Welcome Home

Vero Beach, Florida was a marvelous place to visit – lovely weather, some incredibly generous, community spirited people and delicious meals including perhaps ironically, one of the most delicious English Sticky Toffee Puddings I have ever tasted.

I am now back at Highclere. As usual I got a particularly warm welcome from all the dogs who are always kind and enthusiastic, even in the early hours of the morning when perhaps one’s family is less so!



IMG_1607They are friendly to all our visitors and I am lucky, since there are so many of them, that they rarely bark except in  the excitement of a walk. They love it when the Castle is bustling with people and I am sure they look forward to the film crew who are here on and off for six months at a time. I tend not to allow all the dogs into the main State Rooms at once.

IMG_1594They are a lively bunch and it would not be fair to the film crew to be falling over them all the time. Bella, our old Labrador, is the gentlest and quietest of them and loves being on set because everyone pets her and makes a fuss of her. All three Labradors,  (Bella has two sons) are naturally very fond of the catering trucks and the tea station, and play deaf when I call. Andy, Downton’s security man, is used to their wiles and tends to have a pocket full of treats to try to tempt then away, so it is all a good game for them. However, at one point, the two young Labradors stole some cake from a table in the Library during the filming of part of a tea scene. Perfect continuity became difficult and they were not popular additions that day!.

Perhaps less usually they also enjoy playing with other dogs and because they have grown up with lots of friends (dogs) are in fact very social! Paul the Gardener brings his dog to work and he adores one of the Labrador’s endlessly chasing him and leaping up to kiss his nose. Not perhaps my idea of fun but they have a good time.

It is rather sad that Downton’s dog, Isis, died though inevitable, I suppose, given the time line. Maybe though it is a chance for the TV series to bring in a new dog.  It’s a nice thought.

51 Responses to “Welcome Home”
  1. Linda says:

    I envy you for having the land for so many canine family members

  2. Linda says:

    I envy you for having the land for so many canine family members

  3. Linda says:

    I wonder if you might consider ever sharing any, if at all, ghost stories Highclere might have aquired over the centuries?

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      I will do but do not want to put off visitors or more importantly all who work here!!!

  4. Valerie says:

    Nice dogs. Love the show. Sorry Isis died but can’t say I like the name. 🙁

  5. Christine says:

    Hoping to see all of them during my visit this year!

  6. Lynn says:

    Absolutely love your blog. I don’t follow anyone across the pond accept you. I have plans to visit one day. It would be amazing to meet you.
    Best always, Lynn Bryson

  7. Elizabeth Bogucki says:

    I loved seeing the pictures of your wonderful dogs. No house, even one as beautiful and stately as Highclere, is truly a home unless there is some dog hair (or cat hair in my case) on the furniture. If they do decide to have another “Downton dog” perhaps one of your “kids” could audition for the part.

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      There has never not been a dog here. There are the most charming sketches in the visitors books from 1866 of various adored dogs..

  8. Sophie Lamping says:

    What a lovely set of photo’s of a happy bunch of welcoming playful dogs !
    They’ll be so pleased !

  9. Tonya Holcomb says:

    Oh how sweet! You can be sure they are (the dogs or I chose to call fur babies) are so happy to see you! Great pics!!
    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  10. Pamela Jacobs says:

    Lady Carnarvon, How many dogs do you have? I’ve only 2 Cocker Spaniels, but they keep me busy with the leaves and sticks attached to them as they run back in the house after chasing the squirrels, lizards and what ever else crawls through the bushes in my garden. So sad to hear Downton Abbey will be coming to a close. We’ve loved the “Crawley’s” antics, but I most of all have enjoyed the house and grounds of your Highclere Castle! I hope you continue your blog long after the show comes to an end!

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      Thank you – I enjoy it and love Highclere. I am also going to start to do a “you tube” video taking you round the gardens and follies. I have a new very young horse so I thought we would go off exploring together ..

  11. Rosemary Hudson says:

    All the news reports about Downton Abbey ending after the next season is sad but I would imagine it won’t stop the visiting schedule at Highclere. We will miss the series but perhaps a future series will find its home at your lovely setting. Glad you enjoyed your time in the USA.

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      I have so many ideas of what might amuse people. Downton has sprung us forward but I feel we have treasure chests of stories at Highclere.

  12. Edna Blue says:

    Lady Carnarvon, I would have liked meeting you while in the USA. Glad you enjoyed your trip. Animals can bring much joy and peace – and that lively bunch and their playful love are precious to watch. I loved England when I was there last August. Wish I could come for a month. You were not at Highclere when we came – maybe next time. Thank you for sharing your world of Highclere with us. I too am saddened about Downton Abbey but understand that life changes and I cherish the memories that Highclere and Downton have given me. Please continue your blog!

  13. coyoteandraven says:

    I have only seen part of one season and love the characters
    and their struggles the complexities the hard work at building
    and maintaining a narrative that reaches beyond character and
    fiction through collective action and imagination has judy
    dench been on the show she would give it an interesting
    twist so many wonderful actors in the uk to chose from

  14. Michella Tetrault says:

    Love the pictures!! Also would love to hear more stories about the dogs. I agree, they need to bring another dog into the picture. After all, didn’t most family of that caliber and that time frame have several dogs?

  15. Diana Kiley says:

    love your furbabies! And so sad to hear about the ending of Downton Abbey. I hope that your home will continue to flourish. And in my dreams, I have it on the list of places to visit.

  16. angela says:

    Delightful! Glad you enjoyed your visit. I can’t wait to visit Highclere in Spring 2016! Happy Firday

  17. Lynn D. Morrissey says:

    Lady Carnarvon,
    There is nothing like being welcomed by man’s (or woman’s) best friend after a prolonged absence. Our poodle does a happy dance, and bestows wet kisses whenever we return home. Our reunions for him are ecstatic! I love the photo where you can’t be seen! Those dogs were obviously deliriously happy to have you home. Yes, I was so saddened by Isis’s passing . . . but incredibly sad that Downton will be ending. I really thought they would continue at least several more seasons, even without matriarch Countess of Grantham presiding over the affairs of the castle. I had hoped maybe Fellowes could write a prequel, taking the series back to the Victorian era. Hope springs eternal. And I do hope that Highclere Castle will remain a vacation destination for travelers. We adored visiting there in 2013. And I also hope you will continue your beautiful blog. It’s really become a respite for this reader.

    All the best and welcome home,

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      Thank you – they mentioned a film in the press/media…it is not quite over perhaps!

  18. DOROTHEA BROCK says:

    Lady Carnavon, I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed your visit to the U.S. Your blog is most enjoyable to me as I’m a big fan of Downton. Hopefully one day I can make the journey across the pond and tour your beautiful castle and grounds. I’m a dog lover also and would be delighted to meet yours.

    Best regards,
    Dorothea Brock

  19. Paula Carter says:

    All your dogs are smiling. You are a gracious lady and lovely doggy mom!

  20. Ed Vonbergen says:

    I love reading your enchanted stories of your trips abroad and highclere. Maybe some day i can visit england and visit highclere. my ancestors come from the swiss alps and am told they lived in castles.It is a very romantic atmosphere to live in a real castle ,i am sure its alot of hard work and always something to do and fix,please keep writing about highclere, love the stories of the dogs.sincerly Edward L Vonbergen, Philadelphia Pa.USA.

  21. Melissa Mital says:

    It’s nice to hear that you had a good time here in the States. I imagine you are like me and my husband, about 2 days into a vacation we begin to miss our pets something terrible. We are always happy to return to our cats, of which I am sure didn’t even care that we were gone.
    It’s good to hear that the Downton crew doesn’t mind your dog’s being around. A good measure of a person’s character is how the dog or cat reacts to them.
    As always thank you for sharing!

  22. Carol Sawyer says:

    Dear Lady Carnarvon,

    We are glad that you arrived home safely and hope you did not incur another 4.5 hour Customs delay!
    We love your dogs!
    /Man’s/Countesses’ Best Friends!
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Carol and Tom

  23. Mary Beth says:

    Hi Lady Carnarvan

    I’m glad you had a nice holiday in the U.S. I hope you can come to Devon Pennsylvania someday for the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. It is the oldest running horse show in America, since 1896. It runs for 10 days at the end of May and they have everything from Coaching classes (judge is usually from Britain) to roadsters and Hunter, jumpers including the Devon Grand Prix jumper stake which is standing room only. A carnival and excellent food, plenty of shops plus the beautiful stables. The really nice thing is it is all run by volunteers and all proceeds benefit the Bryn Mawyr hospital. They also have Dressage at Devon in the autumn. It’s a very special place with local and international riders competing. You can read about it at devonhorseshow.org. Love the photos of you and your “family”, I bet they really missed you!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Mary Beth

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      Thank you – I have judged some classes once at a show – it is so nerve wracking!

      I have a beautiful Arab filly I hope to show- she is utterly adorable.

  24. Natalie Graham says:

    Love the dog mob photos! 🙂 You are obviously a favored member of the pack.

    Glad you had a fun time in Florida before returning safely home. Take care!

  25. Ahh, what Happy pictures! My Adopted Shelter Dog, Angel watches Downton with me and Isis is her “Role Model”! (not mentioning her passing and Angel will never know)
    “When I grow-up I want to be JUST LIKE ISIS” , she says. Here you can see a picture of her as a pup – she’s a much bigger girl now. Do visit Wagadilly! http://wagadillytimes.com/2015/03/15/quick-tip-go-to-the-vet-without-your-pet/
    Best Regards to you and Your Pack!
    Anna and Angel

  26. Nora Huber says:

    Thank you for the insightful blog about a beautiful place! Every time I am in England the tours to Highclere are sold out! But I’m sure I will make it one day. My husband and I love Vero Beach. Can you tell me which fabulous restaurant had the sticky toffee pudding?? I will go next time I am there!!

  27. Lady Carnarvon says:

    I try to be their leader!! I take 2 or 3 come out with me when I go riding, it is particuarily beautiful on a summers evening riding quietly back as the light falls. The dogs pad back alongside. I imagine I am following the same drives/rides as has been done for hundreds of years and others have all enjoyed it before me as I do.

  28. Diane Clavareau says:

    Thank you for the pictures with the dogs. Very funny! I only have one: a black Belgian shepherd! When I come home from shopping he is waiting for me and expresses all his enthusiasm by jumping around. Please do not stop your blog, even if Downton will not go on. I will regret but everything comes to an end. Thank you for the pictures and the words about your labs. Diane

  29. Sharon Kirkham says:

    Hello Lady Carnarvon,

    Sorry I missed you while you were visiting the US, but not to worry, I will come to England to see you. My husband and I have scheduled a visit to Highclere in August. (Can’t wait). Yes, we have our tickets.

    I understand the exhilaration the puppies showed upon your return. We have two grandlabs, one white, Charlie, and one black, Jada. I, of course can hardly wait to see my four grandchildren when visiting, but don’t stand a chance getting past those precious dogs without giving them the first hugs.

    See you soon! Sharon Kirkham

  30. Susan & Andy Korb says:

    Your book about Lady Almina is excellent. When I read about the Van Dyck portrait of Charles I, I was so excited! Since then, I have watched many DA episodes again, just to see it! Not just to see it, as in a museum, but to see it being enjoyed by people living there. How wonderful it must be for you.

    We are visiting Wednesday, April 8, and I look forward to seeing this painting and many others. Thank you and Lord Carnarvon for sharing.

    Andy & Susan Korb

  31. Mayvis S says:

    I just love this blog about your welcome home from the dogs. It is such a warm and loving blog and think it is so wonderful!!!!

  32. Brenda Watson says:

    It is so wonderful to see how much your doggies love you when you return home as does our 5 doggies. A good measure of a person’s character is how their dogs or cats reacts to them. Sharing your joys and fun with all of us around the world is so appreciated and makes each and every one of us feel as though we are a part of your everyday life. It gives our mundane lives a bit of a lift when needed. Once again, thanks to both of you.

    Brenda Watson
    Martinsville, Ohio

  33. scott feck says:

    one day…… ONE DAY….. My fingers will be quick enough to get a pair of tickets to the castle and surprise my sister. Until then. Ill enjoy your blog and your website as it does make me smile so……

  34. Luciano says:

    Dear Lady carnarvon,

    I loved to know more about your interesting life and more about your family, we are enjoying of the Downton Abbley series in Brazil. I’m sorry for English.

    Best regards, from Brazil


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  36. Rodney Bentham-Wood says:

    i happened to be visiting Vero Besch from darkest Chelsea, during your visit.
    You met my daughter Sophie, a director of the museum.
    Congratulations on how well you went down – They loved you in Vero, a very successful visit.
    Well done.
    As a matter of interest daughter Sophie grew up with Newfoundlands, so you had more in common that just nationality.

  37. Marcia Chess says:

    Lady Carnarvon,

    We had a grand time visiting you,your home and your adorable well behaved dogs. Thanks for interacting with us and telling us stories that were so interesting. I just can’t wait until your cookbook comes out in print. I will be watching and waiting to be one of the first to purchase it. We were there on April 7th and will never forget that day. Thanks for mentioning the blog as well. Great Memories!

    Marcia Chess
    Sebring, FL

  38. Carol-Ann Rahl says:

    I love the pictures of you with all the dogs. I wondered when during the episode of Downton Abbey, they showed Isis feeling ill if it was just part of the story line or if it were true. I am sorry to know that in fact she did pass away. That is the most difficult part of having animals. My little black cat, Jemima, is almost 18 now and it will be a very sad day when I lose her.

  39. blanchard ghislaine says:

    I just come back from UK , where I visited Highclere Castel last sunday.

    I just loved it and we had a realy good time with my family; such a beautifull place
    We are fan of the serie, and realy appreciate the caracteres, it’s a pity that it almost finish 🙁

    So I’m looking forward to see the last season 🙂


  40. Bowe Lang says:

    We are hoping to visit Highclere Castle while we are in London July 23-25.
    We enjoy our home in Vero Beach, I read that you visited Vero.
    Looking forward to our visit to Highclere.
    Yes, we are one of the crazy Americans who love the series.
    Thank you for sharing your lovely estate with the world.

  41. Mary Laiuppa says:

    It was so sad when they had to write Isis out. But I did the math and yes, Isis couldn’t live forever. I think I calculated she was probably 11 or 12 in TV years. Her passing was natural for the breed. I had a lab mix who died the same way at about the same age.

    I really do wish they would bring in a puppy for the last season. Robert doted on Isis and it is unnatural for Downton Abbey not to have a dog.

    You have SIX! That is a dog pile I would be most happy to be at the bottom of.

    Dogs are so wonderful. Not only do they not care if you’ve put on a few pounds or your hair has a bit of gray now, they don’t care if you are a Lord or homeless. They just care you love them and only want to love you. Your dogs obviously love you to distraction.

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  43. Christy Lopez says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to Vero Beach, we have such a wonderful community, I love it here. 🙂 Who made or where did you enjoy the English Sticky Toffee Pudding? I’d love to try it. Thanks!

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