Last week was my birthday and I had two fantastic days out around that time. One was an actual trip, and gift, to celebrate my birthday and the other was a day out that I’ve been meaning to do forever but only just gotten around to last week. I was going to write about both trips in one post but it ended up longer than I anticipated so here’s part one about my recent visit to Highclere Castle. Sorry for the lack of pictures, photography isn’t allowed inside of the castle.
I have no idea whether you’ll know this or not – although I’d imagine a lot of people could figure it out, based on the image – but Highclere Castle is the setting of Downton Abbey. The ‘downstairs’ scenes are filmed in a studio but most of the ‘upstairs’ ones featuring the Crawley family are filmed within Highclere Castle. There are some absolutely stunning rooms there and it was a true joy to explore such an iconic location; especially as I’ve been re-watching the TV series lately, ready for the amazing film which I’ve now seen (and hope to watch again). Whether you’re a Downton Abbey lover or not I truly do recommend giving this glorious castle a visit; it’s absolutely stunning and left me in awe of its beauty.
What can I say about this magnificent castle that could possibly do it justice? It’s incredibly impressive both on the inside and out. Its architecture and furnishings left me stunned, truthfully. Whilst following the route through the state rooms I saw sights that I recognized from the show, along with ones that I didn’t, but both were absolutely stunning. I love seeing the decorations, details and impressive furniture in these kinds of places. Whilst walking through the castle I certainly saw sights that left me in awe and learnt a lot of fascinating history about the family that lived there. Every one of the rooms that I explored was impressive, to say the least, but for me the stand out room, that even over a week later I cannot stop thinking about, was the saloon. If you’ve watched the show you may remember Miss Bunting going upstairs to look down into this room in wonder and that is just how I’d imagine most people would feel upon seeing it. The detail in the stonework, the stunning tapestries that blend so well, the ornate furniture… it’s all absolutely awe-inspiring to see. Although, like I said, I loved every room on display within Highclere Castle.
Highlights, For Me, Included:
♥ The ornate fireplaces – whenever I get to visit a castle or house like this I love getting to see these truly stunning pieces which can vary from one another so greatly.
♡ The Music Room – this is a room that I hadn’t seen before but it was absolutely gorgeous. The tapestries in here, too, were breathtaking.
♥ The ‘serving tables’ in the dining room – okay so I’m not certain that’s what they are but I’m not sure what to call them. In Downton Abbey you sometimes catch a glimpse of the staff placing food on this table though and it’s just so exquisitely detailed that I could not believe it. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it.
♡ The Wyverns – has anybody else spotted the ‘dragon’ by the front door? I did whilst watching the show and then, much to my surprise, found several others whilst touring the castle. They vary in designs and settings greatly but they’re dotted all over the place and I loved spotting them everywhere. Only at the end of my trip through the castle did I realize that they were actually wyverns, not dragons. But honestly if you ever get a chance to visit do keep an eye out for them.
The Egyptian Exhibit:
I’ve got to admit that I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this part of my day out and I must confess that I only learnt of its links to the Carnarvon family whilst there. What I was fascinated to find out though was that the 5th Earl of Carnarvon discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922. I had no idea that the Carnarvon family had ties to this amazing discovery so that was definitely fascinating to find out. There were so many interesting artefacts in this exhibit too with some truly stunning details. I learnt interesting facts about the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and saw some of the wonderful artefacts that were found by him and those working with him. So if you do get the chance to visit HIghclere Castle I highly recommending visiting this part of the tour too.
What can I say about these beside the fact that they’re absolutely massive? Seriously they go on forever and there are some gorgeous sights to find within them too. Whilst in full bloom I’d imagine the rose garden is absolutely stunning – I’d love to walk through the tunnel whilst it was – and there are some other impressive statues and features dotted throughout the grounds. I love seeing trees as old as the ones on the grounds here. And, of course, I loved Jackdaw’s Castle. You get views of it from the house and, when you get up close to it, you learn some fascinating facts about its columns too. Luckily for me I visited on a gloriously sunny day and it was just wonderful.
Books – Yes My TBR Grew Whilst Here:
Before visiting I’d already planned to write a post about my experience at Highclere but I didn’t actually intend to mention books on it. Yes this is a book blog but, occasionally, I do plan to write about other things that interest me too. Whilst at Highclere I found more books to add to my TBR though so I couldn’t resist the urge to mention them briefly here.
Firstly I saw Lady Catherine And The Real Downton Abbey described in one of the rooms of the castle and thought it sounded fascinating. The way it was described reminded me of a real life version of Downton Abbey with true stories of both the family and the staff at Highclere Castle.
Later on I learnt quite a bit about Lady Almina and just knew that I had to add the book about her (Lady Almina And The Real Downton Abbey) to my TBR too. What inspired me to check this book out the most was discovering the fact that Highclere Castle really did in fact transform into a hospital during the war.
So I think it goes without saying that I had an absolutely fantastic day at Highclere. I could have said so much more than I did but I didn’t want to carry on forever in this post. Plus it’s a wonderful place to discover for yourself. Whether you love the show or not I highly recommend visiting the castle; it’s well worth a visit and absolutely awe-inspiring to see.
And now, to finish off, here’s the trailer for the wonderful Downton Abbey movie:
To learn more about Highclere Castle please do visit it’s official website here.
Have you ever been to Highclere Castle? Do you want to? What about Downton Abbey; do you watch that? Have you seen the film yet? Which characters do you love or hate? Let me know in the comments section below.