Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey


Most people are familiar with the popular Masterpiece Theater PBS show, “Downton Abbey.” Shot in Highclere Castle, England, the amazing building has over 30,000 square feet and 300 rooms.

If you’ve watched the show, you’ll recall the fictional family contemplating what to do with such an estate when the times are changing. Without question, the current Highclere Castle owner is benefiting from tourism and TV production. Maintaining such a house, such an estate, is expensive. According to a 2013 New York Times article, the annual cost is $1.5 million, not including repairs or renovations.

What do you do with a big house? How do you afford to keep it up and purposeful? I have a few examples of places I’ve been.

Mauritshuis – The Hague, The Netherlands. Home to Vermeer’s “The Girl With the Pearl Earring,” this lovely building was originally built in the 17th century as a home for a count. It is worth the effort to come here.

Museum Van Loon – Amsterdam. Still owned by the Van Loon family, one of the founders of the Dutch Far East Company is an original 16th century canal house with carriage house. Tourism helps support the house, and how interesting it is to see how someone lived. Note – having money was hugely beneficial.

Coopershill – County Silgo, Ireland. This manor house has been in the O’Hara family since 1774. Now a bed and breakfast, I had the pleasure of breakfasting in the grand, formal dining room, at the head of a long polished-wood table, imaging what it would be like to be the Lady. It was right out of Downton Abbey.

The Morgan Library – New York City. In the 1920s, J.P. Morgan gave his father’s house, including library, to the public. The building and artifacts are extraordinary.

Even Lincoln has repurposed big, old homes. Years ago, when visiting Lincoln, my mother put me up in the Rogers House Bed and Breakfast. It was delightful!

Buying or selling? We’d love to help. Contact us at or (402) 261-0470.

Katie Pocras, MBA, Associate Broker

Location Real Estate


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