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Visiting the Real Downton Abbey: Highclere Castle

Visiting Highclere Castle is a dream come true for any fan of Downton Abbey. Located in Hampshire, England, Highclere Castle serves as the beloved backdrop to the period drama.

From its grand staircase to the library, this exquisite 19th-century estate leaves visitors feeling like they’ve stepped right into a filming set.

Even if you have never seen an episode of Downton Abbey, you will certainly enjoy the splendor that is Highclere Castle.

Highclere Castle was built in 1679 but was later renovated in the 1840s by Charles Barry, an architect who also designed The Houses of Parliament.

Today, the Castle is the home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon.

Because Highclere Castle is a private estate, it is not open year-round. You can only tour it during specific months of the year when the family is not using it.

Visiting the Real Downton Abbey: Highclere Castle

Guests can choose to take a self-guided tour of Highclere Castle, where they will be able to explore several rooms inside the castle along with the parks and garden.

For an additional fee, you can choose to tour the Egyptian Exhibition which is in the basement of the castle.

If you love Downton Abbey, you will enjoy seeing several of the rooms used in filming.

Downton Abbey, The Dining Room.
Michelle Dockery stars as Lady Mary, Robert James-Collier as Thomas Barrow, Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley and Allen Leech as Tom Branson in Downton Abbey. Photo Credit: Jaap Buitendijk / © 2019 Focus Features, LLC

Guests are able to walk into rooms that are exactly the same as when they were filming Downton Abbey, like the library, the dining room, and of course, the main staircase.

The staff is well-prepared to answer questions about filming and might even surprise you with stories about actors.

Be advised that photography and videography are NOT permitted within the Castle or Egyptian Exhibition, but are allowed in the outdoor areas, including the garden.

The Castle Grounds

Give yourself enough time to enjoy the grounds and the gardens.

The property is quite extensive and there are plenty of places to enjoy!

You can even pack a picnic lunch or purchase one along with your tour to enjoy if the weather permits.

They also have a small food truck (serving ice cream and snacks) along with tables for guests to use.

Gardens at Highclere Castle

The garden is quite lovely in the spring & summer months, so make sure that you make the walk to see them!

The time of year you visit will determine the types of flowers that will be in bloom.

Nevertheless, it is worth seeing whenever you choose to visit the castle.

Whether you’re a fan of the show or just love visiting historic places, Highclere Castle should certainly be at the top of your list! With its stunning views and fascinating history, it’s guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.

Tickets to Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle is open the following dates:

  • Spring: Sunday May 26th, 2024 and Monday May 27th, 2024.
  • Summer: Sunday July 7th, 2024 – Thursday September 5th, 2024 

There are three admission times for Castle entry, so choose the best time for you. Just know that you can visit ANYTIME in the booking window. 

  • Morning Admission:    Admission between 10:00am – 12:30pm 
  • Midday Admission:    Admission between 12:30pm – 2:30pm 
  • Afternoon Admission:  Admission between 2:30pm – 4:00pm. 
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Highclere Castle Tours

Several tours are available throughout the year, which reflect the seasons, the history, and of course Downton Abbey.

Tea at Highclere Castle

You can do a “Picnic Afternoon Tea for Two” Box which contains a selection of cakes, scones and sandwiches with a half bottle of Joseph Perrier Champagne. Boxes can be made Standard, Vegetarian & Gluten-Free.

How to Get to Highclere Castle from London

By Car

  • Highclere Castle lies 60 miles to the west of London, so you will want to take the M4 as if you are going to Heathrow Airport.
  • At junction 13, take the A34 exit to Oxford/Newbury
  • At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto the A34 ramp to Southampton/M3/Newbury and keep right onto the A34
  • Take the B4640 exit toward Newtown/Burghclere and then follow the signs to Highclere

By Train

  • From London Paddington station, take the train to Newbury. From Newbery Station, take a taxi to Highclere Castle. It takes approximately 15 minutes.
  • On your return to the station, you will need to book a taxi to come out to the Castle on your own to pick you up.

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Russell & Sheryl Meadows

Monday 17th of April 2023

My wife and I booked a 50th.anniversary trip to London and Paris.The day we spent at Highclare Castle was the highlight of our entire trip.The memories and pictures taken are cherished for a life time.

Louisa O’Brien

Saturday 15th of April 2023

I’d like to book reservation for my husband and myself to take tour of Highclere Castle this coming Christmas Week 2023, when we’ll be in Europe on vacation. How can I do that? Appreciate any assistance.


Sunday 16th of April 2023

I bet it will be beautiful! Here are some things going on:

L Pepaj

Thursday 13th of April 2023

I did visit with my daughter for the Christmas event and it was a magical. I am a big fan of Downton Abbey so I loved it

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