Weekend invitations to Highclere are followed by a flurry of emails confirming dress codes and what excitements the weekend will hold. Is it shooting, tennis, riding, a concert or some good country walks? Is it short or long for the ladies and how smart or not for the men? Warm wraps are always a good idea in case I have had a brainwave and decided we are having cocktails by a temple.


Occasionally, I lack precision; happily explaining to local friends it is not really smart: just laughter and fun. One girlfriend relayed those words to her husband. He therefore correctly arrived in casual shirt and coloured trousers. My husband “technically” was not smart as he was not wearing a tie but he was wearing his smoking jacket as were the other, male, guests. I think there were the teensiest weensiest few “words in car” when husband and wife left Highclere.  I thought he looked wonderful…

Some of our friends arrive with the most immaculate suitcases and dress bags. They tend to be the French or Italian friends, although the New York Murphys and Shugrues give them a run for it for suitcase and hand-luggage elegance. English friends tend to have packed a car with Wellington Boots amongst which smarter clothes are stuffed into the back.

Apart from high days and holidays, the dress code at Highclere could only be described as various. Paul the Chef does tend to ask  John, our legendary Castle Manager, whether he turns on the lights when he gets dressed in the mornings due to his delightful range of coloured trousers  and socks, sometimes complemented by quite bright shirts,  which occasionally are then further highlighted by contrasting braces…




In the meantime, now that summer is here, some of the girls are providing competition




Whilst  Tony, David and the Estate teams prefer the shorts look…