Summer 2020 Welcome Information

Hello and Welcome

In these extraordinary and challenging times, we would like to share our plans on how we are welcoming visitors and guests so as to keep both you and the Highclere Team safe and happy. We were delighted to open on Sunday July 12th for our Summer Public Opening Season which runs until the 16th September. Please do pre- book tickets on line here. At this time, we cannot guarantee entry for those without pre-booked tickets. 

Your Arrival Story:

  • Drive through the Park Gates (perhaps playing the Downton Abbey music).
  • Follow the signs to the large field at the front of the Castle, where our car parkers will direct you to ensure there is plenty of room between each vehicle. (Disabled Parking is signposted)
  • Please stay with your family/friendship group and observe the social distance markers as you approach visitor reception where our staff will welcome you, albeit behind a clear face mask, as your ticket is checked.

The Gardens

We hope you will find the gardens beautiful and peaceful. The gates between the different areas tend to pull or push and there will be hand gel at key points. The gardens extend to 100 acres with broad paths and expansive lawns but where the paths meander closer, please give way and allow space.

The Castle

Our numbers will be lower than in the past and, in order to allow suitable distancing inside, you will be asked to queue in a generous curving arrangement on the gravel in front of the Castle to await your welcome. Please stay with the party you arrived with. Progressive wooden stands will mark the social distancing spaces with quotes from some of the Downton Abbey characters.

Once inside, you will be asked to keep any coats and bags with you and to put your phones and cameras away as we do not permit photography inside the Castle. During the tour you will find large photographic boards of behind the scenes of Downton Abbey  along with fun facts to mark out the “social distances”.

The tour begins with the main State Rooms before going upstairs to the Galleried bedrooms. We have opened new bedrooms and routes to help preserve social distancing which we hope you will enjoy. Walk down the Oak Staircase and imagine yourself to be on set at Downton Abbey before finding more hand gel on the table at the bottom. Continue though the Dining Room and down to the Egyptian Exhibition. In the exhibition, again please use the fun facts to observe the space between you as well as using the hand gel on offer.  You will exit along the servants’ corridor in the basement into the courtyard. In all the tour is about 400 metres long.

Tearooms and Cafes

There are three serving points from which to purchase takeaway food from scones and cakes, to traditional British sausages in a baguette, paninis, pasties, salads and sandwiches. (Vegetarian and non-vegetarian). We also offer a wide variety of coffees, tea and soft drinks as well as a cocktail bar for memorable Highclere Castle Gin cocktails, wines and champagne.  We have installed bespoke Perspex screens and we would ask you to please pay by card if possible. Again, you will find hand gel by all these points. Please note that as on Sunday 9th August 2020, facemasks are now compulsory inside the Castle, Gift shop and Tea Rooms unless you are medically exempt.

We kindly ask that if you bring a picnic with you, to enjoy it by your car and to be responsible to take away all litter with you. 

Gift Shop and Toilets

Access to the gift shop, plant shop and toilets will be managed by a member of our staff to conduct the observance of safe distances where there is more limited space.  We will extend the shop to an outdoor area whenever possible. We have also increased our cleaning routines and, for example, use UV sanitiser wands over borrowed wheelchairs.

We do hope you enjoy your time with us. Please click here to go straight to the ticket page.