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. Please note that as of September 9th, the UK government has altered the guidelines for families and social gatherings at home and in your gardens rather than those applying to schools and businesses. As before we continue to request you wear a face mask inside the Castle and to follow all Public Health England guidelines.
We were delighted to open in July for our Summer Public Opening Season which concluded on the 16th September. Please do pre- book tickets on line here. Moving forward we have a series of smaller Autumn and Winter events, please click here to pre-book 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 (up to a maximum of 6 people). Please observe the social distance when approaching visitor reception where our staff will welcome you, albeit behind a clear face mask, as your ticket is checked.
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.
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 a variety of serving points for takeaway food or complimentary refreshments depending on the event you are attending. Please see the specific event website page for further details. 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 have also created a pop up shop in the courtyard outside for anyone who would feel more comfortable remaining outside (weather dependent). We have 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.