Yes I know, it isn't quite Autumn yet and I am on a little break BUT, I know some of you were looking forward to my visit to Highclere Castle and the familiar scene of 'Downton Abbey' against the trees. It may have not been Autumn but I can happily say it rained! It poured! It was dark! Perfect weather for me. So my dear readers, rather than high heels and hats, it was B&W weather (brolly and welly), so grab your coats, a flask of tea and a hot sausage roll... it's going to be a dark and wet visit! (If you are here for a brief visit and don't want the commentary, just click on a photo and then you can have your own whistlestop tour).
Along with Mumsy and me was another little visitor from Pom Pom's Ponderings - Mr Badger. Mr Badger is with me for a couple of weeks sharing some 'hygge'. Hygge (pronounced hooga) is a Danish word that roughly translates into coziness, creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. So it is only fitting that Mr Badger should stay in the Castle while we walked around the outside (well, he was not going to be cozy in the rain was he!). Go along to Pom Pom to follow his journey and maybe book him to come to you! (can you see him in the window keeping dry?)
As the coach turned into the car park, the famous scene finally reached our eyes rather than on a screen. The modern day coats and umbrellas of the 21st century took over from the series' more elegant fashions of the early 20th century.
However once inside, the usual austere interiors of these houses were no where to be seen. This house felt like a home. The warmness of the decoration, the cosiness of the sofas and chairs, the personal photos of the family dotted around. We really did feel as though this was a loved home and in some ways a lot like my grandparents home (although Highclere was slightly larger!). Unfortunately photos were not allowed inside so I can only show the glow of lamps and the back of mirrors in windows to tease you, but if a house was ever to show 'Hygge' this was it.
(You can also click here to be taken to a Corporate Brochure that shows you inside).
The smell of the books in the library filling the row upon row of shelves that lined the walls. The large 'curl up and sleep' sofas next to the fireplace and windows to the side framing the romantic views of the surrounding estate. There are times when a photo could speak a thousand words but I want you to imagine coming home from a hard day's work, kicking off your shoes, a hot mug of coco and a comforting casserole's aroma filling the air, a roaring fire with the rain tapping softly at the windows and running down the pane gathering momentum as it twists and turns joining other drops, the soft yellow glow of lamps illuminating dark corners, the quiet before everyone comes home, just curling up in a soft enveloping chair.
It feels like a deep and content sigh as the calmness overcomes you.
This is exactly how we felt in each of these beautiful rooms.
Some rooms show where Downton Abbey is filmed, such as the library, dining room, staircase, Lady Sybil's bedroom. But we soon looked beyond 'Downton' and at the house in its own right.
|Lady Sybil's bedroom from the outside|
Highclere Castle was designed by Charles Barry with its ornate towers that reminded me of somewhere when we arrived.
But of course, they would do... he also designed The Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) at the same time. Well, it's obvious when you look isn't it?
Even though the rain was the fine mist type that journeys on the wind, we put our hoods up and made our way into the magnificent gardens. So beautifully laid out and designed. Of course a walled secret garden is always a pleasure to find. Let me take you on a visual journey of the gardens.
Of course, all during our walk around the misty rain was relentless. So many photos taken and trying to get light levels as high as I could but many showed the round drops on the lens. I am not complaining though as it was glorious to walk around and there were one or two bright colours dotted around.
In amongst the gardens we came across this little folly - Jackdaw Castle, which was built in the 18th century by the uncle of the First Earl of Carnarvon (I wouldn't have thought that he personally built it unless he was very strong!). This stands beautifully on a hill enticing you to walk amongst the columns.
The Corinthian columns sung out to me with their ornate carvings supporting the roof joists.
The view from Jackdaw Castle was of course, stunning!
Also while walking there is an amazing wildflower meadow. This was when I cried out for the sun to shine, but this fell on deaf ears. I can imagine when the sun smiles on these flowers that this area is stunning, not that it wasn't anyway.
Let's look at the house a bit more though!
I do love a door don't I? This one was simple compared to some I have shown you in the past but I loved it even more for this. The wolf's head door knocker made me think of crisp foggy evenings with the sound of horse hoofs impatiently waiting for the occupant to greet the party at the door.
The familiar entrance but without the staff of Downton to smile and welcome you.
Then there's the back of this magnificent building. The part that I suspect in days gone by, was not on show - the busy end!
Little gates leading into what I am presuming are staff cottages.
And a beautiful view of the mist laden trees looking as though they were rising up into a cloud.
So there we have it, Highclere Castle in a nutshell, but a mammoth post to write and choose which photos to share. If you would like to know and follow more about Highclere, why don't you follow Lady Carnarvon's blog. She has a lovely site with a personal insight and lots of useful information to marvel at.
Mr Badger is dry and safe back in his guest room here preparing for a walk on the Fens before he goes on his merry way to the next person.
As for this blog, well I changed colour schemes, headings, template etc etc, but ended up pretty much back to where I was in the first place. Maybe I was just restless which is what this season does to me, but as long as my camera tells the story, and you enjoy reading it, that's all that matters. So, I am sharing 'Hygge' with you. Sitting around our screens around the world discussing life in warm and friendly surroundings.
It's good to be back!