Today, the second day of our trip, was so fun. Mom and I took the train out to Highclere Castle. This is the gorgeous, old (by American standards) nineteenth century, stately home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and the setting for one of my favorite PBS Masterpiece series, "Downton Abbey." Sir Charles Barry designed this home while he was working on the Houses of Parliament. You can see similarities between the two projects if you observe them both closely enough! I have been looking forward to seeing this place since mom told me we were going back in March. I was still in Savannah at the time and couldn't even really think about it until after graduation, but once I walked across that stage, I couldn't wait!
We took the train from Paddington Station out to Newbury and caught a cab to the Castle. The trip out and back was fun because we could experience some of the countryside and while we were touring the Highclere grounds, I felt a peace come over me that I have been missing for a few months. I am grateful for this chance to get away and spend some time with my mom. I know it is healing for me to be with her.
Once we were inside, taking the tour, I was looking around at the rooms on view, thinking about how cool it is that people have lived here for generations and that it's still a working home today. I saw books piled up under bedside tables and toothpaste in trays on dressing tables. The castle boasts over 200 rooms, and although they aren't all used, it's still someone's home! All of the furniture seen in Downton Abbey is original to the house. It's pretty amazing that the current Earl and Countess allow a film crew to come in and disrupt their household for a show that so many love?!?! I'm guessing that it takes a fortune to keep a house like that running, so I feel that the current Countess, Lady Fiona Carnarvon, is a genius to allow it. I read in a live chat (recorded on PBS' website) with Lady Fiona that she has known Julian Fellows and his wife, Emma, for "ages," so I'm sure that helps.
When we were finished touring the house, toured the beautiful grounds, designed by Capability Brown. That man knew what he was doing! I took a TON of pictures. Here's a sampler of some pics of the day!
|We rode from Holborn to Paddington Station on the Tube!|
|Welcome to Newbury, also home of Highclere Castle!|
|Newbury Station...Looks a little different on Downton, doesn't it?|
|Bell Service Indicator for the House Staff|
|In the Monk's Garden. Beautiful Shrubberies!|
|Center of the Monk's Garden|
|Talk about sculpted shrubs!|
|This wall smelled great!|
|My Live Photographic Interpretation of a Dutch, Floral Still Life|
|The gardens were impressive!|
|Check out the colors on these shrubs!|