In anticipation of the season two finale of Downton Abbey, which airs on Sunday, February 19 at 9pm, we put together a mini Downton Guide to NYC. Stay tuned for something a bit more expansive, timed to the season three premiere.
Plan a luxurious afternoon tea to discuss "great matters"—such as whether your dear relative ought to marry her hot cousin in order to keep a gigantic castle in the family, or what scandalous misadventures you got into the night before—at the ever-so-British Tea & Sympathy(108--110 Greenwich Ave at Jane St; 212-989-9735, teaandsympathynewyork.com). Afternoon tea ($35 for one, $55 for two) comes with assorted finger sandwiches, scones and a selection of cakes. Crook your pinky, take a scalding but civilized sip of English Breakfast and calmly ask how your companion plans to nab a new boyfriend while wearing every New Yorker's favorite color when, as Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess says, "no one wants to kiss a girl in black."
Before lovably dopey footman William abandoned Downton for the thrill of fighting in World War I, his free time was dedicated to wooing spacey kitchen maidDaisy. Had he access to the stores available at the London Candy Company (1442 Lexington Ave at 94th St; 212-427-2129, thelondoncandycompany.com), his attempts may have been met more kindly. Head uptown and plunder the sweet shop for hard-to-find English treats straight from the other side of the pond, like Terry's Chocolate Oranges and Cadbury Creme Eggs.
An afternoon fox-hunting romp atop a throughbred is always a thrill for the gentlemen of Downton (as well as the headstrong Lady Mary, better known as "an uppity minx" to Mrs. Hughes). Take an English horseback riding lesson at Kensington Stables in Prospect Park (51 Caton Pl at 8th St, Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn; 718-972-4588, kensingtonstables.com). Lessons are available for adults and children six years and older along the bridle path or near the park entrance at 15th Street (lessons $57 per hour; semi-private $52; group rate $47 per person per hour; call ahead to make a reservation). Or, you can just take a trail ride ($37 per person for an hour) through the greenery while contemplating how one might boff a sexy Turkish gentleman without the inconvenience of having him expire in your bed.
Once Carson rings the dressing gong, the gentlefolk of Downton spend a good portion of the late afternoon getting gorgeous. Then, they sit down to eat in a beautiful room—not to be confused with the other beautiful rooms they've been sitting in all day. If you've got money to burn but no valet to ensure that your pant cuffs look perfect throughout dinner, pop into Mohan's Custom Tailors(60 E 42nd St between Madison and Parks Aves, suite 1432; 212-697-0050, mohantailors.com) and get measured for a bespoke suit. If you're envious of the maids that Countess Cora and Ladies Mary, Sybil and Edith have on hand to dress them, find a gratis personal shopper at British high-street chain Topshop(478 Broadway between Broome and Grand Sts; 212-966-9555, topshop.com). Call ahead to book an appointment, and someone incredibly hip will help you choose a new, equally hip outfit to wear. But be warned: Unless you're a suffragette like Lady Sybil, the Dowager seriously frowns upon ladies in pants, which means you may as well be cast off into the social wilderness—or condemned to live in the uncivilized city of New York forever.