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…

For SATNAV: RG20 9RN

Visiting Highclere Castle

What to see

Now you have viewed the Downton Abbey series and seen the movie, visit Highclere Castle and re-experience each scene!

Glide down the imposing oak staircase as Lady Mary did on her wedding day, take a seat at Jackdaw’s Castle where Lady Edith so frequently found herself, and take in the state dining room where a number of the Dowager Countess’ delightfully sharp lines were delivered by Dame Maggie Smith.

The house, Egyptian exhibition and gardens are open to the public for self-guided tours during the summer months and at other times during the rest of the year, such as Christmas and Easter.

The castle’s surrounding parkland has a Grade I listing on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The park is the earliest recognised estate in Hampshire.

There are numerous follies on the estate. The Temple of Diana was built in the 18th century using columns from Devonshire House in Piccadilly which had earlier burnt down and was refashioned by Barry.

Heaven’s Gate is a folly about 60 feet high on Sidown Hill, built in 1749 by Robert Sawyer Herbert. Other follies from that era that can be found on the estate grounds include the Etruscan Temple, Jackdaw’s Castle and Milford Lake House, with the last two being attributed to the architect The Earl of Pembroke.

 

When should I visit?

As well as general admission days, Highclere Castle also holds themed guided tours throughout the year and a number of spectacular events, such as the Battle Proms picnic concert.

Book your Highclere Castle tickets today!

Getting to Highclere Castle

The 5,000-acre Highclere Castle estate is in Hampshire, England, about 5 miles (8 km) south of Newbury, Berkshire.

Highclere Castle lies to the west of London, not far from the M4 and Newbury. Oxford and Birmingham are to the north, Winchester and Southampton to the south. By car, simply follow the brown tourist signs from the A34.

There is a good train service from London Paddington to Newbury. You will find taxis outside the station at Newbury. A taxi from Newbury Station to Highclere Castle takes approximately 15 minutes. Charges may differ on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Alternatively, travel from London Waterloo to Andover, which is about 20 minutes away.

 

Highclere Park, Highclere, Newbury RG20 9RN

 

 

Highclere Castle