Explore Highclere Castle
Relish going ‘behind the scenes’ and exploring the history and stunning gardens of the real-life Downton Abbey!
Highclere Castle is a spectacular home with an inspirational landscape which its residents, The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, are thrilled to share with visitors.
Since Downton Abbey’s first television episode aired, starring actors including Hugh Bonneville and Dame Maggie Smith, the location has captured the imagination of hundreds of millions of people around the world, making its big-screen movie debut in 2019
A Brief History of Highclere Castle
Highclere Castle has a rich heritage, with 749 AD being the year that the first written archives of the manor date back to, when the estate was granted to the Bishops of Winchester by an Anglo-Saxon King.
The Highclere Castle that appears on Downton Abbey is a country residence constructed in the Jacobean tradition by architect Sir Charles Barry – who worked on the Houses of Parliament – in the 19th century, with a park designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century.
With Sir Geoffrey De Havilland making his initial flight at Seven Barrows on the Highclere Estate in 1910, it holds a significant place in the history of aeroplanes.
In the First World War, Highclere Castle was transformed into a hospital for injured soldiers run by the 5th Countess of Carnarvon, and it was home to evacuees during the Second World War, the names of whom you can see engraved into the lead of the building’s roof. During the war, military aircraft from four nations crashed on the Highclere Estate while on active service.
In 1988, Highclere Castle first opened its gates to the public. Today, the Castle is the home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon.
As well as being the setting for the Emmy Award-winning TV show Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle was also a filming location for the British comedy series Jeeves and Wooster, which starred actors Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry.
Getting to Highclere Castle
The 5,000-acre Highclere Castle estate is in Hampshire, England, about 5 miles (8 km) south of Newbury, Berkshire. More…
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