After a short train ride from London to Newbury England, then a taxi to the estate, I found myself walking up the path to Highclere Castle in awe. Lord and Lady Carnarvon welcomed visitors to their home for a history festival October 9th and 10th last year. As I walked toward the castle in the fog that would soon clear, I felt transported back in time, but also to “Downton Abby,” many of us loved at the first episode. I was thrilled to be there, not only for my love of the show, but for my love of history. There was representation of the land girls who helped on the home-front during World War II, making sure the gardens were kept safe from animals. This was not all they did, they worked the land and tended to the animals, as the men were off at the war. A wonderful rendition of Winston Churchill was present. We shared a short conversation and a photo opportunity. I attended a presentation by Lady and Lord Carnarvon on the children who came to live at Highclere during the war, as their families stayed on in London. With the blitz and fear of true invasion, they would be protected there. This was not the first time the castle helped during war.
I had tea, scones and clotted cream with some very kind people who had brought the antique cars. The inside of the house brought tears to my eyes as I walked from room to room. There was feeling I had been there so many times before, as I had through “Downton Abby.” The gardens were beautiful, and we were welcome to walk the grounds. The horses grazed in a nearby field. It was a memorable day I won’t forget.
On Christmas day I baked a blackberry upside-down cake from a recipe found in Lady Carnarvon’s book, “Seasons At Highclere.” It was absolutely delicious! For several years I have followed Lady Carnarvon’s blog, and have listened to her podcast, with many special guests, since she started it during covid. She also shares day to day activities on the castle on Instagram. Lord Carnarvon and I talked of he and Lady Carnarvon being steward’s of this estate. They have done a remarkable job at Highclere and it shows in so many ways.