Dine Like Downton

Forget the uncivilized and crude people on Come Dine with Me. You are NOT one of them. If you want to eat with the elegance, grace and sophistication of a Downton lady, we’ve got you covered for your next dinner party outing where you can impress your hostess with your perfect etiquette. Tally-ho!


Sit absolutely straight and never lean against the chair (only between courses). And bring food to your mouth, don’t ever lean down – remember we are not pigs eating out of a trough.

Know your pronunciation

If your healthily inclined host is serving quinoa, make sure you know how to pronounce what one is offering. Otherwise you’ll be looking positively foolish. And brush up on your French, because menus are only written in French.

The finest

It’s time to hide those IKEA plates (actually, do the world a favour and bin them) because only the finest china will do for your guests.


Absolutely no kitchen roll and god forbid considering bog roll (unless you want to give your mother in law a heart attack.) Only cloth napkins will do and when the hostess places the napkin on her lap, it’s your signal to follow suit.

Be a bitch

Never under any circumstances compliment on your host’s home – everyone will think you’re not used to luxe furnishings and thus declare you as a peasant. Keep the compliments to yourself.


Unless you want to look like a vulgar hooligan, never drink wine before dinner: only cocktails and sherry at this time (we’re not complaining). And ladies, take a seat because only the men can stand during this time.


For dinner, go all out with an amazing evening dress and hair done up. No gloves and hats for any meals after 6pm. And please make sure you don’t repeat your outfits, no matter how much you love a certain number.

RELATED CONTENT: Downton’s Clothing Range


As much as we love to hear about your rampant sex life (ahem), to talk about money, health, sex, politics, religion or work on the table will make you look like an uncouth simpleton. Keep it clean, people.


Don’t be one of those people who whisper: “Which fork is for what?” Work from the inside in and if in doubt, slyly watch what others are doing.

Please sir, may I have some more?

Unless you want to look like a greedy food-gorging fool, it is never appropriate to ask for more food or drink as you’ll be offending the host. If you’re seriously starving, grab a takeaway on the way home (well, no-one’s watching!)

By Jessica Cooper