Viewers have seen the aristocratic Crawley family celebrate many a Christmas on the hit historical drama Downtown Abbey; now, fans are getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how the show’s real-life castle looks during the holiday season.
On Friday’s (December 23) edition of the Today show, NBC News London Correspondent, Kelly Cobiella, was on location at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England, where Julian Fellowes‘ period drama is filmed. The enormous country house, which was built in 1679 and largely renovated in the 1840s, was all decked out for the Christmas holiday.
The centerpiece of the house is a 25-foot Christmas tree, which Lady Carnarvon revealed is “bigger than Windsor Castle’s Christmas tree” and needed at least 20 people to erect.
This year, the tree, as well as the rest of the house, is decorated in an Ancient Egyptian theme, highlighting Tutankamun and the gold and treasures discovered by Lord Carnarvon’s great-grandfather, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon.
Highclere Castle – better known as the real-life Downton Abbey – comes to life with opulent decorations around the holidays. 🎄 @KellyCobiella gives us a look inside. pic.twitter.com/vuOg9HtB7Q
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 23, 2022
Cobiella went on to reveal that the castle boasts 300 rooms, many of them lavishly decorated for the Christmas season. Across the castle’s inside and outside, there are a staggering 60 Christmas trees. The dining room is also immaculately prepared with a table ready for a feast.
And, to truly get in the festive spirit, the castle also offers a selection of Christmas cocktails, including its signature gin and tonic. Highclere’s head butler even took time out to fix up a drink for Cobiella, who described it as “delicious.”
Downton Abbey, which premiered in September 2010, aired five Christmas Day specials from 2011 to 2015, each of them feature-length episodes that accompanied their respective seasons. The Season 6 Christmas episode acted as the series finale and saw major characters reunite to enjoy the holidays, with the final few minutes dedicated to the New Year celebrations.
Highclere Castle is open to the public for most of December for afternoon teas and Christmas cocktails.
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