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2016 is the Year of the Anglophile – Shakespeare turns 400, Downton Abbey reaches its conclusion and the Queen enters the year as the longest reigning monarch in British history. Adele will headline sold-out stadiums on both sides of the Atlantic. Eddie Redmayne will be starring in the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The National Trust will embark on one of its most ambitious projects to date with the restoration of Clandon Park. Everywhere we look, English culture old and new will dominate the headlines in 2016.
We anglophiles have a lot to look forward to in the year to come, but it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all that’s going on. So I’m making some resolutions to stay on top of the vibrant English cultural scene, with the living history of the country house at the heart of it.
Here’s how I resolve to savor an action-packed 2016:
1. Finish the final season of Downton Abbey
This is an easy one: with five seasons in the books and the sixth and final installment already having aired in England, we US-based Anglophiles are eagerly awaiting the conclusion to Julian Fellowes’ masterpiece. We’ve been nimbly dodging spoilers for months now, and are ready to (finally!) discover the fates of Lady Mary, the Granthams and all of our favorite characters.
Check out The New York Times’ spoiler-free preview before you watch the next episode. I, and the rest of the Royal Oak office, am eagerly awaiting it.
2. Read more
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a reader with a love of England must be in need of another book. After all, most of us can’t be in England all the time. When our need to stomp around the grounds of a country house strikes, a book is sometimes the only thing that can scratch that itch – especially with Downton going dark this year.
The Huffington Post has some wonderful suggestions for Downton aficionados looking to get their country house fix through a book. Beyond their list, I’m looking forward to finally reading my first Jane Austen (somehow I graduated college and began working at an Anglo-centric organization without reading her).
I’d also recommend a pair of contemporary English writers capturing the multitudes of British culture: between Ian McEwan and Zadie Smith, you’ll visit vastly different worlds on the same small island. Which, of course, is much of the charm of England.
3. Immerse myself in English culture
There are so many ways to do this – and keeping up with this blog is a great start! I also want to make time to read the wonderful anglophile web culture putting out excellent content everyday – from The Guardian to Country Life to Anglotopia.
Another way to stay on top of the latest from the UK is to attend a Royal Oak lecture. Our lecturers are often speaking about their research into the lasting legacy of the English country house, and offer new interpretations of a history you thought you knew. I always learn a lot and, best of all, you always meet fellow Anglophiles who share your passions. I hope to see you there!
4. Travel to England
There’s no substitute to actually exploring the country houses, roaming the countryside and discovering secrets about England’s vast history. A book is great. Traveling is better.
If you want travel ideas for 2016, look no further: Royal Oak’s 2016 trips are spectacular, with our travel partners Albion and Art Tours delivering one-of-a-kind itineraries customized for anglophiles. Visit our travel page for inspiration.
Or, set off on an itinerary of your own. All you need is your passport and your Royal Oak membership to see the best the UK has to offer.
5. Join Instagram
Well, this was an easy one – as of today, Royal Oak has an Instagram account! Just search for “The Royal Oak Foundation” or “@anglo_files” to follow us. We’ll be posting scenes from our travels, lectures, staff events and, of course, of the many National Trust properties we support.
I have one bonus resolution for you, too: if you’re not already a Royal Oak member, join today! You enjoy unlimited access to the National Trust’s hundreds of properties, discounts to lectures and travel programs and receive exclusive content. Join Now