Updated: Apr 22, 2021
Anyone who's been a "Downton Abbey" fan should add a visit to Highclere Castle to their travel list. In early October, we traveled from Rome to London to visit friends, and tour Highclere Castle, the setting and inspiration for the much-loved television series. At the time, there were no Covid travel restrictions in place between the EU and the UK. Of course, masks were required in public spaces and on planes and trains, but most restaurants, museums and historical sites were still open. We exercised a lot of caution, avoided crowded restaurants and pubs, and were pleasantly surprised by how carefully Highclere led it's special visits. We were in a small group of ten, all masked. Our guide had been a long-time staffer at the Castle and knew all of the gossip, both about the home's true residents and the fictional cast. The real-life mistress of the castle, Fiona, the 8th Countess of Carnarvon, is down-to-earth and friendly. The visit wrapped with a lovely lunch on the lawn, with all precautions in place, under a cool but sunny October sky.
Photos from top left (clockwise): Highclere Castle; we didn't get any sleep at The Pheasant, but enjoyed drinks and dinner by the fire in the pub; en route back to London