Thursday, August 9, 2012:
From my travel memories of my trip to the London 2012 Olympics, the day I visited Highclere Castle is without a doubt one of the highlights! Prior to traveling to England, I started watching the television show, ‘Downton Abbey,’ and instantly fell in love! I had my mom watch it as well, and she loved it just as much. When we were planning what to do in England besides the Olympics, visiting the castle that IS Downton Abbey was high on our list.
My mom and I traveled to the castle via a train to Newbury, and then took a cab to the castle itself. The ride was about 45 minutes through gorgeous England. Our cab ride was wonderful as well, because the driver was from the area, and told us a great deal of interesting information. Something exciting happened on the train ride though that started off the day perfectly. I decided to send a message via twitter to one of the actors telling him we were on our way to the castle. His name is Hugh Bonneville, and he plays Lord Grantham. I didn’t expect any response really, but to my surprise, shortly after I sent the message, he sent me this hilarious reply:
I don’t think I could have asked for a better reply from him, haha. Also, this September, I worked at the Primetime Emmy Awards, and had the pleasure of escorting him and his wife backstage. I had the chance to talk to him about that message he sent me, and he remembered the exact tweet he sent. We then proceeded to have a good 5 minute chat about the Olympics and my previous study abroad experience in London! He and his wife were so sweet, and it was great to speak to him in person!
Back to the castle, as we pulled up in our cab, my breath was taken away by the beauty of Highclere Castle and the vast amount of land surrounding it. We stepped out of the cab, and walked down the road to the castle entrance. It was truly surreal to see the massive castle in person. This was my view looking down the road:
We first explored the outside of the castle, including the gardens. The amount of open land and flowers surrounding the castle was astonishing. After exploring for about an hour or so, we then took a tour inside! Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside, but I made sure to take many mental pictures. We walked through the main entrance, and walked the same steps as the Crawleys do when they enter Downton Abbey. This is the first room we saw, as seen in the television show, the door in the back of the photo is where we entered:
We first took a tour upstairs, inside of each bedroom. In each room that is used in the television show was a sign, stating the character it belonged to, and a little biography on them. The most well-known room on the show, aka the “Red Room,” was definitely the most buzzed about amongst the tourists. As we moved through the sitting rooms and library downstairs, there were workers there to answer any questions we had. It was interesting to see all the real life family photos of the people who actually own Highclere Castle. Seen in many of the photos were members of the Royal Family, including Her Majesty, the Queen, as well as Princess Diana. Overall, the house was divine, and it was fun to stand in the rooms and the gardens seen on the show. After our tour, my mom and I went to the cafe, and had tea, scones, and clotted cream! I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to spend the day at Downton Abbey 🙂
Here are the photos I took that day!
Cheers! andrea ♥