Tuesday, August 18

Dreams Do Come true- Highclere Castle

When I lived in England during my senior year of University, I traveled all over the United Kingdom. To say I'm in love with the English culture and history is an understatement. When I lived overseas I never had a television so I wasn't up-to-date on the latest and greatest shows and during that time a BBC hit had taken off back in the States: Downton Abbey. 

Well wouldn't you know it, that at one point in my trip I was all about 30 minutes away from Highclere Castle and never knew it existed?! When I flew back home my mom mentioned the show on a Friday night. Saturday I went out and bought the first season on DVD and by Sunday mom and I had finished watching the entire first season and were hooked. 

Long-story short, I vowed, that when I return to England again I wouldn't leave the country without seeing Highclere Castle. Today, that dream came true. 

When I found out I was going to go visit my friend in England one of the first things I did was go check on tickets to visit Highclere. I was shocked to see that tickets sold out a year in advance! However I found contact informationfor the castle direct and asked if there was any tickets left. They said they were sold out but each day that the estate was open they had a few tickets that could be purchased at the gate, but they suggested I get there early as once tickets are gone- they're gone. So who was at the gate at 9 o'clock? This girl! It didn't open until 10 but luckily they were kind enough to let me in and wander around the estate and gardens until the house opened.

The gardens were absolutely amazing- the flowers were beautiful and had some of the largest hydrangea I've ever seen in my life! Quickly the hour passed however and I was able to go inside the house.

Unfortunately you weren't allowed to take pictures inside the estate but it looked just like it does in Downton Abbey! It was grand, beautiful, ornate, old and stunning. I was surprised to find out that the house is still used for guests of the Earl and Countess. Could you imagine if you could actually stay in the castle?!

After touring the estate I went downstairs to the ground level 'kitchen' for a spot of tea and scone. I mean when else can you eat inside of Highclere Castle? I would definitely recommend it however eat inside, the views are great outside but the bees are crazy and attack in a second. 

I ended my amazing day at Highclere castle by walking around the grounds and taking in the amazing countryside. It was absolutely magical. For a moment it's almost like you're transported back in time to a time of elegant ladies, dapper men, high tea and the romantic era of Downton Abbey.