Visit this stately home which is also the setting of the acclaimed BBC drama Downtown Abbey. Appreciate its grandeur, beauty and expansive grounds.
The impressive Highclere Castle is among the country’s most famous castles and stately homes, mainly due to it being the setting for the acclaimed period drama Downton Abbey. Take a step not just back in time, but into a movie set and see its ornate décor and beautiful rolling grounds. The house is the family seat of the Carnavon family.
Highclere Castle is first and foremost a home, although much of it has been opened to the public in recent years. The 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon proudly show off their family’s heritage through a series of events ranging from open days to specialist guided tours and charity galas. Book early to take part in any of these memorable events.
The castle is undoubtedly impressive in its décor. The saloon, at the heart of the house, is adorned in a Gothic style, with rich decoration and leather wall hangings from Cordoba, Spain, which date back to 1631.
Wander through the state dining room to see Van Dyck's great equestrian portrait of Charles I, and then continue on into the library. The library played an important role in Downton Abbey, and fans of the show will feel a familiarity with the house as they explore.
The bedrooms, too, featured in the hit drama. Some, such as the Arundel bedroom, were also used as an operating room during World War I when the castle became a military hospital. It would later serve as a home for evacuee children from London.
It is the great hall and two grand staircases, however, that are the castle’s true showstoppers. Walk slowly down the staircases and enjoy the feeling of being aristocratic.
Highclere Castle is in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a short distance from Newbury. Try to drive here, as access by public transportation is limited. There is a vast car park for ticketholders.
The castle is open on specific days only and tickets must be purchased well in advance from the website.