Amazing but little-known facts about Highclere Castle, the real-life Downton Abbey

Published in General

Only about 10 miles away from our luxurious, Berkshire-located Regency Park Hotel is Highclere Castle, which is quickly recognisable to Downton Abbey fans as the main filming location for the historical period drama series. However, there's much more to Highclere Castle than its Downton connections.

The castle was largely designed in its current form in the 1840s, in the Jacobethan style popular with Victorians nostalgic for English architecture of Elizabethan and Jacobean styles. Since then, the site has been influential in the following ways, long before the fictional Crawleys arrived...

It was designed by the architect behind the Houses of Parliament

The Downton connection isn't the only reason why Highclere might look strangely familiar to you. That's because the building was designed by Sir Charles Barry, the architect most famous for helping to construct the Houses of Parliament as we know them today.

Highclere could have looked more Italian

Given that Italy's Renaissance architecture inspired Barry to become an architect in the first place, you might not be surprised that he had, for Highclere, proposed an alternative design closer to the Italian Renaissance style than what we see on the estate today.

However, that particular design was not to the liking of the then-Earl of Carnarvon. Traces of the Italian Renaissance style can still be seen in parts of the current building – particularly its interiors and the strapwork designs that adorn the external walls.

Canada was born here – well, in a way

In the 1860s, the fourth Earl of Carnarvon had a hand in drafting the British North American Act of 1867 at Highclere Castle, with John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada, in attendance. The Act, when passed by Parliament, gave birth to the modern nation of Canada.

Of course, despite all of these intriguing facts, the fame and success of Downton Abbey have especially significantly helped with the castle's upkeep.

After booking one of our 108 comfortable bedrooms, you can look forward to a convenient base from which to experience Highclere Castle. However, given that the property is not open right through the year, prospective visitors are urged to first secure their tickets via the official Highclere Castle website.

It's easy to book a room at Regency Park Hotel through our own website, and we look forward to welcoming you here for a stay near Highclere Castle and a wealth of other exciting attractions.

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Book a Room Now

From 06.01.21 we are only able to accept bookings from key workers and business travellers during the lockdown period. No bar or restaurant facilities will be available.

Arrive
Number of nights
Adults
Children
Offer code
Cards