Information Update from Highclere Castle

Highclere Spring and Summer 2021 

Whilst UK government regulations mean that Highclere is unable to open the Castle doors before the 17th May 2021, we are however looking forward to welcoming guests for a Champagne Picnic Afternoon Tea in the Highclere Castle Gardens (please see ticketing website for details). From late daffodils to the blossom of cherry trees and carpets of cowslips, the gardens are full of promise.  

We have emailed all customers affected by the government roadmap the chance to transfer their tickets into July and August, with vouchers available to those unable to attend during these months. We will endeavour to ensure you always have priority booking.

When summer arrives, the castle and grounds will be open for general admission, with the tea rooms serving lunches, and Luis’ Cocktail Bar ready to mix you a fabulous gin cocktail.

We have a special weekend in September 2021: “The Magic of the Movies” which will channel your inner Downton, so please dress as your favourite Downton character and join us! The autumn has some beautiful tours around the themes of film sets as well as our October History Festival. 

We very much hope you enjoyed “Christmas at Highclere” on Channel 4, and felt that some team Highclere contributed some memorable lines rather in the vogue of Downton Abbey. We will welcome Christmas tours and teas from late November until December 19th

We hope you will find many different tours to tempt you, and we very much look forward to seeing you. Tickets for all of the above can be found on our ticketing website, and we ask that you book in advance of your visit.

With all Best Wishes,

The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon


The first written records of the estate date back to 749 when an Anglo-Saxon King granted the estate to the Bishops of Winchester. Bishop William of Wykeham built a beautiful medieval palace and gardens in the park. Later on, the palace was rebuilt as Highclere Place House in 1679 when it was purchased by Sir Robert Sawyer, the direct ancestor of the current Earl of Carnarvon.  In 1842, Sir Charles Barry, who also designed the Houses of Parliament, transformed Highclere House into the present day Highclere Castle.

During the First World War, Highclere Castle was converted into a hospital for wounded soldiers run by the 5th Countess of Carnarvon. Throughout the Second World War, Highclere Castle was home to  children evacuated from London.

There are between 250 and 300 rooms in the Castle and during your tour you will explore the main state rooms so familiar from "Downton Abbey". You will see some of the bedrooms after which you will follow the stairs down to the cellars and old staff quarters where you will find the Egyptian Exhibition, celebrating the 5th Earl of Carnarvon's discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun.