IF YOU ARE touring near Newbury in Berkshire in early December and you’re a fan of ITV’s Downton Abbey you may want to pop in on the Christmas fair being held at the abbey’s alter ego, Highclere Castle.
Downton Abbey may have closed its doors to viewers until Autumn 2011 but Highclere Castle opens its for its Christmas Fair on 7th and 8th December between 9.30am-4pm.
Highclere has been in the Canarvon family since 1679 but the present building was designed in the 19th century by Sir Charles Barry, who was also responsible for the Houses of Parliament. The castle was one of the outstanding buildings of the Victorian era and at the centre of political life of the time. One of its quirkier aspects is that its cellars are the home to an astonishing exhibition of Egyptian artifacts commemorating the discovery by the fifth Earl of Carnarvon and his friend Howard Carter of the tomb of Tutankhamun.
The fair, in aid of Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust and St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Highclere, will be held in the castle’s staterooms. Visitors will also have an opportunity to look around the castle’s bedrooms and the Egyptian exhibition. The castle’s tearooms will be open for mince pies, hot lunches and festive treats.
The castle reopens to visitors at Easter 2011, check the website for details. And to see Highclere in all its Downton finery, see the promo for the ITV programme below.