Friday, August 1, 2014

A Visit to Highclere Castle, also known as, Downton Abbey

Monday morning we woke up, got on the train from Paddington Station to Newbury.   Everything was going well until we got to the Newbury Racetrack stop.  There the train stopped and we waited for about 10 minutes, then the announcer came on and said the train would not be continuing.  We all started looking for taxis and eventually made our way to the hotel to leave our things and then on to Highclere Castle.  

Unfortunately they do not allow any pictures inside the castle.  It was really neat to be in the house and see where much of the filming of Downton takes place.  They do not allow strollers inside, but they do have a place in the lobby where you could leave them.  I had Malachi in the Ergo carrier and unfortunately he did not enjoy his tour through the house.  I was able to keep him reasonably happy until we got to the end of the tour at the dining room.  

After the tour we went around back and got a yummy lunch and a lovely place to eat it.

There are several places where you can get something to eat and quite a few seating options.  I found this spot under a great shady tree with a wonderful view.   I let Malachi roam around on the grass and he was completely happy.

This was the view in the other direction.

Some of the flowers outside the dining area.

More gorgeous flowers outside the tea room.

After lunch and tea we headed out to walk the grounds.  We were very lucky to have gorgeous weather all day.

This field of wildflowers was so gorgeous and made for a great walk.

The field of wildflowers brought you down to the secret garden.

Every nook and cranny of this garden was beautiful and inspiring. 

I enjoyed this part of the grounds so much.

After visiting the house and the grounds I am looking forward to reading the two books that have been put out about the house, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle, and Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey.

There is so much history to this house and area.  

Our cab driver also told us that Andrew Lloyd Weber owns the neighboring property and he made a bid to buy Highclere when it was in financial trouble several years ago.    This is also where the Queen stays when her horses are racing at Newbury.

On our way back up to the castle.

In some of the episodes you can see this structure off in the distance.  Jon had asked us to check it out so we headed over that way.  What a fun view of the castle from here.

This tree is by the entrance to the grounds and it is amazing just how large it is.  You can see people under the left hand side of the tree to give you an idea of scale.
The cab driver who brought us out to the castle gave us his card and had us call him when we were ready to leave.  He was great and arrived within 10 minutes to take us back to our hotel.

As a fun surprise, we were riding out and saw this structure.  I asked our cab driver if this had been used in any filming and sure enough, this is the Temple of Diana used in Pride and Prejudice.  Ah!  My sister and I were so happy with our trip, and this was the icing on the cake of the day.

We were staying in the Newbury Hilton Centre, the hotel is older, but in good condition.  There is no lift, but we were helped with our luggage.  There is a Tesco grocery store within walking distance  There is a Costa coffee shop located in the Tesco that also came in handy.  We got our dinner from Tesco, a rotisserie chicken and a salad that we took back to our room and ate.  We also picked up a package of scones, clotted cream, and jam for breakfast the next morning.  It all worked out wonderfully and saved us a few pounds and some frustration of trying to eat out with a squirmy 9 month old.

Across the street from the Tesco was a shopping center.  Our favorite store in the shopping center was Pound World, everything inside was 1 pound.  We had a lot of fun looking through all of the things they had for sale and we picked up a few treasures.

1 comment:

  1. What a fun trip! We lived in England for a couple of years (09-11) and loved it! D.A. was just becoming popular when we left, so we were never inclined to visit Highclere. Kicking myself now, of course. I love your blog and all your adventures. I kept a blog while we lived in England and now it's like a scrapbook of our life there and all of our trips throughout Europe. I can so relate to traveling with kids in tow--and I only have two and they were tween-tween-age at the time. They never want to visit another cathedral or castle again in their lives!!