Highclere Castle – home of Downton Abbey

Hubs and I both love a bit of Downton Abbey, it is just perfect chilled out Sunday evening viewing. Entertaining without having to use up much brain power, just good fun and I always find myself speaking rather eloquently after watching it. We had been working our way back through all of the series (mainly as we are so knackered in the evenings and need something that is easy viewing) this summer. So when I realised we were driving Β past Highclere Castle (where Downton is filmed) to get to Dorset for our recent (ish) holiday, I got massively excited and knew I wanted to visit.


Then I realised it wasn’t going to be quite so simple. We were travelling down on a Saturday (and Highclere is closed on a Saturday) and though we were coming back mid-week, we discovered the all of the tickets available for sale in advance had long since sold. The website did say that some tickets are available on the day but obviously it is down to luck whether you get them or not. We decided it was worth it and thought at the evry least we would be able to get into the grounds for a picnic to break up our journey even if we couldn’t get in to see the house.

But as luck would have it there were tickets available when we arrived – hurrah!


The castle is magnificent, even from a distance and it was so cool seeing if in real life. (Could I sound much more geeky right now??) Inside is wonderful too though sadly you are not allowed to take any photographs inside the house. There are no pushchairs allowed inside so we carried LM round and both her and Monkey were very good. It was fab seeing all of the rooms we have watched so many times on the show.

It was quite busy and there was a bit of a bottle neck looking round the upstairs rooms, meaning a lot of standing around and queuing, though I think that was just bad timing as there wasn’t as many people behind us as in front! As mentioned both LM and Monkey did really well and a group of older ladies couldn’t stop cooing over the pair of them which was lovely!

After a good look round the house it was time for a picnic before exploring the grounds. It was really quite blustery but warm enough for our picnic and we chose a bench with a gorgeous view of the house and an area that is also frequently seen on the show when they wander the grounds. So a perfect spot for some family selfies :).

highclere picnic

After a windy picnic thankfully the sun made an appearance as we set off to explore the grounds, gardens and the secret garden, which we particularly liked.

highclere gardens

Monkey very much enjoyed running around the grounds and exploring the lovely wildflower meadow too.

highclere grounds

Then it was time for a quck english cream tea pit stop in one of the various refreshment areas – there was a few including the marquee we visited. All of them were heaving at lunchtime but by the time we visited they were much calmer.Β We had another little run around in the grounds afterwards, including taking some more silly selfies and just having a giggle with the kiddies…

highclere silly selfies

Then it was time to get back in the car and continue our journey home. Our holiday was over! Our visit to Highclere was a very lovely to end a very lovely week though.

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29 thoughts on “Highclere Castle – home of Downton Abbey

  1. But did it all seem much smaller in real life? I always think places you see on tv are disppointing when you see them for real. However, I love Downton Abbey so would love to visit. Was the house all done out like the show or do you think the owners were trying to avoid that sort of commercialism? #MondayEscapes

  2. I am seriously jealous of your visit as I am a complete Downton fan (who isn’t) and I would love to see where it is filmed. How strange to see “modern” people in your photos where I have only ever seen those from around 100 years ago previously! I am off to google where Highclere Castle is to see if visiting is a possibility when I am next in the UK …. #MondayEscapes

  3. That’s awesome!!! I’m happy that you still managed to get the tickets!!
    So cool.. I watched DA a few times, but couldn’t keep up with it, I found a bit boring, but I’m guessing it gets better with time because people love it!!

    Thank you for joining #MondayEscapes

  4. OMG I am soooo jealous! We were near there in May and baddddly wanted to visit but saw that the tickets were sold out so we didn’t think it would be worth going! Now I feel like a silly goose for skipping out! I guess I’ll just have to go the next time I visit family!!! #MondayEscapes

  5. I live just up the road from Highclere but have never visited. I haven’t seen Downton either and didn’t realise the castle was so popular! (I’d never have considered booking, would just turn up). #Mondayescapes

  6. I’ll be honest: I don’t even watch Downton Abbey, but I think it’s a beautiful castle and I would try to get a ticket just knowing it is the real thing! Thanks for the ticket info – we’re already penciling this in for next summer, and I don’t expect the crowds will be any lighter. Thanks for sharing your #MondayEscapes!

  7. I live 10minutes up the road from Highclere so really should pay them a visit! Your photos are lovely and the grounds and castle look gorgeous. You can see why they chose it for the DA series! I’ll definitely visit soon. #whatevertheweather

  8. Wow! I’ve thought of visiting a couple of times but never managed to look at the website at the right time for tickets. Will make sure we visit next year #WhatevertheWeather

  9. Wow this looks like a great day out. What a beautiful place with such pretty grounds!! We always pass near this whilst on route to my parents but have yet to actually pop in for a visit, but after seeing your post I think we will defiantly have to schedule in a visit soon. Looks like a fantastics day out for all the family and you can’t beat a cream tea pit stop at such a beautiful place either.

  10. What a fab stop off on your way home. I think it’s always great to keep holidays going for as long a possible. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never watched Downton Abbey – I know, what planet have I been on!?! However, I’ve been in the park at Highclere. We’ve not visited the house of gardens so they are definitely something to add to the bucket list #whatevertheweather

  11. I’m a big fan of Downton Abbey and I loved reading about your visit of Highclere Castle. Made me even more excited about the upcoming season! Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  12. I’ve been keen to visit Highclere for a while now so was very intrigued to read your post. Sounds like it’s worth it! Must be strange to see the Downtown rooms without his lordship and the ladies in them! #whatevertheweather xx

  13. It looks amazing! I have to say I’ve never really watched Downton, I must check it out thougha s everyone raves about it! It must have been lovely to see somewhere that you’ve watched on a period drama though, you can properly imagine what it would be like to live there! Love your family selfies, they look great, you always manage to get some fab photos!
    Well done to your little ones for doing so well walking around the house even when there were lots of queues and then plenty of space to run around outside too. I love the little secret garden, it looks great!

  14. So glad you managed to get tickets to look around inside the house – this is definitely on my list of places to visit. Love all your selfies in front of the house and the grounds look gorgeous πŸ™‚

  15. I’ve never seen a single episode of Downton but I know how hugely popular it is! I just don’t really do ‘Sunday evening TV’ but wow what a stunning building! Looks like you all had a lovely time there too and high five on getting on-spec tickets on the day!! Xx #difflinky

  16. I am so glad the sun finally shone for you! I have always wanted to go to Highclere castle, too, mainly because of Downton but also because it’s just a spectacular building. Such a shame you can’t take photos inside! Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

  17. It looks like you had a great time exploring Highclere Castle, Monkey and LM look so happy in all the photos so they obviously enjoyed themselves too. I bet it was quite surreal exploring the rooms and grounds that you’ve seen so many times on the TV. It’s great you managed to get tickets on the day, it would’ve been such a disappointment if you hadn’t. Thanks for linking up with Country Kids.

  18. Sounds like a lovely stop on your way home. We are very close to Highclere castle and have spent many an easter egg hunt in the grounds which we all love, but have never been inside. We love Downton too, so we really must make the effort to look inside, it sounds interesting. Glad you had a good time. x

  19. I am so jealous. Did it feel quite surreal seeing the sets? I love big grand houses and it doesn’t get much grander than this. Hooray for getting tickets on the day! It looks like such beautiful grounds to run around and explore. The perfect place for a picnic.Thank you so so much for linking this to #whatevertheweather x

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