A Spot of Downton Abbey :Dressing Downton at the Biltmore Estate

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The moment I heard about this, I had to share: Period costume exhibition at the Biltmore Estate. I love costumes and my family and I love the Biltmore. (Check out our family friendly travel tips to the big estate here). Take  America’s fairytale residence (8,000+ acres) of rolling landscape nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of  North Carolina (Asheville to be exact), then  wrap that up with post-Edwardian period costumes from the PBS Masterpiece Television show “Downton Abbey®” and you have yourself a spot of time travel (about 100 years worth)!

Downton Abbey at the Biltmore
Downton Abbey (PBS) Season 1, 2010. Shown from left: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern. FILM STILL CREDIT:©Carnival Films.

The PBS Masterpiece  drama series “Downton Abbey®” has drawn fans into the comings and goings of the British Crawley family and their servants at  Highclere Castle since 2010. The show, created by House of Lords  actor & writer, Julian Fellowes is now in it’s fifth season and shows no waning in popularity. The fictional aristocratic Crawleys share similarities with the Biltmore’s George W. Vanderbilt and his family , with their trials and tribulations of running a stately manor home at the turn of the century. (Check out the servants quarters and the secret servant passages in the walls at the Biltmore- what dramas could have unfolded behind those doors? Did a Spratt-like butler linger in the shadows, listening?)

“Dressing Downton at the Biltmore: Changing Fashion for Changing Times” celebrates fashion from the post-Edwardian era. The 40+ piece exhibition of costumes, from servant uniforms to lavish evening finery, were designed by British costumer Cosprop Ltd for the famous  television series. The costume exhibition graces the halls (and rooms) of the Biltmore from the 5th of February until May 25th 2015. To further celebrate the exhibition, the Biltmore has organized special tours:  a Behind the Scenes-Upstairs Downstairs, a package stay: Dressing Downton Hotel Package at the Inn on Biltmore Estate and  afternoon tea at the Library Lounge (Inn on Biltmore Estate) complete with scones, teas and finger sandwiches- watercress anyone?

The Biltmore, Asheville
Exploring the Biltmore Estate with kids. Photo by SD White.


But if you are champing at the bit already, head over to PBS and take their Downton Abbey® quiz here. The 2015 general admission for the Biltmore is $49 for adults and $24.50 for children 10 to 16. Check out their website: www.Biltmore.com and look under the Special Offers tab for savings.

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