With an early Easter this year, the Easter holidays are soon to be upon us and some of you will no doubt be researching into what fun family days out you can spend together. If you’re looking for some good places to visit around the Newbury area then you might want to keep on reading…
Highclere Castle’s History
Home to the Carnarvon family since 1679, it was the 3rd Earl of Carnarvon who transformed the home in 1838 into the magnificent mansion we see today, with the help of English architect, Sir Charles Barry. Impressive for its time, Highclere was finally completed in 1878 and went on to be used for political gatherings during the late Victorian era. But what is it today?
A visit to Highclere Castle will be, without a doubt, a day well spent. Surrounded by 1,000 acres of breathtaking scenery, the impeccably maintained grounds and gardens attract many visitors year upon year and are there to be explored and enjoyed by all.
When both the castle and exhibition are open together, there are various quaint tea rooms open for tea, coffee, cake and lunches should you fancy a beverage during your visit.
Stepping inside the castle will take you back in time to many eras with different rooms sporting various features from over the centuries of its inhabitants residency – some of which you may recognise from Downtown Abbey! For instance, the Library Room was used by the 4th Earl of Carnarvon during the late Victorian period where he would discuss politics with friends, whereas now it is used by the family as a place to meet before and after lunch or dinner.
Creator of the hugely successful and increasingly popular period drama, Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes had a vision of exactly how he wanted the set to be. “He wanted a house which spectacularly testified to the confidence and soaring optimism of the Edwardian period”, and Highclere could offer just that!
Walking through the castle’s state rooms gives a sneaky behind the scenes of the real life of Downton Abbey. The beauty of the castle is how it is resonant of its history and past. As the Earl and Countess lived through this time at Highclere they encountered the real Downton Abbey lifestyle, hosting lavish parties and employing the downstairs staff that didn’t come without its somewhat dramatic moments, we’re sure!
The Egyptian Exhibition
Moving downstairs, throughout the cellars of the Castle is a new Egyptian Exhibition opened by the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon in celebration of the 5th Earl’s achievements, including the most momentous discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 alongside his colleague, Howard Carter.
The exhibition is a memoir to the time the Earl and Carter spent in Egypt, this includes ‘The Antique Collection’ of real life Egyptian antiques, the ‘Path to Discovery’ (Lord Carnarvon and Carter’s plans for their Egyptian excavation) and finally ‘Wonderful Things’, revealing the journey that lead them both to the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb along with replicas from the tomb.
Easter Time at Highclere
Highclere Castle only opens for between 60 to 70 days a year where the general public are welcomed to come and visit; this includes two weeks over the Easter holidays.
Join in with the Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday where funds will be raised for Naomi House and Jacksplace with an exciting treasure hunt around the grounds of the castle and there will be a free chocolate egg for every child that takes part too!
So if you’re up for some all-round family fun this Easter then why not consider a trip to Highclere? Click here for details on opening times and prices for 2015.
Situated not far from Newbury, Caversham Vehicle Hire are only roughly 35 minutes away from Highclere Castle and are offering fantastic, affordable prices on day rental car deals, perfect for a family day trip out!For more information please get in touch with the friendly team a Caversham Vehicle Hire today.