Celebrate the Holidays With Christmas Dinner at Downton Abbey

iStock.com/Emily_M_Wilson
iStock.com/Emily_M_Wilson

For diehard Downton Abbey fans, Christmas won’t be celebrated on December 25 this year. That’s because this year, Highclere Castle, the real-life country estate where much of the beloved show was filmed, is open for a special Christmas dinner on December 15, according to Architectural Digest.

With the help of a company called Premium Tours, you can celebrate the holidays like a Crawley (or at least the Downton cast) on the 5000-acre estate in Hampshire, England, roughly 60 miles outside of London, exploring the castle you've seen countless times on TV.

Each ticket gets you transportation to the estate and back again from London. Once you’ve arrived and grabbed some champagne and canapés, you’ll wander around the castle’s saloon, smoking room, drawing room, and temporary Egyptian exhibition, with official guides on hand to answer questions and talk about the house’s history, architecture, and art. You’ll be served a three-course meal with wine, with dishes like Lady Carnarvon charred salmon and avocado tian leaf salad (one of the sample appetizers) and baked goat’s cheese, pine kernels, and red onion puree wrapped in filo pastry with watercress foam (a sample second course). Once you’re stuffed with Christmas pudding, you’ll be treated to a performance by a group of carolers.

From pick-up to drop-off, you’ll have eight hours and 30 minutes of aristocratic fun. You’ll need to dress the part, though. The event page specifies formal dress, with suits and ties for men and cocktail dresses for ladies.

Tickets are priced at $625, but if you book now, you can snag them for $155 apiece. Sounds like the perfect way to spend your year-end bonus. Hopefully, that will tide you over until the long-awaited Downton Abbey movie premieres next year.

[h/t Architectural Digest]

You Can Wear These Travel Shoes While Swimming, Hiking, or Running

Tropicfeel
Tropicfeel

There are no fancy folding tricks that make shoes take up less space in your luggage. That means if you're going on a trip where you'll be hiking, swimming, and walking through the city, you'll need to a pack a separate pair of footwear for each activity. Or at least, for now. Tropicfeel's forthcoming Canyon shoe aims to solve this common travel problem. Available for men and women, the shoes are designed to feel just as comfortable wading through a river as they do on dry land.

Each set of Canyons is four sneakers in one: water shoes, hiking boots, running shoes, and casual footwear. They're designed to get wet, whether you're hiking through shallow streams or swimming through the ocean, and when it's time to leave the water, they dry quickly and don't smell. The shoes are also lightweight and slip-resistant, making them great for long hikes across rough terrain. On days you don't feel like adventuring, the shoes are comfortable enough to wear as running shoes and stylish enough to use as everyday sneakers.

Canyon travel shoe.
Tropicfeel

In addition to being versatile, the shoes are easy to wear. Just slip them on and adjust the fit with the elastic, knotless laces. You can wear them with or without socks, counting on the breathable, mesh material to keep your feet feeling fresh and comfortable.

Tropicfeel is currently raising money on Kickstarter for the Canyon shoe, with over $681,000 already raised, far beyond its initial $36,000 goal.

Buy a pair on Kickstarter for $77. Shipping is scheduled for August 2019.

Here’s How Much a 5-Star Hotel Will Cost You in 100 Popular Travel Destinations Around the World

The Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai
The Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai
iStock.com/Nikada

Sometimes, you don’t mind roughing it in a tent for the sake of a budget-friendly vacation. Other times, you might want to splurge on a nicer hotel with a buffet breakfast and room service. Enjoying the finer things in life doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank, though.

A chart spotted by Thrillist breaks down the cost of 5-star hotels in 100 popular destinations around the world. Travel site Asher & Lyric crunched the numbers, using data from TripAdvisor on the average cost of a weeknight stay at the five top-rated hotels in each destination. The analysis accounted for fluctuating costs from one season to the next, and the chart shows what you might expect to pay during the high season compared to other times of year.

Places like Aspen and the Cayman Islands are predictably among the areas with the priciest hotels, but other vacation spots are surprisingly affordable. Take Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, for instance. This city of skyscrapers is a popular luxury destination—it’s called the “City of Gold,” after all—but its 5-star hotels are the third- cheapest ones on the chart, preceded only by Chennai in India and Manila in the Philippines.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’d spend less money staying in a fancy hotel in New York City, Paris, or Rome during the high season than you’d pay to stay in Wyoming’s Jackson Hole. And if you’re looking to travel domestic, check out Las Vegas, Houston, and Atlanta. Of America's top destinations, these cities offer some of the cheapest 5-star hotels.

Scroll down to see the chart, and check out Asher & Lyric’s website for a detailed breakdown of their findings, including their top hotel picks.

How Much 5-Star Hotels Cost in the Top 100 Destinations Around the World - AsherFergusson.com - Infographic
Researched and developed by Asher & Lyric Fergusson

[h/t Thrillist]

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