Highclere Castle (Downton Abby) England Great Britain

Highclere Castle (Downton Abby), England Great Britain  (5/29/2016)

As a huge fan of Downton Abby, a visit to the stately Highclere Castle, where the show was filmed, was an absolute must for Pat and an enjoyable excursion for the both of us.

Highclere Castle Wayne Pat Dunlap Downton Abbey England Great Britain
Visiting Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle is the home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, a family home that dates back 300 years. It was designed in 1842 by the same architect of London’s Houses of Parliament.

Impressive Saloon (Main Room)
- Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle provides a self-guided tour with very knowledgeable guides in every room that are friendly and will answer all your questions. You can take your time while you go through the rooms upstairs and downstairs. If you are interested in Egyptian history, there is an Egyptian Exhibition you can visit for an extra fee. Interestedly, the Carnarvon family was involved in early Egyptian discoveries.

Secret Garden Highclere Castle england great britain
Secret Garden - Highclere Castle
At the beginning of the Highclere Castle tour, you will be impressed with the beautiful Library and its collection of over 5,650 books. Then you will see the Music Room with its 16th-century Italian silk embroideries over the walls, the Drawing Room, the Saloon with its impressive 50-feet high ceiling (see photo), and Dining Room. You can peer into the upstairs bedrooms along the way. Enlarged photos of scenes of Downton Abby are displayed in each room.

The weather was fabulous for our visit and we walked the beautiful grounds – don’t miss Highclere’s Secret Garden (see photo).

Wayne Dunlap Carson Butler Having Afternoon Tea at Highclere Castle england great britain
Wayne was Carson (The Butler) 
- Having Afternoon Tea 
at Highclere Castle
You can book the tea service but don’t be disappointed if it is booked out. Without reservations, we had a wonderful afternoon tea and lunch at the outdoor café of one of the three Tea Rooms (see photo). Indoor seating is also available if the weather is too cold or rainy. The café is located right outside when you finish your tour of Highclere Castle. I acted as Carson, the butler, and served My Lady Pat tea and champaign. She felt like royalty!

Pat Dunlap Lady Carnarvon owner Highclere Castle england great britain
Pat with Lady Carnarvon 
- Owner Highclere Castle
Travel tip: Even though the Highclere Castle website might state that pre-booked tickets are sold out, they do hold some for walk-up purchase. We are not sure what the chances are to get a walk-up ticket but many people told us they did it.

We had a very special treat to meet and talk to the very personal Lady Carnarvon, the current owner of Highclare Castle (see photo). She has a goal to preserve this wonderful estate and works steadily to provide the direction and financing necessary. Downton Abby scoop: Lady Carnarvon hinted to us that a couple of movies are planned for the future at the Highclare Castle.

Pat Dunlap Highclere Castle England Great Britain
Pat Entering Highclere Castle
Getting there: Highclere Castle can be visited from 10AM to 4PM with the grounds and garden closing at 5PM. It is located about 45 miles west from central London. There is plenty of parking if you drive. You can also get there from London’s Paddington train station that can be accessed by taxi or subway (tube). The Newbury train station is the closest and taxis are available to drive you the rest of the way. If you leave Highclere Castle early enough, there is usually a drop-off taxi available to take you back to the train station but you should take a card so you can call for a pick up.

Important driving tip: Because many of the roads in England are smaller country roads with many confusing roundabouts, getting lost is not hard. In fact, it can be fun if you can get back on track.

Here is a wonderful tip... Make sure you have GPS - if from the rental car company ask for a lesson. The postal code in Great Britain typically has enough information to direct you to your hotel or destination. So, look up postal codes for your hotels and destinations so you can enter them in as you go through your day of explorations. We used a centrally located church or hotel for the villages. Sometimes the GPS asks to confirm the street name and number, so also having an address helps. Also, often just putting in the town/village name will take you to the right direction and you can follow signs to the town center.

Please see our other 12 travel blog posts on Great Britain:

York, England

Beautiful COTWOLDS Bilbury Burton Stow Slaugher Woodstock Burford Minster Lovell Oxford England

Lake District (England's Most Visited National Park)

Stonehenge, England

Stratford-Upon-Avon, England (Birthplace of Shakespere)

England's Southern Coast Canterbury Rye Sandwich Salisbury, England 

Hadrian's Wall, England

Beamish Museum, England

Chester, England

Magnificent Castle Howard, England 

Alnwick Castle (Harry Potter), England  

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