The first time I watched Downton Abbey I fell in love, I loved the gorgeous setting, the characters, the outfits and was all of a sudden addicted! When the last ever series finished last year I was devastated, soon after I started watching it from the beginning again and have done so several times since!
So when I was asked if I would like to go visit Highclere Castle (where Downton Abbey is set) with J's family the answer was a massive yes!
We booked the tickets really early in January as people had told us how quickly it sells out, and we managed to get tickets for July 10th. After months of waiting that day arrived on Sunday and we set off for at 8am for the 2 hour drive from Birmingham to West Berkshire.
When you arrive at Highclere Castle you first drive down a very very long driveway to the Castle, the grounds around are stunning and you soon start to see the castle in view.
Pulling up to Highclere Castle took my breath away, it is just stunning. Standing there in all its glory its just a gorgeous building! Being a Downton Abbey fan I instantly recognized the front of the building and the gravel drive from the programme which was really exciting! There was a small queue waiting to go inside the castle but it moved fast, and we were only waiting for about 5 minutes before we entered the building!
You are not allowed to take any photos inside of the castle which is a shame because it means I have none to show you but understandable. The inside of the castle was just as stunning as the outside, you are able to look around the 6 State Rooms downstairs and a selection of bedrooms upstairs including the bedrooms that were used for Lady Edith and Lady Sybil in the series. The rooms are so beautifully decorated and as you walk round they have a guide in each room able to answer any questions you have about the room. As you walk around you can also see where parts of Downton Abbey were filmed in certain rooms, and some have pictures of the cast filming which I really liked.
After having some tea and lunch in the tearoom, which was lovely and had a wide option of cakes, sandwiches and hot food we went to explore the castle grounds. The grounds are just beautiful, there is acres of land, and you are permitted to explore most of it. There is a secret garden with hundreds of gorgeous flowers, a wooded area, and lots of green land to explore. Walking around as a Downton Abbey fan I was able to recognize certain areas where parts of the series were filmed, including the bench Lady Mary sits on several times in the series!
We spent 5 hours at Highclere Castle but you could easily spend more time there, exploring more of the grounds and the gardens. They have a lovely gift shop and several tea rooms. All in all it was an amazing experience. If you are a Downton Abbey fan I would definitely recommend it but even if you're not it is still a lovely day out!