Charity / Old Town

Downton Abbey Tea Party & Tours at Lee Fendall

This has been our year of Downton Abbey! It was the first show we binged in retirement (in fact, it’s exactly one year ago today, Miles said good-bye to workin’ for the man). Our first big trip in retirement was spending a month in Europe! And, you guessed it, Downton Abbey was on the agenda! We visited Highclere Castle, the real life castle where Downton Abbey was filmed! A huge highlight on our European itinerary. Then there was, of course, the waiting for the movie to be released and the ultimate joy we felt when securing advanced tickets. And today, we got to celebrate Downton a bit more at the Lee Fendall House, Museum and Garden (Lee Fendall).

Old Town’s historic Lee Fendall had the sweetest afternoon tea party in honor of Downton Abbey: The Film! Why you ask? Other than the fact that Downton Abbey is fabulous, there is a direct link between Old Town’s stately home and the Palace of Westminster inspired estate across the pond. Did you know that the Carnanvon (the Highclere Castle family) and the Fendall families are related? It’s true!

Today we popped over to Lee Fendall for the sweetest Downton Abbey themed tea party. They had photographs of the characters adoring the round tables they put out for the occasion. And signs of interesting historical facts scattered about. Loved the details!

In the dining room they had coffee, tea, sandwiches and sweets for guests. There was a lovely display on the sideboard of the Downton’s footmen over the years along with various rules for that position.

Past the dining room into the kitchen they had trivia and a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt was designed to move you around the house. And there were a couple “Hunt Helpers” roaming about in case you got stuck.

The scavenger hunt was relaxed and fun. What was bit competitive was the timed trivia. We didn’t play, we wanted to give other people a shot. lol.

Upstairs, they had other fun stuff like an exhibit on manners during the era of Downton. So much thought went into the darty (a darty is a party that takes place during the day, lol).

You know it’s not a party in this age of Instagram without a good ol’ photobooth. Lee Fendall didn’t disappoint with Downton photobooth fun on the porch!

You know how much we love a photobooth! But Lee Fendall had something to top it!

My favorite detail from the tea party was a silverware display in the back parlor. It had a picture of Carson and sign that said “Could you be the next Carson?” and then teased you into guessing what each piece is used for.

Here’s a better shot of the silverware in case you want to play! We’ll post a picture of the answers below.

Lee Fendall really gets that details matter. Whether when setting the table, decorating and maintaining a space, or entertaining in general. Details and manners make people feel welcome. It makes them feel like they want to come back. Mr Carson would be proud!

Lastly, If you’d like to explore the Carnarvon and Fendall connection Lee Fendall is having two more Sunday tours. (Get tickets here.)

And, as promised, here’s the answers to the silverware challenge ->

Here’s the direct link to the “postcard” of our amazing day at Highclere Castle! For info on our Eurpean and other travels check out our Bon Voyage and Postcards sections.


If you’re not already, be sure to follow our adventures on Instagram!

@oldtownpost |  @oldtownhost |  @miles22314 

#jetsetjiles | #oldtownpost


If you’re not already, please consider becoming patrons of Lee Fendall. They really do some nice events and tours! We had a blast at their big annual fundraiser a few weeks ago — it’s always a Speakeasy Party and folks get really dolled up for it!


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