The Land of Nod
The Castle sits in the centre of its world, surrounded on all side by rolling parkland studded with ancient spreading trees; the setting built partly by man and partly by nature, each working in harmony with the other. Every evening it settles down, sinking into the lengthening shadows and darkness of the encroaching night. To quote Homer “There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”
We are lucky. Here there are far fewer lights punctuating the darkness than in the neighbouring towns and villages but still more than would have been even 100 years ago. We don’t have street lighting but there are houses on the estate marked by sparks of escaping gleams, the odd car headlight and planes overhead. Our language separates the two halves of our life, the day and the night, but I rather think we have muddled the reality by being able to introduce so much light at night and that we are in danger of losing the cycles of the day and night which were innate to our parents and ancestors.
A lack of darkness is undoubtedly not good for us, just as a lack of daylight is not. Our bodies respond to the unseen signals of light and dark, to be active and to rest, to sleep and recover energy and calm to undertake another day. Night signals a time to sleep, something which we often regard today almost as a waste of time although it isn’t.
We need sleep to restore our memory, to knit our thoughts together and to help us function well during the day, to not be bad tempered and impatient. Apparently good sleep can also help to ward off depression and might even help keep illness at bay by protecting our immune systems. If I had a problem, and could not sort out what I should be doing, my mother always cheerfully suggested I sleep on it – if I let it float around my head during the night, it would sort it itself out. Irritatingly, she was often right.
Shakespeare often explored sleep and the lack of it in his plays. It was regarded as a somewhat precarious state, closely tied to safety and security but also that it quieted the senses and improved the digestion.
O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature’s soft nurse
Allied to this was dreaming, an entire subject in itself and the source of perhaps one of his most famous quotes: ‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep’, though here, of course, sleep is a euphemism for death – perhaps a reason we seem to be so fearful of the night.
For most people taking off the day and preparing to sleep is a well-worn ritual: climbing into bed, picking up a book or a puzzle or reading stories to children, mothers singing lullabies, repeating cradle songs, just leaving a muted light until your children are fast asleep.
I would always sit and read a story, watching my little son nod off, and promise, as my mother did before me, to return in ten minutes to see if he was asleep – he always was. Later it is my turn, a side light creating a muted pool of light by which to read before turning over into the peace and rest of darkness.
Falling asleep in the Castle is a gift; the large cool rooms enclosed by ancient hinged, linenfold wooden shutters in front of which thickly lined curtains ensure a cosily darkened bedroom.
The next morning, waking up, there is the wonder of what the view and day holds, pulling back the shutters a little to enjoy a few idle moments. The views never disappoint, whether it is a clear autumn day, or one with fog shrouding and swirling around.
I once read in a newspaper article that it was the dream of many to stay at Highclere but, whilst we offer tours, it remains very much our home and you cannot “buy” a stay. We have, however, twice offered such an opportunity to help raise money for charities we feel particularly strongly about. Now, working with Airbnb, we have decided to welcome two guests on November 26th 2019 and to celebrate this special offering, Airbnb will be making a donation to The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Highclere Castle, the real Downton Abbey, is above all a home and staying here will give two guests this experience whilst helping others. If you follow Irish advice, if you have a good laugh and then a long sleep, it will cure most things.
What a lovely blog. Just wish I could sleep really well. You have a wonderful home…
We are so fortunate.
This was just lovely. I can feel and see exactly what you are saying. Your home is on my list to experience the next time I’m in England. You were closed the last time I was near, but we had a very wonderful guide, Robert, (an Oxford law student) who was working with you on a project. He was good enough to let me pick his brain on all things Highclere. Yes, we very much enjoyed him. Thank you for helping me to experience your home through your blog.
You must plan a visit when we are open next Spring or Summer. I am lucky enough to have Robert back here at Highclere working with me on a new project!
Thank you for sharing such an intimate view of your wonderful evenings at Highclere! We can now imagine what it is like to be surrounded by such beauty and splendor! It’s enchanting!
I loved the movie. I thought the story
Totally well rounded and set up to continue.
Having visited highclere in june, it was special to see the rooms again.
Thank you for opening your home to those of us who are not lords and ladies.
Just reading your blog and picturing the feeling of being there in the moonlight, being restless at night with no light , but a very nice read I must say.
Lady Carnarvon we live in Australia. I love reading your blog each week. My husband & I loved & so enjoyed the Downton Abbey movie & would also like to say how much we enjoyed the segments from Highclere Castle that were shown on the TV show here Better Homes & Gardens. Thank you so much for letting us see & enjoy your beautiful home & animals. Our very best wishes.
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON ,
GOOD NEWS HAPPY AUTUMN SEPTEMBER USED TO BE THE MONTH WE COLDER,
FROSTIER NIGHTS WOULD HERALD CLEARER, FRESHER DAYS…
LOVELY ROOMS FANTASTIC
RIO CLARO – SP
Again, an excellent read! Thank you for sharing with us. I am excited for the 2 people who have the privilege of staying at Highclere!! How wonderful!!!
We just visited the castle and felt it was the most beautiful place on earth. Wish we had more time to stay and explore. Unfortunately we had to get back to the USA. We hope to visit again one day.
Thank you for letting us share in the beauty of your home. We will never forget this wonderful experience.
Ron & Mimi Mimi Ragan
North Myrtle Beach, SC
Please do come back
Somehow, the fact that Highclere remains, above all, a family home delights my soul. May we all sleep tight in ours as well and be healed and restored.
Truly a dream to offer that opportunity! Thank you so much!
Thank you….you made my morning 🙂
Upon leaving Highclere Castle after a wonderful visit last summer, I was asked by a friend whether the purpose of my visit had been to explore the world of Downton Abbey, the series, or the Egyptian exhibition. I replied, ‘Both!’ but if truth be told, these were eclipsed by the experience no doubt shared by many visitors to the castle – that of spending a few magical hours in a great family home. So thank-you for your kind generosity in inviting a fortunate couple to spend a night there, it will surely be one they remember. And the gorgeous photographs of Highclere’s bedrooms are a gift for the rest of us!
…. my wife daughters and i had a fantastic visit to Highclere two years ago on Canada Day. My daughter was adding Oxford that week and we spent Canada Day at Highclere. It was a cathartic experience for us as the girls grandmother had just passed away from a 3 year fight with cancer end of March(age 70) and although i have not watched the show Downton Abbey – the girls and their grandmother spend many days in the hospital room watching the show together during her later days… Greeting us at the front door (as the first visitors of the day), Lady Carnarvon and took the time to show the girls around her house. It was interesting to learn about the rich connection to Canada, that the castle has, and it seems a shame that our Canadian government does not showcase this rich historical relationship between Highclere and the formation/origins of Canada. Our day was a precious one given the recent experience and offered the girls some cherished memories of their grandmother – I am sure she was there in spirit – she would have loved the experience herself and we thank Lady Carnarvon greatly for spending a few hours with us that day. Michael Franks
Thank you. Downton Abbey does seem to have a wonderful way of bringing the generations together.
I recently visited your beautiful castle home. I live in the U.S.A. Vermont to be exact. My daughter lives in England with her RAF husband and my 2.5 year old Granddaughter. She surprised me with a picnic visit on the lovely last day of your open season. Thank you for being great stewards of such a historic icon.
It is an honour and a privilege.
Thank you for being such a generous family. I saw the movie on Friday —moved to tears and of course, laughter. I heard your message through Mary. Thank you for letting us help you keep this house a home.
They will indeed be Lucky people.
I really enjoy your writing. Thank you for starting my day.
Had the opportunity to see the Downton Abbey movie on the 20th and viewing your beautiful castle. My daughter and I observed that the castle
changes color depending on the light.
What a beautiful place.
You are quite right; the light paints different scenes as it moves across the Castle.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Your wonderful post struck a chord with me. My son has ADHD and sleep issues, and the importance of deep sleep is a regular topic of conversation in our home. Restorative rest is so beneficial for the mind, body, and spirit.
Is the Air BNB opportunity still available? My birthday falls on November 27, and it would be such a special treat to visit you and your magnificent home!
Thank you for sharing your safe insights. Your mother’s advice is perfect!
The Woodlands, Texas
Yes – booking opens on 1st October. Visit http://www.//airbnb.com/downtonabbey for full details.
Delightful…..wishing everyone a good laugh and a long sleep. The bedrooms look so beautiful!
Sleep is so restorative – and the lack of it so devastating.
What a lovely message to start my day with. I just saw the Downton Abbey movie and while there were new views of the Castle from different angles, I still came away wanting to see more so I guess I will put Highclere on my bucket list. I may never want to leave much as I didn’t want the film to end! You are so blessed to call such a magical place home, but I know you know that…have a happy day Lady Carnavon!
Thank you. Please do come and visit – there is much to see.
Such lovely prose. I visited Highclere in 2018 and would jump at the opportunity to spend a night there!! If I didn’t already have plans I would enter the drawing. I so hope that you continue to extend this offer time and again for I would travel from the US just to spend that night in your glorious home!!
Love your thoughts on sleep. Starting and ending the day in one of your lovely bedrooms must be wonderful.
I’m still curious about what’s in the tall tower. I’ve seen the Downton Abbey movie twice and still can’t figure out what the rooms on each floor are used for.
There are a dozen or so rooms which have had various uses over the years. Currently it houses the robing room – where we keep ceremonial robes and vintage butlers uniforms. I plan to restore the whole tower and open an exhibition to celebrate the life and works of Sir Charles Barry – the architect of Highclere Castle, The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in London.
It was good hearing from you, Seems like family now.
Martha B Stone
Elgin, South Carolina
What an absolutely lovely estate you have! Thank you for letting us “live vicariously” through your blog. You have many talents and I’m so glad you share them with us!
You are too kind.
With my early first cup of coffee after a fitful night’s sleep, I am sitting at my breakfast table watching the bluebirds flit around to various perches looking for their own breakfasts as the sun rises. As I opened my iPad to your blog and saw the beautiful bedroom, I breathed a sigh of “thank goodness” to see that lovely room. And then the pleasure of seeing the other beautiful bedrooms cheered my mind from sleepiness! Thank you! Finally, this is for me a smiling way to remember all the scenes from “Downton Abbey” I enjoyed Sunday afternoon. The wonders of Highclere are just a few miles down the road from me. I can see the movie again to catch what I missed the first time.
Thank you again for sharing your wonderful home in so many ways.
Thank you for such a pleasant post about the desirability of Sleep as a healing practice. We’ve just had another #DisasterFlood here in Texas(close to Houston). I’m fortunate that my home didn’t flood. Sleeping during rain is no longer relaxing.
I shall remind myself of your paean to sleep/rest as we recover from this latest #Disaster. At least my dogs sleep on the 2nd floor landing now when they sense approaching weather disturbances.
I am fortunate that my physical defenses against alligators and other creatures has been undamaged. Your essay reminded me that i truly need to explore storm shutters and interior shutters.
Thank you for such a pleasant letter on a #RecoveryDay.
Best wishes with your amazing Airbnb offer, too. What a treat that will be for a fortunate couple.
We had the privilege of visiting Highclere a couple of years ago. I’ll never forget the first glimpse as we walked from parking our car. It brought me to tears. Having watched every episode Downton Abby with anticipation I couldn’t believe seeing it for myself. It was a dream. So to be able to stay for a night would be beyond amazing. Thank you for opening your fabulous home to a lucky (hopefully me and my husband) couple.
I never tire of that view!
My husband tells me that I sleep like the dead. Not at all like your beautiful shutters and heavy drapes, I darken my room with a small navy fleece blanket.
I loved seeing your beautiful bedrooms with all the accouterments of the period. Our gaggle of friends all went yesterday to the Sunday afternoon showing of Downton Abbey here in Kalispell, MT. We were all delighted to see how our beloved characters had matured and mellowed. None of us have yet visited Highclere so it was very special to see so many different views of the property particularly the back of the “house.” Your Monday morning blog is a treat to read and I thank you profusely for sustaining this effort.
Thank you. Your ‘gaggle’ of friends really should come and visit us at the real Downton Abbey.
Rachelle Giles 9/23/2019
Loved touring your beautiful home this summer and sampling the new Highclere Gin, which I highly recommend.
Boise Idaho, United States
It is delicious isn’t it?
Thank you so much for this beautiful blog.
I always look forward to Monday mornings so that I can read your blog.
Kathleen from Canada
You are kind – thank you.
Good morning Lady Carnarvon,
Just wanted to let you know that if I ever win the lottery number, I’m going to book a room at your beautiful Castle. Reasonable price for a one night stay too. Good luck with the promotional aspect of raising money for the International Red Cross through this effort. Love the fact that you’re always doing fundraising for various charities, it warms my heart as I do the same here in America all the time, which is why I’m always broke and can’t travel these days. hahaha. Have a blessed week. Oh, by the way, saw the movie on Friday and enjoyed it very much. Can’t wait for the sequel. 🙂
Thank you. I think we can have some fun with it while raising money for a very good cause.
Beautiful reading ♥️Thank you for sharing your words . I attended the castle a few weeks ago for the cocktail weekend I was so emotional seeing your beautiful home . Even when I see it on tv a lump comes into my throat it will be an experience I shall never forget ….. Thanku
A lovely blog
No doubt that you will have a successful fundraising. Here in the USA the news about staying at Highclere for one night is everywhere, even Oprah! Saw the movie last night, and it evoked memories from last year’s visit. Planning to go visit Highclere again.
Beautiful words on a Monday morning! Going to see the movie tomorrow, so excited!
I’ve been trying to limit the amount of time I spend on the internet so I have started a tradition of spending time reading in bed before it’s time to turn off the lights. I recently finished your first book and last night I read the first few pages of “Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey”. Discovering the history and stories of those who have called Highclere Castle home is fascinating. A nice relaxing way to end the day.
I love to read in bed right before I go to sleep.
As my eyes scanned across each well thought of word and viewed “rest awaiting” in each bedroom photo, I drifted into a world that takes me away from the surroundings I am in. You are so gracious to show us your home, the place you live, and guide us through the history of your land. Your abode is a photo of dreams we had as wee girls playing the play of Prince and Princess. But in reality, you are not only managing a home but somewhere that needs loving care and tenderness to preserve a heritage long gone. May you enjoy one of those resting rooms each night to rest your soul and to relax your mind for another day of joy, peace, and serenity. There is nothing like this in the area I live (southwest Florida). My best to you and keep the blog going.
Thank you for your kind words. It is a magical place to live, and dream.
Lovely! Your blogs are like a much needed breath of fresh air during a long grueling work day. Keep writing! Your words soothe!
You are too kind
I saw the movie Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed it. Meaning no disrespect to the actors, writers, etc., who all gave 100%, to me the biggest star was Highclere Castle itself. From the moment I saw those magnificent cedar trees I was immersed in a time long ago — and yet not so long ago. As I watched the maids preparing the bedrooms, the kitchen staff scurrying about, the man fixing the broken boiler, I was reminded of your blogs detailing the modern day (adventures?) of maintaining such a house. That added an extra dimension to it all. Thank you for that.
The plumbers were here today …!!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
We visited Highclere Castle Two years ago. It was an amazing experience. We were making a tour of beautiful mansions and I absolutely wanted to spend some time visiting Downton Abbey location. I felt very comfortable there as I knew about it from the TV but at the same time I realized how much it’s a real home. So I changed my mind and it appeared to me as an extreme act of generosity from You and Your family to have let us be introduced in your beautiful home. So I want to thank you for this. And I hope to come back, of course.
My best regards
It is all about collaboration and thinking of all we share
Dear Lady Carnarvan,
Thank you so very much for this particular blog. I’m currently recuperating from a shoulder replacement surgery and so therefore am temporarily housebound. Although I’ve a lovely view over the Intracoastal Waterway and it does varies day by day, the thought of those luxurious drawn draperies in the evening only to be opened each morning to a different vista is a dreamy way (for me) to take my morning tea. Thank you indeed for this relaxing and charming blog.
I very much enjoy each and every one.
This was such a lovely read this morning. You put into words how perfect it is to sleep, live & Be, in your home yes, but happy & warm in mine too, anyone’s Home.
Hello Lady Carnarvon!
This is the first of your blogs I’ve received since subscribing, and what a delight! I will look forward to the next.
My husband and I went to see the movie, Downton Abbey this past weekend and, to my surprise, he was totally enthralled… He knew I had watched the entire series, and thought I would like to see the movie but I didn’t think he’d enjoy it as much as I would. When we got back home he suggested I look for “the REAL Downton Abbey”, and of course I DID!
So happy to see you and your family LIVING there! And while we do not live in a castle, we ADORE our home and the little bit of land we “own”: we are delighted daily by our rabbits, birds (including our wild turkeys) and have three dogs who are equally HAPPY: our 16 year old Dachshund, ZOOM, and 2 RESCUES: BUDDY (age unknown, but vet thinks 12-14 years) and our little Petey who will turn 15 this October. We are happy!
Thank you for SHARING your happiness with all of us, and we want to plan another trip to your beautiful country, which will be planned around one of your generous offerings to share Highclere Castle which we plan to book.
Thank you for reading ..
Very nice pictures of your home. I saw the Downton Abby movie yesterday. There should be another one set in 1929 and see how the family will handle the crash of 29′ and other world shaking events. Thank You Frank R. Chary
Contact the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, USA on how they handle guests and being open to the public. From the looks of Highclere, I do not think you can do, when they have decades of experience with the public, to have guests. It could be nerve wracking and your family’s privacy will be gone!
I need more sleep myself and will consider changes to effect a better night’s sleep for myself. Don’t install the streetlights any where and keep it the way you have Highclere. The light pollution in the US and all the large cities on Earth is tremendous. In the Dowton Abbey era, there was no light pollution issue. How different things are now and too fast paced!
The Biltmore family have visited here – it is great to share!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for letting us have a glimpse of a few of your exquisite bedrooms. The colors are so beautiful and seem to invite one to come and rest awhile.
What a lovely blog today. It reminds me of tucking my children in at night, when they were quite small…Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night, sailed off in a wooden shoe…. Great memories.
It is precious
Loved your thoughts on sleep this morning. I am only guessing that after the whirlwind days of Downton premiers, red carpets, interviews, parties, and travel, sleep was in short supply.
I did want to mention that a friend and I were able to attend the premier of the Downton Abbey movie last Thursday in Memphis, TN. Our local PBS station promoted the movie and raised funds for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. People came in their time period costumes, (even in Tennessee) and we had a ball. They were serving gin and tonics made with Highclere gin in the restaurant.
We loved the movie!
Have a great week – get some rest.
Thrilled about the gin! I hope to find a little time to breathe (and sleep!) in the next week..
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Such a lovely gift here to read your blog!
I just signed on and read your beautiful reflection on light and dark and the need for rest and a good sleep. I felt relaxed just reading your gentle words here. And I so men looking at the pictures of your beautiful castle!
Keep up with your gift of writing here. Well done.
I look forward to more reflections!
Greetings from Vermont, U.S.A.
I’d love to visit England someday…perhaps next summer.
All the best,
Then perhaps next summer..
My husband and I went to see Downton Abbey TWICE this weekend, we loved it so much! My only regret is that the camera didn’t remain a little longer on the castle when those panorama shots were included. To me, HIGHCLERE CASTLE is absolutely the STAR of the movie, though both my husband and I did love the movie’s story line. It is very sweet and touching, especially the scene with Mary and “Granny”. And I love the promise of happiness unfolding for Tom Branson. All-in-all, a great movie experience! *Note – that panorama shot where Mr. Carson is walking up to the castle to resume his former duties … people in the audience were cheering and clapping! How sweet is that! I just could not stop smiling!
It is a world apart!
I love your writing! You have a gift! Your home never looked so inviting as it does in these pictures. So beautiful! Every one of them!
Thanks for another delightfully written post. I am excited for the lucky people who will have the opportunity to stay at Highclere. I am in Phoenix, Arizona visiting a friend, and the Downton Abbey movie is popular here as I am sure it is everywhere. We ending up seeing at at 10:00 a.m.! That was certainly a first for me. Such fun, of course. All the best to you.
Dear Lady Carnavon,
I am thrilled to hear you have opened your home to overnight visitors. I have been there before a few years ago and loved every minute of it. I am very upset though, that you are only offering a queen bed to sleep in. I could never sleep in that size bed with another woman that I am traveling with. Will you be renting out two rooms on the same nights? Is there any chance you would have a king bed room to rent? Even if I came with my tall husband, we cannot sleep together in a queen bed. Please advise soon, as we are booking our Europe trip for 2020, and I would try to work you into our schedule if you have a king bed. Other than self drive to Highclere, how else could we get there from LHR or London?
Thanks for your reply, Pamela Blithe [email protected]
This is just a one off – I am delighted to work with AIRbnb and look forward to the talks to raise funds..
I look forward to Monday mornings now! I picture myself having morning tea with you! I always find everything you discuss both equally amusing and thoroughly fascinating! You have such s beautiful soul and your good heart shows as well! Thank you so much for sharing so much of your home and yourself with us! It is very much appreciated!!
Blue Island, IL
Thank you Bobbi – I can imagine you making that cu of tea..
Dear Lady Carnarvon;
What I love most about Highclaire is the fact it is still a private home. You and your family live in it, and not just a few rooms, but you live in the entire house and you enjoy it. That makes the castle special. When people visit, they are being invited to someone’s home, not a home that has become a museum. That, I believe, makes this place more special to visitors. When they visit, they are guests in a home where the history is being carried on, passed down, and shared by people who love their home and history.
What a lovely piece on sleep and lack of city lights. I grew up in the New England countryside, on a farm. I now live on the outskirts of a Connecticut city with the country on one side of the avenue, and the city on the other side. I miss the country terribly, but I am so glad for the outskirts, the border of a city, giving it to me. I remember, in 2002, back home in the country, a 2 am star shower. You can see that at night in the country. You cannot see it here, even on the city outskirts. Your piece reminded me of those evenings, and how we would get up at 22 am and walk down our country road to a high hill and sit and watch the stars shower across the skies. Then walk home talking about the stars and the beauty we had just seen. I do wish that more people did that, versus tv or social media. These simple things are so forgotten now. It seems our generation of the 70s is the last generation of simple life (no cell phones, no technology beyond basics, handwriting letters and cards, walking two miles to the post office when the snowstorms force governors to close down roads, making house calls to neighbors for afternoon tea, reading books and playing board games and charade for entertainment at night, because we only had 9 tv channels that went off air at midnight, and parents only allowed 2 hours of tv a day because reading and drawing and writing were considered vital, and talking to a person versus texting, and saying yes ma’am and no sir to every adult, and never ever leaving a dining table without asking may I be excused). I think this is one of the main reason people love Downton Abbey–it reminds many of us ( those of us only in our 50s and older mostly) of a simple time that was still intact from the 1900s until the late 90s. Technology may have changed much, but those of us old enough to remember the lack of this technology must hold onto those simple, moral, good, gentle, joyful days and pass them down. If people did not inherently want that, they would never have loved Downton.
Thank you Lady Carnarvon for all that you and his Lordship do in upholding the simple joys and beauty in life–family, friendship, hospitality.
God bless you both;
Lisa in Connecticut
Thank you for your contribution to this blog -I was thinking I should offer a handwriting letter prize!!! Our hands, their flexibility and strength have made us what we are.. we seem to forget
Lisa, I loved your response to Lady Carnarvon’s post. Many of us long for a gentler and unhurried time. Well said!
Your darkness, or lack thereof, gave me much to think about. The sounds at night at Highclere must be wonderful.
My daughter in law and I will be coming in May of 2020. So excited!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I absolutely love reading your blog! I hope that one day you will consider compiling them and creating another one of your lovely books! I can envision them with beautiful pictures from in and around the castle.
I loved seeing the beautiful bedrooms! It is always so special to get these peeks inside the castle! I pre-ordered your Christmas book and can hardly wait till it arrives!
This past Friday I saw the Downton Abbey movie and I thoroughly enjoyed it! As I am a huge fan of the series, seeing the movie was such a treat! My dream trip is to come to England to not only attend the Wimbledon Championships but to visit Highclere Castle! Hopefully in a few years I’ll be there and oh what a thrill it will be for this small town Southern girl!
Wishing you and your family all the best always! And thank you again for your beautiful blog!
Thank you for the suggestion – I think it might be fun too – a diary..
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a lovely idea for the lucky two guests to stay in your glorious home and of course very generous of you both to entertain them.
We saw the film last Friday here in Basel, Switzerland. What a wow factor, the shots of the castle, particularly at the beginning and end, were amazing! We got quite emotional too, as we enjoyed visiting your home back in March and meeting you in person; it seemed so familiar and we are such avid fans. We enjoy reading your blog too and look forward to Mondays because of it.
So if you ever plan a visit to Switzerland, we would be very honoured if you visited our humble home.
Bea and Priya.
Thank you – I love my visits to Switzerland – we have had some good walks
Estimada Señora Carnarvon:
Me encuentro escribiéndole desde el lejano Atlántico Sur (Argentina).- Seguramente, debe contar con una sala de música y , un órgano / piano en vuestra casa; y bello seria, poder visitarla y estar flotando con las notas y los acordes de J. S. Bach, W. A. Mozart, A. Vivaldi y desde luego L. v. Beethoven.-.
Sin más y doy gracias por su tiempo, para con estas líneas escritas desde la emoción.-
P.d.: …” el mayor bien es pequeño
Que toda la vida es Sueño
Y los Sueños, Sueños son”
Fragmento Autor: Calderón de la Barca
Thank you the peace, music can help let you drift… the mind relax ..
Having visited Highclere in 2014, I remember some things vividly and have forgotten others. I had forgotten how beautiful the bedroom ceilings are. Stunning views from the windows, wonderful wall coverings and furnishings. I would love to visit again someday.
It is the detail – we could not build this today!
When watching the movie Friday night on the big screen the scenes of the castle literally took my breath away. I am so happy for you that you are fortunate enough to live in such a beautiful home surrounded by such amazing views. Being of all Irish descent, I know exactly what you mean!
Very relaxing to read – clever title too!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What lovely word pictures of sleep you have written in today’s blog. On the subject of getting the appropriate mix of daylight and nighttime hours, I have always wondered how people in the far north (& those stationed at Antarctica) cope with near 6 continuous months of white nights followed by 6 months of darkness.
Yesterday, I received a delivery from Amazon of your new book “Christmas at Highclere”. At the moment I have only had a brief perusal of it but I can see that it is beautifully presented and a thorough reading will be enjoyed by all members of my family.
Last Wednesday, we saw the Downton Abbey movie and thoroughly enjoyed it. Highclere was “shining”. Seeing Highclere and the actors on the big screen was like re-visiting old friends.
I was particularly moved by what I believe to be Julian Fellowes’ homage to you and the Carnarvon family. As with Mary and Downton Abbey, the future of Highclere is in your safe and caring hands. And as you have written, Highclere may be a Castle, but it is your home. It’s universal appeal is because a ‘visitor’, be it on TV, at the cinema or in person, feels the warmth of. not visiting a museum, but rather of being welcomed into the home of a loving, caring and very special family.
Thank you so much !
What a wonderful and beautiful blog. I love your pictures that you shared. What a beautiful home you have! I would love to visit someday.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Having visited your beautiful home in 2017, being an avid fan of the Downton Abbey series and movie, we are making a return visit from Australia on 29th October for the Real Lives & Film Sets Tour. Making our Highclere experience even more special, we are staying at The Carnarvon Arms making lovely new memories while experiencing the history, art, china of Highclere.
Thank you for opening your home for the world to enjoy.
Dear Lady Carnarvon: Thank you for a most timely and useful blog post. I’m coming down off a difficult day and was worried about sleeping tonight, but your calming words about sleep and pictures of your lovely bedrooms already have me nodding a bit. I will follow your bedtime ritual of reading by a single lamp and see if I too can nod away!
It feels like there is a significant community behind your efforts to preserve your family home. Huge compliments to whomever writes and edits the blog posts 🙂 I am very much interested in your ongoing preservation/restoration efforts and would be most grateful for any Information you wish to share. Thank you for opening up your home to visitors and supporting charity efforts. You are good brave smart people 🙂 it would have been so much easier to walk away from the daunting and challenging task of preserving such a house.
I write every blog and I am replying to you now, but you are right Highclere is a team!
Lady Carnarvon with all you do, rest must be a luxury for you. I felt guilty last week for bringing up your on line internet shop suggestion. You see I have bought your Christmas books for my friends but we have a friend getting married next month in England and I was hoping to send a hamper from your estate as a wedding gift. Please accept my apologise as I know you work extremely hard as do all your staff. You are such a role model for me. I look at your books by my bedside table and I tell myself when I have time I must read them. Especially after reading today’s post ‘The Land of Nod”, as you write so well. Unfortunately time is always against me too. I know I should make time but I hate interference when reading a good book. I hate putting a book down once I get started. However life has a way of taking valuable time away from one. How you manage to write a book, organise activities and do ALL that you do is beyond me.
As for your Airbnb plan to raise money for The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (a wonderful cause), it sounds like a wonderful opportunity for two lucky people. Unfortunately as much as I would like to take up this opportunity, we will have look into that the next time we are planning a trip to England, as you live not far from my best friend. If it is not available I also like the option of staying on the estate. Grotto Lodge or London Lodge would be a marvellous place to use as a base for touring Stonehenge, Bath, Oxford or Winchester, not to mention another opportunity to see inside your beautiful home. Kindest Regards from Heather in Australia.
Sally does create hampers – we are simply not quite keeping up with ourselves and failing to put it all online. All of here work hard and the trick is to realise none of us can be Mary Poppins…each day ends and you can only do so much
The book I was talking about last night was ‘Sisters of Fortune’ by Jeanne Wake. The Canton girls led fascinating lives here and their grandfather, Carroll, helped establish Georgetown.
Have just seen the film and ooohhhhed and aaaaahhhhed over your lovely home (and it’s fictional inhabitants) once again.
That Airbnb opportunity sounds heavenly – alas, I won’t be in the UK in November. But I might be looking at my own little “estate” in Ireland – I have fallen in love with a small period house and am considering taking on the project. It would be fulfilling a dream….
Love your blog as always and thank you for sharing the pictures. They are lovely.
Thank you – homes are rewarding buut whatever funds you think you need, double it.
Lady Carnarvon, I must say you are an eloquent writer and I love to read your blog. You have the ability to make the reader feel as if they are there. I was lucky enough to be in England in May and got to experience your Art and Architecture Lecture and Tour. It was very interesting to learn some history of the grounds of the castle. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I plan to return with my mother next year who is also in love with Highclere Castle and it’s wonderful history. Please keep up all your good work.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
This blog is just sweet. Sleeping is the most important thing you have to do in your day for yourself. and the ritual, when you have, one is important too, at least for me, reading being my favorite way to transition from my evening into Morpheus’ arms.
You are very fortunate to do so in a castle as beautiful as yours. When I visited two years ago, I remembered thinking while visiting a few rooms: “Gees… how nice must it be to go to sleep here because it must be pitch black when you close the lights”. It is the way I like to go to sleep at night, and : “Gees it must be awesome to wake up and have this view every morning!”
I saw a flahslight on one of the bedside tables on one picture, probably proof it is very dark at night… (c ;
Torches in case the power goes! If you are prepared it does not go off..
Dear Lady Carnavan,
I always look forward to your wonderful writings. This one, in particular, evoked the memories of a warm, sunny day this past July walking through your fields in full bloom. Perhaps we all need to remember peaceful fields just before sleep overtakes us. Thank you for sharing your fields and your thoughts.
Your words are true in regards to rest and sleep. Highclere seems like a wonderful dreamy place. I learned to appreciate sleep with time and age. As a child I wanted to go to bed late like the older people. ..Shakespeare’s thoughts are brilliant. Sometimes; in our dreams we find answers to our questions.
What a fantastic idea to work with online companies towards a good cause! 🙂
Late night thoughts; forgive me:
How can the commercial success of Downton Abbey, and the financial benefits to Highclere be translated/transported/transmogrified to benefit other historic and endangered places in England? Does every old house need a TV series and a big online presence? Houses and land are expensive to maintain, unless they can produce something of value. I am happy to see that your place produces agricultural products, but I guess that won’t support the whole estate.
The commercial success of Downton will benefit NBC and Focus Features – we hope some of the media attention will translate into book sales! Equally it is continually sharing stories about this and other heritage houses to visit them and enjoy them!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon
This is such a well-written and evocative piece.
Motivated by the excellent new movie, I’m re-watching the entire Downton Abbey saga. What a miraculous confluence of real-life manor house and superb writing and acting. Truly a story to last for centuries, as Highclere Castle will.
I wish the TV series had not stopped!!!
I visited last summer. I had Downton Abbey’s soundtrack playing on my phone whilst my husband made a video of my slowly walking up the gravel path, perhaps as Lady Mary or Lady Edith may have. Much to my delight, there was a gentleman who was dressed much as Molesley may once have walking down the path. I had a blast imagining a bygone era. We stepped into the castle and it was just delightful! Thank you for believing in bringing the gorgeousness of your home and sharing it with everyone who is just as enamored by your home as you are
The more we understand and know, the more we can share
What a view in the mornings indeed, I visited Highclere Castle June 2018 we were on the private tour and fell in love with the place in reality, couldn’t believe I was there I had to pinch myself a few times. Highclere & the grounds & lands are something else, it is a joy to see them in such great condition.
I grew up on a farm, the views at my home place are fab looking into Slieve Gullion, Co Armagh I look forward to going to mums just for a view across the countryside, I can fully understand how you treasure your views each morning no matter what weather.
Can’t wait to visit again sometime, I’ve been to see the movie twice already now.
Thank you for keeping traditions and history alive. Today’s construction of dwellings or buildings in general can not match the grandeur and attention to detail architecturally. I also applaud you for changed with the times enough to provide the revenue to keep yesterday alive. I’m from the United States, and I’m fascinated with the grandeur of buildings like insurance companies, train stations, even post offices, were once created beautifully. Despite the wealth many have, I see few examples of where these types of grand residences are created. Instead, the money is used for a minimalist approach. I hope to see Highclere in person my next trip across the pond.
I agree with you – being constant but doing things differently
Just wanted to say thank you for opening up your amazing home to Downton Abbey fans. We absolutely love the show and are going to see the movie tonight!
We are Airbnb Plus Superhosts and are so grateful for the opportunities this platform has brought us and the wonderful guests we have hosted from around the world.
Our alarm is set and our fingers are crossed we get lucky on October 1st!
David’s grandmother actually grew up in Urchfont so this would be the perfect opportunity to not only experience the extraordinary Highclere Castle and it’s rich history but to learn more about his own history as well!
Christa & David
P.S. “Listing is midweek because after all – “What is a weekend?” made us laugh out loud. One of the best lines from the show! 🙂
I wrote “At Home at Highclere” (Traditions etiquette recipes) around that very line! Four weekends..
Dear Lady Carnarvon – Your weekly blogs mean so much to so many, including myself. You are an excellent writer. I have seen Downton Abbey and it was wonderful seeing all the actors again, each person so perfect for his or her role in the story. I intend to go again because it means a lot to me. Thank you very much for all you are doing which allows us all to be a little part of it.
Thank you – i think I might see it again too!
This might be one of my favorite posts of yours…it is so beautifully written and evocative! Thank you so much for continuing to share your lovely home with all of us!
Sehr geehrte Lady Carnavon ,
Der König Georg V. und die Königin Mary von Großbritannien haben sich zum royalen Besuch angekündigt. Was für ein grandioser Kinofilm zur Serie “Downton Abbey”. Ich bin total begeistert von Highclere Castle und konnte es leider noch nicht besuchen. 2017 war ich in Südengland und ich muss sagen, es ist wunderschön und die Menschen so herzlich und freundlich. Auf dem Rückweg nach Deutschland wollte ich es mir ansehen, leider war an diesem Tag geschlossen. Ich hoffe auf eine zweite Chance . Ich mag die Briten und ihr Land , sehr. Ich wünsche Ihnen noch sehr viel Erfolg , Ihr zu Hause aufrecht zu erhalten, um es jedem zu zeigen und die Geschichte aufleben zu lassen.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Vielen Dank für Ihre freundlichen Worte. Ich hoffe, Ihnen gefällt mein letztes Buch
und ich mag die Deutschen – noch lese ich gerne Heines Gedichte..unter anderem
Sehr geehrte Lady Carnarvan,
ich bin schon sehr gespannt auf die Bücher, welche ich gerade bestellt habe, Lady Almina und das wahre Downton Abbey: Das Vermächtnis von Highclere Castle ist schon unterwegs und Amazon hatte mir sogleich das Weihnachtsbuch vorgschlagen. Das habe ich nun auch bestellt und freue mich darauf.
Machen Sie weiter so und viele Erfolge für Sie und Ihrem Mann.
Ich verbleibe mit freundlichen Grüßen
Ihre Gabi Jerkowski
Vielen Dank für Ihre freundlichen Worte. Ich wünsche Ihnen viel Spaß beim Lesen meiner Bücher.
Your home and gardens are so breath taking I have been very fortunate to visit Highclere castle 2 times. I have loved watching Downton Abbey and now recently the movie. I am hoping to come and visit in 2020 and enjoy a nice cream tea. Plus I love reading your post and blogs. I sincerely hope that Downton Abbey stories haven’t ended you might have a word with Julian Fellowes. Kind Regards a true Downton Abbey Fan.
I do hope it is not over yet too!
Your home is beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with us. Fingers crossed that I am one of the two lucky ones who get to come stay on November 26, 2019. It will give me a wonderful reason to fly back to Europe 🙂
My apologies, I meant Lady Carnarvon (autocorrect)!
Thank you for sharing this glimpse into your world. I love your blogs and hope to get to visit there with my husband in the next year or two. It is at the top of our bucket list!!
Hello Lady Carnarvon,
Once again you weave a beautiful tale about your lovely home. I so enjoy reading them. I’m a children’s author and have always loved the phrase “the land of nod”. It just sounds like the perfect place for a child to sleep. Thank you for the inspiration.
Have a lovely day.
Like the iconic castle it’s self, and the masterpiece Downton Abbey, I’m addicted to reading everything that Lady Carnarvon includes on her blog. It’s a wonderful way to wrap up each day for me, and I’m grateful for her time that is well spent for those of us who appreciate her effort.
Thank you- it is part of my week and Monday!!
I will be travelling from Australia solo in May Im a little nervous but what an adventure, I look forward to visiting Highclere Castle it will be the highlight of my trip as I am the biggest fan of Downton Abbey. I recently had surgery and wasnt able to weight bear for 14 weeks pretty much confined to the house so I think I watched every episode more than twice with my best friend of 40 years who has since passed away. Thank you for sharing and opening your home lady Carnarvon I look forward to reading your blogs. I dont want Downton Abbey to end
I am glad you are now visiting for real! When in May have you booked tickets?
I will be in Newbury on the 25th and 26th of May its only a short visit to the UK as Im travelling to Croatia to meet my brother and his wife, My husband is from Croatia and we have a apartment in Makraska it will be nice to show them around. I was booking my Airline tickets and thought oh I might just go to the Uk first so with a quick press of the keyboard it was done and I havnt stopped smiling since. My first stop is Polperro as my Great Grandmother was born and married there she came to Australia in 1913, maybe I will find some distant relatives, then Im heading back up to Newbury.
Thank You Lady Carnarvon for your reply I feel truely blessed
I ,too, believe in the power of sleep and the magical ways of awakening to a new day and it’s challenges. It is a recharging of our batteries in a way . When I go to our shop “The Rose Tree Cottage” in Coral Gables, Florida , we must be at our best to talk and serve our clients. They are very loyal and familiar to us; some have become friends , and we look forward to seeing and hearing about their families and their own lives. The day goes by too quickly but what a joy to do what you truly love. I am so blessed so have a full day of work, a full night of rest and another day to live and enjoy to the fullest.
I remain always,