Two words...Downton Abbey
Greetings! Our next adventure was a "staycation" if you will, and took us to the Newbury area to visit Highclere Castle and a few other sites nearby. We stayed at Rookwood Farmhouse, a cute bed and breakfast about 10 minutes from the castle. Our host, Charlotte, was absolutely lovely and her husband is a distant cousin of Sir Winston Churchill. Charlotte provided us with excellent recommendations for places to visit and restaurants.
Rookwood Farmhouse: https://www.rookwoodhouse.co.uk
I have wanted to visit Highclere Castle since the moment we landed in England. I am a HUGE Downtown Abbey fan. If you have been living under rock for the past decade, Downton Abbey is British historical period drama television series set in the early 20th century. The series is set in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey between 1912 and 1926, follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era. The show explores how great events in history affected the family and the impact on British social hierarchy. Highclere Castle is a 5,000-acre estate is in Hampshire, England. It is the country seat of the Earl of Carnarvon. It was not only selected as the filming location for Downton Abbey and the subsequent movie, but also the British television show Jeeves and Wooster, staring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed inside of the castle, so I took every picture of the outside I could possibly think of.
We had tickets to a special Christmas event at Highclere and I had the amazing opportunity to meet Fiona, 8th Countess of Carnarvon, also known as Lady Carnarvon. We talked for a few minutes and she was very down to earth and relatable...not what you expect from aristocracy. She has a blog and has written a few books about previous ladies of Highclere and a book of Christmas traditions at Highclere. I, of course, had to purchase the books because I can never have enough books and Lady Carnarvon was nice enough to sign them.
There was an excellent Egyptian exhibition in the cellars of the Castle which pays homage to the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who along with his friend Howard Carter discovered the Tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922.
I loved Highclere, but it was incredibly crowded. There was a cute little Christmas market, but it was so crowded we got stuck a few times trying to make our way around to the various artisans. I would also have liked to have taken some pictures of the wonderful Christmas decorations that were all around the house and there were even carolers!
On to The Vyne...