Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Sunday, 26 August 2012

{Visit to Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle)}

{approaching Downton from the carpark}

All of you who read my blog know that I love love love Downton Abbey (blogs here & here). While it aired last year, a friend used to come over Sunday night & we'd watch it together, drinking wine, and commenting on the plot, dress,  house etc... So, we are waiting with extreme anticipation for Season 3 for sure!
While everyone knows it's a fictional world, Downton is filmed at Highclere Castle, a real stately home, belonging to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. It's not easy to get a ticket to see inside, as the family still lives there. But apart from that, when it is open to the public, the tv series has made such an impact that reservations are hard to make (you can also hire it out for a private wedding). The current Countess of  Carnarvon (#8) and hostess of the house, has recently written a book on Lady Almina, the 5th Countess whose life seems to have inspired much of the plot for the tv series. Lady Almina was the illegitimate child of Alfred de Rothschild, and during the war, converted Highclere into a hospital. Her husband, the 5th Earl, is famous for discovering the tomb of Tutankhamun, and there's an amazing exhibition on his Egyptian findings, available to visitors at Highclere.
I was so very happy when my cousins decided to take a holiday in the middle of the week (as all the weekends were booked up) and take me to Highclere. You can't take photographs inside, but the interiors are just as stately as they are in the series. Some of the rooms are closed, as they still sometimes hold guests of the family, and the house is littered with photos of the family with various elite individuals, including the Queen and Lady Di.
They are apparently looking for an Assistant Butler if you're interested!
My favourite part of the interior was the main hall:
{via hooked on houses}
But the dining room is pretty fantastic as well (& yes that's a Van Dyck painting--a real one): 
Downton Abbey dining room
{via hooked on houses}
& how was my experience? Fantastic! I kept living all the moments in the series, however in a little less glamorous fashion!

{we had tea in the garden}
{via a whitewashed cottage}
We perused the grounds....


We lunched on the grounds: 

{tea at downton via black tie & flip flops}
& there was plenty of lovely walks to be had around the gardens & further afield...
Downton Abbey (2010)
{tea on the lawn via austenprose}

{this walk required wellies!}
Downton Abbey Christmas special
{via the guardian}

All in all a fantabulous visit. Thanks to my cousins for taking me there! Following closely on this lovely visit, I headed to Spain. More to come on that, all in time!
cheerio for now, 


  1. Wow! Just fantastic. You kind of are a modern day Mary but less snobby & severe. A mini with wellies is better than some dowdy tweeds any day!

    1. aw, thanks! It was gorgeous & I was thinking of you the entire time. Must go back together one day.