The South Sights

Highclere Castle

  • Highclere Park Map It
  • Highclere Park
  • Building/Architectural Site

Published 08/18/2015

Fodor's Review

Set in 1,000 acres of parkland designed by Capability Brown, this is the historic home of the actual earls of Carnarvon—as opposed to the imaginary earls of Grantham in television drama Downton Abbey. Much of which is shot here owes its appearance to Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament. Commissioned by the third earl to transform a simpler Georgian mansion, Barry used golden Bath stone to create this fantasy castle bristling with "gothic" turrets. Like its fictional counterpart, it served as a hospital during World War I. Highlights of the State Rooms include Van Dyke's equestrian portrait of Charles I in the Dining Room and the imposing library (Lord Grantham's retreat). There's also an exhibit of Egyptian antiquities collected by the 5th earl, known for his pivotal role in the 1920s excavation of ancient Egyptian tombs, notably Tutankhamun's. Find pleasant views of the house and countryside by walking the gardens and grounds. The house is 25 miles north of Winchester and 5 miles south of Newbury; there's train service from London and Winchester to Newbury, and taxis can take you the 5 miles to Highclere.

Sight Information


Highclere Castle, Highclere Park, Newbury, RG20 9RN, England

Map It



Sight Details:

  • £20 castle, exhibition, and gardens; £13 castle and gardens or exhibition; £5 gardens only
  • Mid-July–mid-Sept., castle Sun.–Thurs. 10:30–5; gardens 10:30–6; last admission at 4. Additional days in May and during Easter school vacation.
  • Castle tour at 10:30 am and 1 pm only. Tickets can only be prebooked through website.

Published 08/18/2015


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