The Dowager Countess would most certainly frown upon this: The real-life noble family that lives in Highclere Castle—the setting for Downton Abbey—is selling day tours to the famous site for £7,900. The cost includes tea with the the eighth Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, a tour of the state rooms, lunch in the dining room, and a tour of the grounds. No mention of whether or not the "downstairs" will be available for viewing.
I love a bit of historical fantasy as much as the next girl, but the frantic leg-humping that Downton is getting in the US is frankly nauseating. It's beautifully made, and there are undoubtedly some very talented people working for the programme, but Simon Schama is spot on: the corseted cultural necrophilia of it all is just revolting. It's incredibly depressing that the US seems so besotted by strange fantasy-land depictions of British history (with bonus points awarded if you stick in a Royal who finds redemption with the sturdy support of a sympathetic commoner). It's so bizarre. Americans wet themselves at the mere whiff of a stately home, but when it comes to uncorseted drama, do they ecstatically lose bladders control? Do they buggery.