September 22, 2019

Trip to Highclere Castle

Trip to Highclere Castle


Have I been saving this post for the upcoming theatrical release of Downton Abbey just so I can garner more traffic to my site? Well, of course! Last October, I took the special Fall tour of Highclere Castle.  To say it was a magical experience would be an understatement. I have been a huge fan of Downton Abbey since I first watched the show in 2012 after a long day at the hospital (a story for another time).  When I decided for fall break to travel parts of England, I knew I had to go see Highclere.  The Autumn tour is quite a bit more pricey than the spring tours, but it was worth every penny.  Be warned: Buy your tickets in advance! I bought mine in August for the October Tour and they were almost already sold out! We even got to meet the Earl and Countess, and the butler! Also, being a landscape designer, I was immensely excited to see the grounds designed by Capability Brown

I wanted to share what my experience was like at Highclere Castle, that way if you are a Downton Abbey fan and are planning on visiting you will know what to expect!

Downton Abbey

1. Getting to Highclere:  If you're a tourist and coming from London, it's best to buy a train ticket to Newbury.  I used Trainline.com and got tickets significantly cheaper than any of the other avenues. I would make sure to give yourself a little wiggle room as far as time goes because trains are notorious for never being on time.  Plus, Newbury was a pretty cute little town.  Their mall had a store where you could play ping pong for free! It was fun needless to say.  Now, once you're at Newbury, you'll have to take a taxi to the actual castle.  There were actually several at the station ready to go.  Book your taxi back in advance! We didn't do that, so we had to wait at the castle for a while before we could go back to the station.  (again, thankfully we left wiggle room in our schedule so this was fine)  

2.) Exploring the Grounds:  If you get there early, then you will have time to walk around the grounds of the castle before the actual tour.  The area is absolutely gorgeous! I mean Capability Brown is a genius so I can you really expect anything less than perfection? The bench that you always see the characters talk on is also out there! 

3.) The Tour:  So the tour itself takes you through the different rooms of the castle and to the Egyptian exhibit.  If you didn't know, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon helped discover the Tomb of King Tut. A lot of the artifacts found now find their home at the New York Met, but there is still a sizable collection at Highclere itself. Looking through the different rooms of the castle, the tour guide lets you know some of the little filming secrets, such as the real Earl prefers the desk in the library to face away from the window.  While we weren't allowed to photograph inside the castle, it basically looks identical to the show.  The only difference is that there are family photographs in the castle.  The real family actually resides in a home elsewhere on the property but still use Highclere. 

4.) Tea Room:  After the tour, you get fed the most amazing food I think my taste buds have ever had. truely incredible! I still dream about it, to be honest. Savor it if you go.  After that, there is a gift shop you can explore before heading back to catch the train in Newbury.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey


I hope this brief rundown helps you plan out your trip to Highclere Castle!  If you go please tell me all about it!  Oh, and don't forget to check out that cool ping pong place in Newbury!

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