The new exhibit Downton Abbey: The Experience is an immersive experience that includes costumes, set replicas, and more from the show.
The recent success of the Regency-era drama Bridgerton has brought new eyes to the Downton Abbey franchise, while fans eagerly await the following season. This newfound fan base, plus the release of the follow-up to the Downton Abbey motion picture, is a perfect opportunity for an immersive experience to exist. New fans, die-hard Downton fans, and those that have never seen the show will appreciate this history-rich exhibit.
We sent Kidding Around’s Melanie to Sandy Springs, Georgia, to check out the exhibit.
Make a weekend out of a trip to the Downton Abbey Exhibit, and Enjoy The Hidden Gem of Dunwoody In The Shadow Of Atlanta, GA.
An Introduction To Downton Abbey
I have a confession to make; before visiting this exhibit, I’d never seen the show. I’d heard of it, had it on my list of things to get around to, and just never did. I got swept up in the Bridgerton frenzy, and when the opportunity presented itself to visit this exhibit, I jumped at the chance.
I figured it would be an easy sell for fans of the show, but if someone who had never watched a single episode could enjoy the experience, that would be worth sharing. Spoiler – I thoroughly enjoyed it and had my time constraints not been an issue, I could have spent twice as long as I did in the exhibit.
For those who have never seen the show, Downton Abbey is the story of the affluent Crawley family in Britain during the early twentieth century. The sinking of the Titanic, the first World War, and other historically relevant things shape the lives of the Crawley family.
The show aired for six seasons, and in 2019 the first motion picture was released. The movie sequel Downton Abbey: A New Era will be released in theaters on March 18, 2022. For those who would like to watch the show before heading out to the exhibit, you can watch Downton Abbey for free through the Peacock streaming platform. It’s how I’m watching it right now.
It doesn’t take much backstory to fall in love with the character of Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley. Actress Dame Maggie Smith brings her usual snark and sarcasm to this character, and I can already tell she’s going to be one of my favorites.
Downton Abbey: The Exhibition | An Immersive Learning Experience
Having never watched the show, I can honestly say I enjoyed the exhibit. Downton Abbey’s Exhibition can be used as a history lesson on the period, with a fictional family as the host. If you are a fan of the Vanderbilt Family and the legacy that includes The Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, you will also enjoy this. While I don’t think younger children would appreciate the exhibit, it would be a great homeschool field trip for older children learning about this period. It gives students a hands-on, interactive experience that includes things relevant to WW1, other historical events, and a peek into how society functioned at the time, in a more exciting way than reading about it in a textbook.
The exhibit has a companion 30-page educator guide for students grades 3rd-8th. The guide is available free of charge on the Downton Abbey Exhibition Website – Downton Abbey Exhibition Educator Guide – Grades 3-8
The experience is spread throughout several different rooms and is a self-guided tour. The VIP ticket allows guests to visit the exhibition on the selected date of visit at any time during regular operating hours. This option also includes an audio guide that is not included with the timed-entry ticket. However, guests can add the guide to a timed entry ticket for an additional charge. The audio guide is an excellent way to enjoy additional information about the exhibit, but there is so much to see that you will still have plenty to enjoy if you skip the audio guide upgrade.
The only restroom is adjacent to the ticket counter, so make sure to stop before you head into the exhibit if you need to. The exhibition begins with a short video welcoming you to Downton Abbey from the family butler. From there, you exit into the first of several rooms that include behind-the-scenes looks at the characters, the real history of the period, props from the show, and more. As we were headed into the first room, I caught a glimpse of people arriving who had dressed in costumes from the period for the occasion.
The details included in the exhibit for these fictional people made it feel more like a museum showcasing a real-life family instead of a fictional cast of characters. So much so that while there, I overheard people questioning if this family existed. Although we spent approximately 90 minutes in the exhibit, I easily could have stayed longer.
Be sure to take the ten-question interactive quiz that tests to see if you would be a valuable addition to the domestic staff. My application was shortlisted for the position of Lady’s Maid. Thank you very much, but I believe I already fulfill that job position with my six-year-old daughter.
Downton Abbey: The Exhibition | Ticket Info
- Perimeter Pointe in Sandy Springs, 1155 Mount Vernon Hwy NE, Atlanta GA
- The exhibition is open daily between 10 AM and 6 PM (last entry at 4:30 PM)
- MASKS are required while visiting the exhibit
- Tickets are available now through the Downton Abbey Exhibition Website, for a limited engagement
- Ticket prices start at $36
- Children 14 and under (accompanied by an adult) receive free admission, and the exhibit is stroller friendly