Recently I stayed in the New Forest for a short break and was looking for places in the area to visit. Me and my partner decided to travel to Highclere Castle, which was an hour’s drive away.
Despite not being too near, I was keen to see Highclere Castle, as it’s where the television show Downton Abbey was filmed. All tickets were sold out for months in advance, but we took a gamble going, as there’s a set amount of tickets you can buy on the day. Thankfully it wasn’t a wasted journey and we managed to get in!
Highclere Castle, despite being called a castle is more of a large stately home. Records show buildings were at Highclere from 749AD and there’s been constant buildings and activity in this area since. Highclere itself has been built and rebuilt, but the current gothic style with turrets, was completed in Victorian times.
Highclere is owned and lived in by the Carnarvon family, so it’s very much an active home. The castle has been passed down the family for generations and they also own the 5000 acres of land surrounding the property. However, Highclere Castles biggest claim to fame, is for being the location Downton Abbey was filmed at.
Sadly no photography is allowed inside the building, but all of the rooms are beautiful and full of valuable antiques, such as Napoleon’s desk and chair. There is information on the Carnarvon family and also photos and notes about Downton Abbey, and which rooms were used for filming.
One thing I will say, is that the rooms are a fair bit smaller than they appear on tv, but I really enjoyed visiting the house.
In need of a short break we stopped in the tea rooms at Highclere Castle, and where better to have the British favourite, tea and scones than here?. Scones are served with cream and jam and were just as delicious as they look!
Feeling refreshed it was time to hit the gift shop. There were beautiful hats and traditional jewellery that could have come straight from Downton Abbey itself. I tried on several hats, before buying a printed cushion to brighten up my home.
Finally it was time to take in some of Highclere’s peaceful and wonderful grounds and gardens. There were walled Victorian gardens to grow vegetables, large statues and enough land to get lost in.
One garden temple named Jackdaws Castle stood out. It was originally created as a viewing point to admire the house and grounds, but was instead viewed mostly from the house as a decoration. A very pricey one I might add.
All too soon, it was time to leave. I could have easily spent hours exploring the grounds, but Highclere was closing for the night. If you’re in the area, I would definitely recommend visiting this enchanting castle that so captivated me.