An architectural masterpiece, Highclere Castle is best known for doubling as Downton Abbey in the popular TV series and subsequent films. International Friends invites you to explore the lavishly decorated interior, and the 1,000-acre Capability Brown–designed grounds.
This day trip from London includes;
Round trip transfers from London in an executive vehicle
Entry to Highclere Castle and Grounds (Downton Abbey) with guides available in the rooms
Services of an experienced driver (please note that this service is not guided)
Flexible booking guarantee!
Depart London on our Highclere Castle Shuttle Bus and drive towards the South West of England, a journey that takes around 90 minutes. On arrival at Highclere Castle there will be time to enjoy the beautiful gardens; The Monks Garden, White Border, Secret Garden and Wood of Goodwill before we enter the Castle. There will be time for a visit to the tearooms where you can enjoy a light lunch, snack or afternoon tea made in the Castle kitchen. We plan to spend at least 3 hours at the Castle.
Highclere Castle has been the seat of the Carnarvon family since 1679. Major rebuilding work was carried out in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in 1838, the 3rd Earl of Carnarvon brought in Sir Charles Barry to transform his home into a truly stunning mansion. During the First World War the Castle was transformed into a hospital, returning to a private home in 1922. To this day the current (8th) Earl and Countess of Carnarvon live partly in the Castle and partly nearby, but remain closely involved in the Castle's day to day life.
On entry to Highclere Castle, visitors follow a route through the Castle, with guides in each State room. The State rooms include the Saloon, Library, Dining room, Music room, Drawing room and Smoking room. Visitors can then go up the Red Stairs to view some of the Bedrooms and the Gallery, before walking down the Oak staircase back to the Saloon in the heart of the house. Many of the rooms from the Downton Abbey series can be seen on the tour, including the Parlour where the Crawleys take tea, the bedrooms and of course the Dining room (the scene of many family arguments!).
Disclaimer: International Friends Downton Abbey day trips and tours are not endorsed, sanctioned or in any other way supported, directly or indirectly, by Carnival Films, NBC Universal or Julian Fellowes and his representatives.
Please ensure you arrive at your allocated departure point at least 10 minutes before your departure time.
London departure points
Outside The British Museum main entrance on Great Russell Street (MAP). Nearest tube stations are Holborn or Tottenham Court Road.
Outside the Cumberland Hotel main entrance, Marble Arch (formerly the Hard Rock Hotel) (MAP) Nearest tube station is Marble Arch
Outside Gloucester Road Tube station, meet at the station exit. (MAP)
Please note that all timings above are estimated and assuming normal traffic conditions. Due to the changeable nature of road conditions, we cannot guarantee a precise time when you will get back to London. On the return to London your driver will drop you at Victoria Train Station in the city centre. This is one of the largest transport stations in London, with excellent connections to all parts of London and beyond.
Helpful Information about the day of your Tour
Highclere Castle Express
Are the meeting points easy to find?
YES! All are within short walking distances of tube and bus stops, and very easy access for taxis. We recommend you arrive at the meeting point 10 minutes before the departure time. Your International Friends day trip has been carefully planned to ensure maximum enjoyment, which sadly means we cannot delay our departure times to wait for latecomers. This would impact the day's itinerary and could mean we miss our booked entry time at Highclere Castle. If you are running late please phone the emergency number and our team will help you. If you miss the departure, you are still welcome to join the tour at Highclere Castle. Any expenses incurred in doing so will be at your own expense. Refunds cannot be issued for passengers who miss their tours departure through lateness.
How will I identify the International Friends vehicle at the meeting point?
Depending on the number of people travelling on a particular day we use 8, 16 or 53 seater executive vehicles. On arrival at the pick up location the guide/driver will announce themselves - they will be holding a sign reading “International Friends” and will be aware of your names, ready to welcome you on board.
How much time will we spend at Highclere castle?
All of our day trips have been carefully planned to ensure maximum enjoyment. Our Highclere Express tour is a direct transfer from London to Highclere Castle. You will get to spend around 3 hours exploring the magnificent castle & it’s grounds.
This day trip is carefully planned to ensure all customers have a fantastic experience whilst visiting Highclere Castle. All customers must stick to the timings provided (these will be confirmed by your driver on the day). If you think you may be late or lost you can phone the emergency number for help, but we cannot amend the departure time for all passengers because of latecomers. Should you miss the departure back to London our staff will do their best in assisting you in returning to London. This will be at your own expense.
Is entry into Highclere Castle included in my ticket price?
Yes, this ticket includes your transfer to and from Highclere and also your entry. Your entry will include access to the Castle and it's grounds.
Will we get to meet any of the cast of Downton Abbey?
We never say never! However it is very unlikely. Sadly when filming is taking place most of the locations are shut off to the general public. You will however be immersed in the history and story of the hit drama as you make your way round the staterooms and sweeping staircases that feature in the show.
How can I find out more information about Highclere Castle?
Unless specifically stated as part of the itinerary, our tours do not include food and drink. There will be opportunities to buy food when at the castle, and to maximise time spent sightseeing you are also welcome to bring a packed lunch with you.
Can I bring food and drink onboard the vehicle?
There is to be NO Hot Food or Beverages (exception if hot beverage is in a sealed reusable thermal cup) on board the coaches due to the risk of scalds or burns and smells remaining on board the vehicle. Only Cold food & beverages with screw top lids are to be taken on board any vehicle. All litter must be taken from the vehicle and disposed of appropriately.
How much walking is involved in this tour?
You will have 3 hours to explore Highclere Castle & its grounds at your own leisure. This tour is not formally guided so you can choose your own routes and areas to visit. To explore the castle it will take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. If you choose to explore the grounds fully, it can take approximately 45 minutes. There is no lift access to the higher floors within the castle, however they do provide photographic albums to enable visitors to look at some of the bedrooms on the first floor.
What should I wear?
British weather can be variable and so guests are advised to check the weather forecast and dress appropriately. It is recommended to bring some warm clothes with you especially in the winter months and layers are good for adapting to the ever-changing weather conditions. It is a good idea to wear appropriate footwear as there is walking involved on our tours. England is known for its rain so it is advisable to bring a waterproof jacket or umbrella with you.
How many people will be joining this tour?
This tour often operates in smaller vehicles with around 8 to 16 passengers, occasionally on popular dates it may operate in a full sized coach.
Do we need to tip staff?
Tips are entirely at the customer’s discretion and in no way expected. Should you feel inclined to tip, your driver or guide would be grateful, but you should not feel obliged. A 10% tip is considered customary in the UK.
What time do we arrive back in London?
We aim to arrive back in London at approximately 3:00pm. Please note that all timings above are estimated and assuming normal traffic conditions. Due to the changeable nature of road conditions, we cannot guarantee a precise time when you will arrive back in London. On the return to London your driver will drop you at Victoria Train Station in the city centre. This is one of the largest transport stations in London, with excellent connections to all parts of London and beyond.