Been a while and I am a little behind. We carried on from the Lavender Farm and stayed for the weekend in Winchester which I am now ready to move too.
We bought a birthday visit for G's Mum to Highclere Castle as she and G are fans of Downton Abbey and Highclere is where they film the show.
The Earl and Countess of Carnavon open their home to visitors and if you want a ticket you have to be on IT. We checked in the New Year, the tickets went on Sale in February and we set an alarm on our phones and got tickets for June and were lucky with that and the weather.
We went for the day and our ticket allowed us in the house for the afternoon.
It's not as big as you think, it's really rather comfortable and it springs up on you.
This is from around the side.
The gardens are lovely.
If I was in the area or lived locally I'd by a ticket for the grounds take a picnic sit under one of the many shady trees and let the girls run around.
The house is a strange one, these are my forbidden photos.
T was horrified with me but taken with the rocking horse.
The house is a self tour, there are roped off areas and a few guides to tell you anything you might want to know about the Castle not the show.
They have beautiful arrangements of geraniums in the house that look like clipped bonsai although the guide thought they looked a little tired. She also told me that the family live in another house on the estate but use the Castle for Christmas, parties, the races etc.
I can't describe it, it's like Barbara Morris house, a tale for another time, it's set up for guests.
It's got rugs, it's got pattern, it's got floral and it's full of those things that you have no idea where they come from.
There is a 80's hairdryer on every dressing table along with a small basket of complimentary toiletries of no fixed origin. There are family photos everywhere in chunky family frames and lots of books, especially design ones from Conran etc, again all from the last century.
Lots of man novels and if there is a table in a corridor someone has put a vase on it and there might be an old bit of potpourri in the bottom.
All this info was gathered at great pace as I had the girls with me.
I liked it!
Cup of tea at the end of the tour.
What else would you do with the sugar.
Those ladies behind are sitting at the largest kitchen table have ever seen, a bit jealous of that piece. It was covered in a really posh linen oil cloth and to be honest it could have been a snooker table.
It is a really lovely day out.
Is it time to revisit the blue hydrangea?
I like a printed candle in Autumn. The Wild flower mix can go under our pear tree and the pencils were the best thing in the gift shop. There were none on display but I explained that I had seen them on the online shopping page and had they stopped selling them. She retrieved a box from the back, what great service.
I am good in a gift shop. I like the badge, who knows if I will wear it but I think I will.
You can't go to Highclere and not look in the house. Now I have I don't need to see inside again but the grounds I'd visit again and again.
It should be noted that most of the visitors are made up of a certain type of lady that watch the show and these ladies need to pay a lengthy visit to the toilet, so you should not leave it to the last minute to go for your wee.