The tourist groups are parting with their hard-earned cash to make beds, shine shoes and polish silver as if working as personal skivvies to the Earl and Countess of Gratham.
Touting the ‘experience’, the castle has billed it as the perfect remedy for fans mourning the end of the popular ITV series.
‘Whether you want to live like a lord, cook like Mrs Patmore or just learn how things were done in times gone by, the Downton Experience gives Castle guests firsthand experience of life in a grand house,’ a description of the attraction said.
Cooking with the castle owner’s private chef and polishing silver are just two of the activities on offer as part of the package.
Starting from £2,500 a day, the service can even be tailored to replicate guests’ favourite Downton Abbey episodes or moments.
The castle, which is owned by Sir Jack and Lady Stewart-Clark, also offers an ‘upstairs’ experience which includes fine dining and game shooting, but American tourists are opting for the former, the venue’s general manager said.
Taking nothing away from the Brits and their gloomy, damp old castles, but the owners of our own white elephants could offer the same experience in more modern surroundings, closer to home.
Better, they could also draw nostalgic British visitors – turn-about’s fair play, eh? Eh? – by adding a Public school disciplinary wing, where business executives could be whipped by dominatrixes and upper classmen, collars applied, colonic washes administered – well, I’ll stop there – just put Walt in charge; he’ll know what’s wanted.
Point is, there’s obviously money to be made here, and when your house is otherwise sitting empty and forlorn, why not?