'Downton Abbey' in Rear View

We pay tribute and bid reluctant farewell to one extraordinary TV drama, take you to the Yorkshire estate where the series was shot and introduce you to the real-life lord and lady of the manor.

Similar Topics:


What will we do with our Sunday nights now that we will no longer hear that warm and welcoming opening theme to Downton Abbey that simultaneously soothes and excites us? How ever shall we carry on without weekly helpings of the trials and upheavals of Mr. Bates and Anna, the calming demeanor and sage advice of Lord and Lady Grantham, the mannered precision and flawlessly starched collars of Mr. Carson, the devious (but occasionally empathy-inducing) machinations of Barrow, the complex soap opera that is Lady Mary and — of course — the rapier wit and legendary snark of the Dowager Countess?

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle

PBS has been treating audiences to excellent scripted dramas for years on series like Masterpiece Theater, Masterpiece Classics and Mystery, but what is it about this one that is so profoundly captivating to so many people? Sharply defined characters, bullseye casting, intelligent dialog and meticulous period authenticity are among the show's keynote attributes that are cited as essentials to its continued success and acclaim. But more than that, this series somehow found its way to that hard-to-define thing that's greater than the sum of its parts, an overarching gestalt, a perfect pitch that enabled it to reach deep into audiences far beyond the network's usual devotees – making it one of the most watched television series in the world and Britain's most popular TV drama ever.

State Room With Stone Arches

State Room With Stone Arches

For those who have fallen under its spell, there's an undeniable draw to the heartwarming narrative and interplay of the formidably large company of characters distinctly divided between aristocrats and servants — and to the setting itself and the beautiful aesthetic with which the show is shot and constructed. It's like that great novel that you can't stop reading and hope will just never end. And it keeps welcoming you back while deftly and gently reminding those who would yearn for simpler times that those times may not, in reality, have been so simple.

Saloon and Carved Stone Arches

Saloon and Carved Stone Arches

We at HGTV have no idea what we will do after the finale, but a lot of us are about to be genuinely sad. In fact, some of us are positively in denial. What we can do (and, in fact, is something we specialize in), is show you beautiful pictures and informative video. To that end, and as we bid a melancholy farewell to one outstanding television show, we revisit Highclere Castle, the "real" Downton Abbey – via Castles on Camera, a special HGTV first aired a couple of years ago.

Downton Abbey, we will miss you. In the words of Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (actually, in this case, quoting French poet François Villon), Mais ou sont les neiges d’antan? Translation: "Where are the snows of yesteryear?"

The Real 'Downton Abbey'

See All Photos
The stately home that millions of Downton Abbey fans have grown to adore is no movie set. It's an actual working estate in England's countryside and home to modern day members of the real British aristocracy. Go inside Highclere Castle to see its lavish rooms and meet the real-life lord and lady of the manor.

A Castle in Real Life

Just a Modest Country Home

Windows on the Past

Countess of Carnarvon

Photo By: 0

Lord of the Manor

First Impressions

Great Room

Grand Entrance

How Many Bedrooms?!

Grounds Tour

The House Staff, Upstairs and Down

Photo By: 0

Gardens, Monuments and Artifacts

Royalty From an Earlier Era

Castles on Camera: Video Highlights

HGTV takes you to Highclere Castle, the setting for Downton Abbey, and to two other famous British estates.

Welcome to Castles on Camera

Castles on Camera: Royal Residences

Another Stately Manor

See All Photos
Visit Althorp House, the regal estate of England's famed Spencer family and the childhood home of the late Princess Diana.   

Althorp House

Althorp House

The 9th Earl of Spencer

Althorp House: Picture Gallery

Althorp House: Portrait Collection

Althorp House

Althorp Library

Althorp House: Stables and Gatehouse

Next Up

Tiny Luxury: 9 Things You Gain When You Go Tiny

Living tiny doesn't mean you have to rough it. See how tiny home designers Tyson and Michelle Speiss pack luxurious amenities into houses measuring 330 square feet or less.

It's Time to Vote on Your Favorite Outdoor Spaces

Vote for your favorite stunning outdoor spaces in the HGTV Ultimate Outdoor Awards.

Take a Look Inside the 2016 San Francisco Decorator Showcase

Peek into one of the country's top designer showhouses featuring work by the Bay Area's most celebrated designers.

Step Inside the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Show House

See how some of the nation's most celebrated designers and architects transformed a luxury Manhattan home to benefit the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club.

Get Your Game of Thrones Fix With These Luxe Interiors

Can't wait until Sunday to return to Westeros? Check out these luxe interiors inspired by GOT. Plus, find out which Game of Thrones house is the one for you!

Forever Dreaming of Infinity-Edge Pools? Check Out These 11 Stunners

These 11 pools pair an infinity edge with a stunning view to create the ultimate luxury spot for lounging.

What's Your Lottery Dream Home? 12 Places We'll Be Moving With Our Winnings

If (when?) you pick those magic winning numbers, where would you live? We're dreaming of our favorite spots, just in time for the new HGTV series 'My Lottery Dream Home.'

3 Cool Converted Homes You Could Live In

Step inside three houses with intriguing past lives.

Take a Peek Inside This Stunning, Fully-Stocked Party Barn

Architectural designer Kevin Transue transformed an ordinary utility barn into a stunning, fully-stocked entertainment space complete with a state-of-the-art wet bar, full catering kitchen and many more drool-worthy amenities.

Dream Sweetly in These 5 Serene Bedrooms

Neutral palettes, luxurious linens and soft lighting produce only the sweetest of dreams in these five serene bedroom retreats.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts