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  • Egyptian Kings & Silver Screens

    Egyptian Kings & Silver Screens

What makes Highclere Castle a must-see destination?

Step back in time to a more elegant age in north Hampshire. Here, ancient Cedars of Lebanon sweep the beautifully manicured tracts of green vistas designed by famed landscape architect Capability Brown. This setting serves as a backdrop to one of England’s most famous country houses – Highclere Castle. Touring Highclere Castle is a rare opportunity. The castle is open for tours a limited number of days throughout the year, usually 60-70. But what is it about Highclere that makes it an intriguing place to visit?

Is it Its Connection to an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh?

In the early 20th century the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who resided at Highclere at the time, was fascinated by Egypt’s history and collected artifacts. He was best known for sponsoring archeologist Howard Carter’s world-famous 1922 expedition that discovered the 3300-year-old tomb of King Tutankhamun, better known as “King Tut.” Today, Highclere Castle is home to a special Egyptian exhibition located in Highclere’s cellars in celebration of the discovery. This exhibition features many antiquities and reproductions from the 5th Earl’s collection including statues, jewelry, pottery, tools, and a 3500-year-old coffin.

Is it the Sunday Nights on Public Television?

Dramatic discoveries aside, readers may know Highclere best for being the filming location to a hit Public Television period drama that has rendered itself a household name across England and the United States. On a tour of Highclere, visitors will recognize the parlors, drawing rooms, bedrooms, and more from the show. We have heard the series has a forthcoming movie being filmed there too! No release date has been announced yet. The castle’s current Earl and Countess look forward to seeing Highclere move from the TV screen to the Silver Screen!

Is it the History?

The beautiful Jacobean country house built of golden Bath Stone was designed by the same architect that designed London’s Palace of Westminster – Sir Charles Barry. Barry designed the house from 1839-1842. The house sits upon the site of an earlier house, a red brick Tudor, and that house sat upon the foundations of a medieval palace erected in the 9th century. Since 1679, Highclere has belonged to the Earls of Carnarvon. During World War I the First Countess of Carnarvon converted Highclere into an infirmary and tended to the wounds of allied soldiers. Highclere returned to a private residence in 1922. The current Earl and Countess live in Highclere seasonally and remain heavily involved in running this beautiful estate.

How to Explore

Holiday Vacations’ English Masterpiece tour is an 11-day exploration of iconic palaces and beautiful countrysides celebrated in popular TV dramas and classic literature. The tour doesn’t just explore Highclere – but also visit the village of Bampton, home to many more familiar outdoor filming locations. In Cornwall you’ll visit Port Isaac, familiar to many as the setting to a hit British comedy medical series. Another stop is Bletchley Park, where Alan Turing unlocked the secrets of the German Enigma Machine, and Agatha Christie’s vacation home, Greenway, on the River Dart in Devon. Then explore London with visits to Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, plus Oxford, Bath, Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and many more great destinations. For more information and reservations, browse Holiday Vacations’ online itinerary here or call 800-826-2266.For more travel experiences to Beautiful Places on Earth™ available from Xanterra Travel Collection® and its properties, visit