The BEST Episodes of Downton Abbey

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Jun 9, 2021

Network: BBC

Downton Abbey depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era—with great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy.

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Episode 8

#1 - Episode 8

Season 6 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 8, 2015

Bertie's circumstances change suddenly, leaving Edith uncertain whether to risk telling him the truth or keep her past a secret at all costs. Mary wonders if she can ever make peace with her sister as hostilities escalate, Spratt shows some hidden talents and Molesley's first day as a teacher does not go according to plan. Mrs Patmore's bed and breakfast attracts unwanted attention, leaving her in need of the Crawleys' help.

star 8.22
1,924 votes
Directors: David Evans
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 7

#2 - Episode 7

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 7, 2010

Cora's pregnancy throws the inheritance issue into doubt. Matthew must wait for an answer to his wedding proposal. O'Brien discovers more compromising information about Bates. Thomas leaves.

star 8.20
2,960 votes
Directors: Brian Percival
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 8

#3 - Episode 8

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 9, 2014

Preparations are under way for Rose's wedding, but family tensions on both sides threaten to derail proceedings. Edith's arrangement with Marigold is happily working out, but how long can she and Cora conceal the truth from Robert? Denker reveals an unexpected side to her personality, which causes trouble for more than one of the servants. With the war memorial due to be unveiled, Mrs Patmore is still upset, but Robert has something up his sleeve. Branson comes to a heart-wrenching decision, and the storm clouds that have been gathering over Anna and Bates finally burst.

star 8.13
1,783 votes
Directors: Michael Engler
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 8

#4 - Episode 8

Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 6, 2011

With the wedding approaching there is excitement in the air, but will Branson's plans rattle everyone? A decisive Anna forces Bates to think about their future.

star 8.12
2,844 votes
Directors: James Strong
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 5

#5 - Episode 5

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 16, 2011

Robert receives some shocking news from the front. Daisy's relationship with William moves faster than she would like. Vera threatens to expose old secrets.

star 8.08
2,720 votes
Directors: Brian Kelly
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 5

#6 - Episode 5

Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 14, 2012

An exciting offer for Edith divides opinion. Isobel throws Ethel a lifeline. New maid Ivy is attracting attention below stairs, and Alfred's interest is resented by Daisy.

star 8.04
2,988 votes
Directors: Jeremy Webb
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 7

#7 - Episode 7

Season 5 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 2, 2014

Rosamund shows up at Downton following Edith's surprise departure. Rose is pleased to introduce Atticus and his parents to everyone. Anna and Bates think about a fresh start, now that that their problems seem to be behind them. Molesley is worried after Daisy becoming disillusioned with her studies. Mary and Blake seize a chance to send Gillingham a strong message.

star 8.02
1,797 votes
Directors: Philip John
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 5

#8 - Episode 5

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 24, 2010

Isobel finds herself at odds with Violet. Mary is introduced to a potential suitor but wants to be with Matthew. Anna works out who stole a valuable snuff box. O'Brien plans a way for Edith to get even with Mary.

star 8.01
3,064 votes
Directors: Brian Kelly
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 6

#9 - Episode 6

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 31, 2010

Sybil puts herself in danger when a fight breaks out. Sybil's sisters notice Matthew's feelings for her. Mary is surprised by a marriage proposal. Bates clears his name over the missing wine but resigns rather than name the real culprit.

star 8.01
2,945 votes
Directors: Brian Percival
Writers: Julian Fellowes,Tina Pepler
Episode 7

#10 - Episode 7

Season 4 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 3, 2013

Cora's playboy brother has got himself into a spot of bother and Robert has to make a trip to America to bail him out. Blake and Mary are forced to put aside their differences to deal with a new farming venture on the estate. When Violet is taken ill, help comes from an unlikely quarter. In spite of Mrs Hughes, Mrs Patmore and Carson's attempts to keep the peace, romantic tensions below stairs cause problems.

star 8.00
2,245 votes
Directors: Edward Hall
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 4

#11 - Episode 4

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 9, 2011

Tensions flare between Isobel and Cora. Ethel's flirtation with Major Bryant lands her in hot water. There is worrying news about Matthew. Branson declares his feelings for Sybil.

star 8.00
2,985 votes
Directors: Brian Kelly
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 1

#12 - Episode 1

Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 22, 2013

Mary is finding it hard to come to terms with Matthew's death. Robert and Violet fall out over how to handle the situation. Jimmy takes an interest in Ivy, while Carson receives an unwelcome reminder from his past.

star 8.00
2,265 votes
Directors: David Evans
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 5

#13 - Episode 5

Season 4 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 20, 2013

Change is in the air as an exciting opportunity for Alfred creates tension between Ivy and Daisy. Isobel appeals to Violet's charitable nature, but it does not come without a fight, and Branson considers a new future for himself and baby Sybbie.

star 7.99
2,070 votes
Directors: Philip John
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 8

#14 - Episode 8

Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 4, 2012

There's excitement in the house and village as the annual cricket match approaches, and the event brings out Robert's competitive side. Violet's great-niece Rose shows up but a trip to London reveals there is more to her than meets the eye. Matthew and Mary look like they are keeping secrets from each other. Thomas finds out that his future lies in Carson's hands.

star 7.99
2,515 votes
Directors: David Evans
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 3

#15 - Episode 3

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired Sep 30, 2012

Edith's big day finally arrives, but will the family be convinced that Strallan's age does not matter? Mary takes matters into her own hands - but the price could be high.

star 7.99
2,808 votes
Directors: Andy Goddard
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 3

#16 - Episode 3

Season 6 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 4, 2015

Preparations for the wedding of Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes are under way. Edith meets up with an old acquaintance. Spratt has something to hide.

star 7.99
1,821 votes
Directors: Philip John
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 7

#17 - Episode 7

Season 6 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 1, 2015

The Crawleys watch Henry compete in a motor racing event, an occasion that leaves Mary reeling. Violet hatches a plan which surprises the family and delights Miss Denker, and learns more about Amelia's intentions in befriending Isobel. Molesley and Daisy rise to the challenges of examination day, Andy's secret is brought to light, Thomas feels isolated, and Mrs Patmore and Mrs Hughes teach Carson a lesson.

star 7.98
1,825 votes
Directors: David Evans
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 8

#18 - Episode 8

Season 4 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 10, 2013

Rosamund comes up with a plan to help Edith deal with her problem, but Violet may be about to see right through it. Isobel is the object of someone's attention, while Mary asks Gillingham for a favour. Rose is frustrated when things do not go her way and Alfred realises too late that he may have made a mistake. Just as Bates and Anna seem to be getting over the worst, some unexpected news shakes her up.

star 7.97
2,095 votes
Directors: Edward Hall
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 1

#19 - Episode 1

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 18, 2011

The Great War unsettles life at Downton and surprising news about Matthew rocks the family. New maid Ethel irritates O'Brien - and Bates returns with devastating news for Anna.

star 7.97
3,086 votes
Directors: Ashley Pearace
Writers: Julian Fellows
Episode 1

#20 - Episode 1

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 16, 2012

Cora’s mother arrives for Matthew and Mary’s wedding. New footman Alfred strives to meet Carson’s high standards, under the watchful eye of his aunt O’Brien.

star 7.97
2,791 votes
Directors: Brian Percival
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 2

#21 - Episode 2

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 3, 2010

Matthew Crawley and his mother Isobel arrive at Downton, and have difficulty settling in. Carson is mortified when confronted by his past. Violet attempts to promote a match between Matthew and Mary. Isobel is elected to serve on the hospital board.

star 7.97
3,317 votes
Directors: Ben Bolt
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 3

#22 - Episode 3

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 10, 2010

Cora's tries to set up Mary with Evelyn Napier, who falls for his friend instead, with significant consequences for the household. Bates takes action to help cure his limp.

star 7.96
3,155 votes
Directors: Ben Bolt
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 1

#23 - Episode 1

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 26, 2010

After the death of the heir, Violet wishes that Robert's daughter Mary could inherit Downton Abbey.

star 7.95
3,806 votes
Directors: Brian Percival
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 5

#24 - Episode 5

Season 6 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 18, 2015

Neville Chamberlain visits Downton for dinner, and is drawn into Violet's plan to save the hospital, with distressing consequences for everyone. Andy finds an unexpected confidante while helping Mr Mason move into Yew Tree Farm, Mary is uncertain if she has met her match, Edith meets Bertie Pelham in London, and Spratt comes to Denker's aid. Mrs Hughes struggles to keep Carson happy, while Mary thinks secrets are being kept from her.

star 7.94
1,833 votes
Directors: Philip John
Writers: Julian Fellowes
Episode 7

#25 - Episode 7

Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Oct 30, 2011

How long can Sybil and Branson keep their secret? Carlisle puts Anna in a difficult position, Bates is left reeling from the news about Vera, and Thomas embarks on a new scheme.

star 7.94
2,741 votes
Directors: James Strong
Writers: Julian Fellowes