Visit to Highclere Castle 17 July 2017

On a lovely warm and sunny morning a full coach party set off for Highclere Castle, or sometimes known as Downton Abbey, after the extensive filming of the series at the Castle. In fact it was a “Downton’s” paradise, filled with countless photographs and props. Highclere is now the home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon; this has been the home of the Carnarvon Family for over 300 years. Sir John Barry designed the Castle in 1842, and he was also the architect for the Houses of Parliament. There are many similarities between the styles of the two buildings. Entering the Castle we were welcomed by a spectacular gothic entrance hall, with marble columns and a vaulted ceiling. During the visit we saw a collection of over 5,650 books in the library. In the Music room gilded panels and stunning 16th century Italian silk embroiders covered the walls. The 5th Countess of Carnarvon decorated The Drawing Room with green French silks. The Saloon forms the heart of the Castle   It has a 50 foot high vaulted ceiling. A grand sweeping Oak Staircase connects the Saloon with the bedrooms. The Dining Room has a portrait of Charles I by Van Dyck. In the cellars of the castle was an Egyptian Exhibition. In 1922 The 5th Earl of Carnarvon, together with a colleague Howard Carter, discovered the Tomb of Tutankhamun. The gardens have existed since medieval times. Much of the park and gardens, as it is seen today, was the work of Capability Brown and the 1st Earl of Carnarvon. The large wild flower meadow was amass with colour. The Secret Garden, Walled Garden and the Monks Garden were very colourful and picturesque with a large variety of flowers, bushes and trees. 3 café’s had a variety of hot and cold food and there were plenty of places to enjoy a picnic. We had a very good journey back to Carterton and it was agreed that we all had enjoyed the visit. Pam

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