Pictures of Highclere Castle
About Highclere Castle
This was once a rather plain building until Sir Charles Barry turned it into the matchless beauty we see today. A place of rare grandeur, Highclere is surrounded by landscaped grounds laid down by Capability Brown, his stunning parkland, created in 1774 makes a fitting back-drop for what is now a place of limitless style and beauty.
Highclere has been the home of the Herbert family for more than 300 years. The title "Earl of Carnarvon" was given to Henry Herbert by a grateful George III in acknowledgment for his political skill in the handling of a difficult political situation at the time of the Gordon Riots. The title remains with this family today, so too have their close links to the Crown. The 4th Earl became Secretary of State and played an important part in the development of the British Empire, and the 5th Earl discovered the treasures of the Egyptian Tomb of Tutankhamen, and went on to develop the famous Highclere Racing Stud. The 6th Earl bred "Blenheim" winner of the 1930 Derby. The 7th Earl carried on the traditions of the racing stud, he became one of the Queen's greatest friends as well as being her racing manager. The sister of the 8th Earl continues to run the stud, whilst his brother the Hon Harry Herbert manages Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, the U.K's most successful Horse Racing Syndicate.
Within this gracious house visitors discover appealing rooms each with a definitive style. The library, that preserve of the male species, has fine mahogany furniture and features startling red and gold. The Victorian smoking room is luxurious with rich leather furnishings off-set by glowing wood, this too is heavy with the atmosphere of a purely male domain. There is a dramatic entrance hall, and probably the finest room in the house is the Victorian saloon created by Thomas Allom - this is a galleried room, rich with tapestries, leather wall hangings, and coats of arms, all displayed with flamboyant abandon. The Drawing Room is adorned with elegant chandeliers and has soft furnishings giving it the timeless feel of the English country home while the more formal Dining Room has an elaborate ceiling, fine furniture, and a collection of portraits. As you tread the hallowed floors and glance at the sweeping staircase with its intricate decoration you get a mirror image in your mind of just what a wondrous place this must have been a century or so ago.
In the basement visitors can see a display of Egyptian artefacts brought back by the 5th Earl from his explorations of the Valley of the Kings. A walk around the stunning grounds reveals a delightful walled garden designed by Capability Brown, a fernery, and an orangery. The yew walks carry forward the Victorian era, and there are magnificent lawns and a lovely secret garden to be enjoyed.
The house is available for events, and both house and grounds are open to the public.
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