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“Easter Trail”
Review of Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle
Ranked #3 of 39 things to do in Newbury
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Designed by Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament, this is considered to be one of the finest Victorian homes still in existence, which houses fine furniture and works of art.
Reviewed 6 April 2018

We booked in advance to visit for the Easter Egg trail as we knew would be passing.This was our first time here and we enjoyed the grounds and what we saw of the castle. We will probably return for a longer and more thorough visit in the main season.

Thank Simon W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"egyptian exhibition"
in 442 reviews
"downton fan"
in 118 reviews
"gift shop"
in 274 reviews
"the secret garden"
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"tv series"
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"howard carter"
in 65 reviews
"lord carnarvon"
in 52 reviews
"no photography"
in 50 reviews
"carnarvon family"
in 47 reviews
"downton connection"
in 34 reviews
"family home"
in 75 reviews
"lady carnarvon"
in 43 reviews
"coach house"
in 41 reviews
"family photos"
in 37 reviews
"battle proms"
in 25 reviews
"king tut's tomb"
in 26 reviews
"grounds are beautiful"
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Reviewed 5 April 2018

I was certainly pleased that I booked my ticket at New Year to visit this Easter, as it was completely sold out. You must book a ticket online in advance, as you will not be able to purchase one on entry. The house is not open all year round and therefore tickets sell out quickly. You then print them off at home and take them with you to be scanned when you visit. As a fan of Downtown Abbey, the sight of the beautiful house is breathtaking and one I will always remember. I visited on Easter Sunday 2018 and there were were excellent activities for children, including an easter Egg hunt which was also sold out, and every child received a chocolate egg. The Easter Bunny came to visit much to the delight of the children, characters from Star Wars in costume, there was a falconry display, ferret races and all sorts of fun for the children in front of the house. It was very well organised. Lord Carnarvon was out and about and actually spoke to my sister about the Easter flowers in the garden which really made her day. Lady Carnarvon was also out and about amongst the children. The gift shop was very small however and very cramped. I think it would be better if only a few people went in at a time, as it was so busy you could barely look around. I bought a lovely bracelet and Downton Abbey gifts which you certainly can't purchase elsewhere. Although the grounds were very pleasant and the view of the house amazing, there doesn't seem to be much order to the garden, there seemed to be bits of garden here there and everywhere in the grounds, rather than in one specific area. I also found that a lot of the house was not open to the public. It would have been lovely to have taken photographs inside the house which was sadly forbidden. There was a vintage car display outside the house which was certainly an added bonus, and I enjoyed the Egyptian Exhibition based on one of the earlier Lord Carnarvon's discovery of Tutankhamun. The tour guides inside the house were very friendly and informative. My only negative is that it is not disabled friendly. We were able to reserve a wheelchair in advance for an elderly member of my party, however the grounds were very difficult to manuoeuvre a wheelchair, as it was mostly soft gravel. In the end we gave up and the member of the party simply had to rely on using a walking stick. The disabled parking area is also still a considerable distance from the house, and within the house there is no lift. I was also slightly disappointed with the cafe/dining area, which I thought would have been much bigger, with quite a grand menu choice, however this was not the case. Overall however, the castle was beautiful and to see Lord and Lady Carnarvon was indeed something my family and I will always remember.

Thank Victoria N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2018

Be clear! I'm no fan of visiting Stately homes. This was a Christmas present from my daughter. It was a cold wet day and I was expecting a dreary day out. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The house is lovely with a real homely feel. The 'Castle' is impressive enough, smaller than I expected, but when you get inside it is truly magnificent. Each room is beautifully designed and decorated, with some beautiful pieces of furniture. The difference with other stately homes is that this feels really homely. Helped by family photos dotted about the place and , because this is the real 'Downton Abbey' there are pictures in most rooms showing scenes from the filming, with the characters from the series, giving it an extra dimension. I really enjoyed it. Sadly, it was abusy time and the Teashop was something of a bun fight, with not enough tables and chairs. The food on the Teashop menu looked as though it might be OK, but no chance of getting access to it. A passing visit to the 'Coach House' was not a lot better! The place was packed, no customers at the counter, and extra space upstairs was closed for the service of Afternoon Tea! The food on the hotplate looked good and quite tempting, but again no space to sit and eat. A loss from us of about £25 I suppose. We didn't get chance to see the Gardens, so that means another visit.

Thank CdrMike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2018

I figure that most visitors would be like us and go to the Castle mainly to connect with the site of Downton Abbey.The Castle certainly puts the TV program in perspective. There are some amazing rooms to visit and it is really surprising that you can walk on the oriental carpets bearing in mind the amount of people that visit every year. We had a morning ticket on a fully booked day. The line was about 40 or so deep outside the front door at about 1045 with all rooms having a lot of visitors in a steady stream. At 1145 there were no people standing outside so I would delay any visit until about 1.5 hours before your visit window closes.

If you purely want to see exquisite interior rooms and furnishing there are other stately homes with better quality rooms (except when considering the grand hall in Highclere Castle as this is truly amazing)such as Wilton House, Longleat and Sherborne Castle.

Thank fssutton1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 April 2018

Went on a day out with a local garden centre and arrived at about 1110. By 1145 we'd done the house and then either had to spend another £7.50 each to see the Eygyptian Museum or hang around until 1530 for the coach to leave.
This is only a visit for those mad fans of Downton Abbey who want to see where it was filmed. There are plenty of photos around of the cast and crew having a great time working and lots of photos of the current Duke and Duchess of Carnarvon that don't mean anything to those who don't know them personally.
Once you've seen the rooms and a few rather bland bedrooms through a doorway, frankly there's little else to see.
The problem is that once you do get into the rooms there's very little information about what's there. A couple of sheets explaining one or two items and little else, I suppose that's to pursuade you to spend a tenner on a book.
As it was pouring down with rain wecouldn't see much of the grounds but when did a quick walk around they're well kept but not exceptional.
The gift shop contains a load of expensive tat and the food facilities are about on par with NT places.
As I say, unless you're a mad fan of Downton Abbey, don't bother.

1  Thank Delboy414
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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