up our Sunday finest and embarking on a tour that brings us back in time to the good old days. Mr Carson would be proud...
In Laois: Ballyfin
If it’s the Downton experience you want, then it’s Downton you’ll get at Ballyfin. Built in 1820, the staff at Ballyfin have fully embraced Downton Abbey mania and even line up at the steps to welcome guests just like the staff at the Abbey would have. With only 20 rooms, Ballyfin is a cosy yet impressive house built by Irish architects Richard and William Vitruvius Morrison for the Coote family with entertaining in mind. Many guests choose to book the whole house for special occasions but if you’re one of them you might want to start saving now. The five-star hotel is expensive by any standard. Ballyfin was made for exploring. From the well-stocked cellar to the picturesque conservatory reached via secret door in the library, we recommend making time to just potter around. Guests who fancy fully immersing themselves in the Downton way of life can head to the hotel’s specially dedicated costume room, packed with period fashion that Lady Mary herself would be jealous of. See www.ballyfin.com for bookings.
In Cavan: Farnham Estate
Farnham Estate Hotel is the perfect mix of old-school glamour and modern comfort. From delicious afternoon tea in the main house to leisurely walks through the stunning woodlands, Farnham Estate gives a real taste of what life was like for the aristocracy in the 1900s. Indulge your inner lady of leisure with a relaxing treatment in the relaxing health spa. You’ll notice that everyone seems to be wandering around in their dressing gowns and while Lady Grantham won’t have approved, it makes for a most relaxing atmosphere. So why are there so many people walking around partially dressed? It’s because all guests have full access to the amazing state-of-the-art health spa and thermal rooms which boast an indoor/outdoor pool, steam rooms, saunas and much more. Once you’re finished being pampered, get dressed for dinner and enjoy a delicious meal prepared with local ingredients in the Botanica restaurant and if you’ve still got room, we recommend retiring to the atmospheric Cellar Bar for a nightcap. See www.farnhamestate.ie for bookings.
In Wicklow: Powerscourt
Nestled at the foot of the Sugarloaf mountain, Powerscourt Hotel is the first word in luxury in Ireland. It also happens to be the only Irish house name-checked in Downton Abbey. Powerscourt is the perfect hotel to visit if your passion lies with the great outdoors. The hotel boasts award-winning gardens so stunning that National Geographic named them the third best gardens in the world. Take advantage of Powerscourt’s River Walk, laid in 1868 by the Viscount of Powerscourt so that his family could make the most of the Dargle river in comfort. The 5km walk is ideal for walking off the previous night's fine food and wine. If your interest in Downton goes beyond the big house and into the village then a stroll around Enniskerry will leave you feeling like one of the extras. Enniskerry has somehow managed to retain its old-school charm with beautiful churches, cafés and antique shops. It’s a luxurious mini-break that will catapult you back in time. See www.powerscourthotel.com for bookings.
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