Now this was a real treat for me being such a huge Downton Abbey fan!
Oddly, it was a very last minute decision to go there. Quite by chance in fact.
We’d planned a visit to Petworth House for our Thursday day out, but I had the ‘great’ idea just as we were about to set off that maybe we should double-check the opening times first (duh!!) And lo and behold,when we did, we found out that the house itself was closed on a Thursday and Friday! So, will leave that visit for another time then.
So we were left with the dilemma of where to go instead.
Lee suddenly came up with the idea of Highclere Castle and of course I jumped at the chance to go there. Why it hadn’t already sprung to mind, as it’s always been on my “must visit” bucket list … well, who knows!
A quick phone call to make sure it was open first (once bitten etc….), and very happy to hear all was good to go! So great excitement (me, not so much Lee 😉 ) as we went on our way.
WOW! The Castle is a very impressive building, and I’m not surprised it was chosen as the perfect location for Downton.
We headed straight for the inside of the house first and it sure didn’t disappoint. Sadly, no photography allowed inside, as is the norm in places such as this.
Lots of the rooms were already very familiar to me from the series, as much of the interior of the house is used for filming too. Standing in the library for instance next to the plush red sofas, you could just imagine Lord Grantham or Lady Cora strolling in at any moment (if only :))
Walking into the dining room too was quite strange having seen all the dramas that had taken place there … in the show of course!
In fact as we explored the rest of the house, there were exclamations (from me) like “Oh Yeeah, this is where Lady Sybil died” and other things that I randomly recollected happening in a particular room as we wandered around.
All of which meant very little to Lee who has never ever watched Downton Abbey, so I’m sorry if the same applies to anyone who may happen to be reading this!
Of course, there’s much more history to the house to make it an interesting place to visit in its own right, regardless of its Downton Abbey connections. Nowadays it’s the real-life home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon.
The gardens too are very impressive (and large!) Visitors are free to roam around at their leisure. It was very relaxing indeed ambling around them in the balmy afternoon.
All in all a brilliant impromptu day out!