Event: Highclere Castle openings
Location: Highclere Castle, Hampshire, RG20
Highclere Castle is the real Downton Abbey, the Victorian country house that has a starring role in the hit television drama Downton Abbey. The series is filmed at Highclere, the family seat of the Earls of Carnarvon since the 17th century, and is only open to the public at certain times of year, mainly during school holidays.
The castle was built by the architect Sir Charles Barry, who also designed the Houses of Parliament. It is set in 1,000 acres of sweeping parkland in the north Hampshire countryside, about an hour and a half’s drive from central London.
Some of the highlights are a large Van Dyck portrait of Charles I on horseback, which dominates the state dining room; the library, which has over 5,000 books, some dating back to the 16th century; and, the Egyptology exhibition on the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by the 5th Earl of Carnarvon in 1922.
Highclere Castle is open: at Easter from 30 Mar-5 Apr and 7-14 Apr 2013; over the May public holidays from 5-7 May and 26-28 May 2013; and, over the summer from Sundays to Thursdays from 14 Jul-12 Sep 2013 (not Fridays and Saturdays in summer). Tickets can be booked in advance on their website.