Having been an avid fan of the TV Series, I booked 2 places (essential, as numbers are limited, due to its relatively small size) for a morning Tour of the House, planning to explore the grounds on our own in the afternoon.
It was a lovely old house, brimful of character and atmosphere, grand but not intimidating, with family photos and also photos of the TV actors. The family move out to a smaller house in the grounds during public opening weeks (school holidays only), and during filming, and the guides in each room were a mine of information and anecdotes.
Lord Caernarvon's ancestor in the 1930s was a keen Egyptologist who funded Howard Carter's "digs", resulting in the BIG find of Tutunkhamen's Tomb, and the Egyptian Collection in the Cellars is fascinating, and so well laid out e.g. faced with a black hardboard "wall", studded with flaps marked with "gold" hieroglyphics, you open each flap, to discover a tantalizing view of the treasures beyond, only partially revealed, as it must have been for Howard Carter….simple but SO effective!!! And King Tut's sarcophagus copy is very fine and brought back memories of my trip to Cairo, when I was younger and fitter!!
We had a super day at Highclere, and discussed it over dinner at 1 of the many fine restaurant/pubs nearby. We stayed at the De Vere Hotel in Wokefield Park which often does discount rates, and we visited McArthur Glen Designer Outlet as all those gorgeous gowns at Highclere had wetted my shopaholic appetite!!! DO please consider a trip there!! Middle England is often overlooked by tourists but it has some surprising gems amongst the Egyptian gold!!