Millions around the world know it well as the home of the fictional Crawley family. But this a real house with a real family, and a place you can visit.
A long and colourful history
Highclere can trace its history back the dark ages when the first buildings were recorded on the site. Since then, a variety of different styles of accommodation have been constructed, culminating in the classical Georgian manor that you can see today. The 5,000 acre grounds around the house include a park designed by the renowned Capability Brown.
The house was at the centre of political life in Victorian times. Records show that many famous faces and leading figures stayed the night to enjoy parties and food served up by downstairs staff who, no doubt, had their own stories to tell.
Just like its fictional counterpart, Highclere was used as a hospital for injured soldiers during World War One, while World War Two saw it become a home for many evacuee children.
Of course Highclere is most famous for starring in Downton Abbey but it has also been the set of many other well-known productions. The TV version of Jeeves and Wooster used the house as a location and it also appeared in Michael Palin’s The Missionary and was the ideal setting for a murder mystery in a 2004 Miss Marple episode.
The upsurge in visitors due to Downton has actually helped to pay for ongoing improvements and repairs to the House, so if you stop by you’ll be playing your part in maintaining this amazing slice of British history.
Have the real Downton experience
Visitors to the house will have the opportunity to explore the grand State Rooms, some of the 12 bedrooms and the impressive staircases. For history buffs, there’s a fascinating Egyptian Exhibition in the cellars, complete with replicas of paintings from Tutankhamun’s tomb, which was discovered by one of Highclere’s previous owners, Lord Carnarvon.
You can also explore the acres of outdoor space, which includes gardens, woodland, parkland and the beautiful Follies.
Things to do around Highclere Castle
Once you’ve enjoyed your genuine Downton experience then there’s still plenty to do in the surrounding district. Wellington Park offers 350 acres of countryside with brilliant outdoor play opportunities for children.
Moors Valley Country Park provides plenty of entertainment, including a steam railway, golf course and cycle trails.
Portsmouth is not far away for those who want to explore nautical history or simply smell the sea. Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory can be found here.
Where to stay around Highclere Castle
Best Western has the area around Highclere well covered with a range of options for families and solo visitors.
Best Western West Grange Hotel offers modern convenience in Midgham, just outside of Newbury. The hotel is renowned for its contemporary comfort, with the added bonus of having the countryside as its back garden.
Best Western Calcot Hotel is also convenient for the royal seat at Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park with 78 recently refurbished bedrooms and excellent transport links
Best Western Andover Hotel is packed to its wonderful rafters with country house charm. Conveniently perched in spacious and quiet grounds in the historic market town of Andover, the hotel puts you within easy reach of some gorgeous rural walks and local places of interest.
Book direct with us for our lowest rates
There’s no need to hunt around for deals because you will always get the lowest price exclusively when you book direct** on the Best Western website, via our call centre or direct at one of our hotels thanks to our brand new ‘Rewards Rates’ which offer you a discount off the same rates found anywhere else.
To benefit from the very lowest rates around, you need to be a Best Western Rewards member, but don’t worry – if you’re not already a member, you can join today. Simply join for free during the booking process.