Highclere Castle - Downton Abbey

Visit Highclere Castle, the home of Downton Abbey where many of the rooms were used for filming the TV series

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DETAILED OVERVIEW

Highclere Castle

 
Highclere Castle is the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and also features as Downton Abbey, the hugely successful drama series  From the pen of Oscar-winning ('Gosford Park') screenwriter, Julian Fellowes, now Lord Fellowes, it has an all star cast led by Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Dan Stevens, Jim Carter, Elizabeth McGovern, Penelope Wilton and many other leading actors and actresses.
 
Longstanding friend of the Carnarvon family, Julian Fellowes had Highclere Castle in mind as he wrote Downton Abbey. He often commented he wanted a house which spectacularly testified to the confidence and soaring optimism of the Edwardian period. From that point in time, he could then develop the characters through the First World War and into the changes of the 1920’s.
 
Whilst the series is like any novel, a fiction, it draws upon ideas from history. The real Earl and Countess (of Carnarvon) lived at Highclere throughout that period, exploring how to keep it going, giving great parties, and dealing  with the “downstairs” staff, with loyal and often colourful characters.
 
Please note whilst many of the rooms inside the Castle were used for filming, the kitchens and servants area were not filmed here.
 
The first written records of the estate date back to 749 when an Anglo-Saxon King granted the estate to the Bishops of Winchester. Bishop William of Wykeham built a beautiful medieval palace and gardens in the park. Later on, the palace was rebuilt as Highclere Place House in 1679 when it was purchased by Sir Robert Sawyer, the direct ancestor of the current Earl of Carnarvon.  In 1842, Sir Charles Barry, who also designed the Houses of Parliament, transformed Highclere House into the present day Highclere Castle.
 
During the First World War, Highclere Castle was converted into a hospital for wounded soldiers run by the 5th Countess of Carnarvon. Throughout the Second World War, Highclere Castle was home to children evacuated from London.
 
There are between 250 and 300 rooms in the Castle and during your tour you will explore the main state rooms so familiar from "Downton Abbey". You will see some of the bedrooms after which you will follow the stairs down to the cellars and old staff quarters where you will find the Egyptian Exhibition, celebrating the 5th Earl of Carnarvon's discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. (please note if you wish to visit the Egyptian Exhibition you will need to purchase a ticket on the day)
 
NB Photography is NOT permitted within the Castle and photography in the Gardens is for personal use only
 
Easter Monday 1 April 2024 - NEW DATE
Pick ups: Trumpington, Royston & Baldock
 
Bank Holiday Monday 6 May 2024 - FULLY BOOKED
Pick ups: Trumpington, Royston & Baldock
 
£49pp
 
Price includes:
Entrance to Highclere Castle & Gardens 
Return Coach Travel
 
Please note admission into the Egyptian Exhibition is not included - if you wish to visit it you can purchase a ticket on the day.
 
 

PICK-UP POINTS

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour. Please note some pick up points may not be served on all departure dates.

NAME PICK-UP TIME RETURN TIME
Baldock Market Place N/S08:3017:00
Cambridge Trumpington P&R07:4017:45
Royston Bus Station08:0517:20