Today was AWESOME 🙂 🙂 :-). It started really well with a lovely breakfast. A bowl-scrapingly delicious breakfast which had cold pumpkin in it but was still wonderful. Kath Eats made an overnight oats bowl with pumpkin. I knew we were getting up and going out early so I made this the night before. I put oats, soya milk, pumpkin (puree from a can), Greek yogurt, Chia seeds and cinnamon in a bowl and left it overnight. I had it with a cup of Twinings loose leaf breakfast tea.
We went to Highclere Castle which is the setting for ITV’s period drama Downton Abbey. The Earl and Countess were hosting a fund raising day for the armed forces charities so it was a perfect day out for the three of us; history and Downton stuff for me, armed forces, guns and blood (only fake, don’t panic) for Harvey and vintage cars and planes for James.
We were there soon after it opened so had plenty of time to look at the vintage cars, like this 1912 Model T Ford.
First view of Downton/Highclere. Excitement mounts!!
We had to wait until 11:30 for the house to open (yes, gasp, we did go inside 🙂 ) so Harvey had the opportunity to sit in an Apache helicopter,
where strangely I showed a great interest in how and when they are used. How fortunate that the pilots were so
There was a delay to admitting people in to the castle so we grabbed a bite to eat. Unfortunately there was nothing remotely healthy, it was all burgers and hot dogs, so I went for a vegetarian option. THE only vegetarian option. With a coffee. A cheese, onion and potato pasty. It actually tasted really good as the pastry was crisp and the cheese hot and melted, but it was such a bad diet choice, since it was full of fat with some refined white flour and then loads more fat. Approximately 22 WW points :-(. Nearly 2/3 of a days allowance in one handful of fat. We later found a restaurant in the castle so I should have waited. Oh well, live and learn.
Finally it was time to get in to the Castle and we were one of the first in. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos inside but I did take some from inside, looking outside. One of the horses from War Horse was there, amongst many displays, many of which had a military theme.
We walked through some of the rooms made famous by Downton Abbey, such as the library, morning room and the dining room. We went upstairs and walked along the corridor, looking in to bedrooms and a bathroom and peering over the balustrade in to the hall below. Luckily no dead Turks were being dragged about.
In the basement is an exhibition of Egyptian artefacts and replicas as it was the Earl of Carnarvon (the current Earl’s Grandfather I believe) who discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922. On the way to the tea rooms is the bell board for all the rooms in the ‘upstairs’ of the house. So when the servants heard the bell ring for attention, they knew which room to rush off to.
The house was full of staff who were very well informed about the history of the house and all the inevitable questions about Downton. We had tea and cake in the garden which was lovely. Another diet disaster but somehow it seemed like the thing to do, to take tea on the lawn. With a scone, clotted cream and strawberry jam. The flapjack and coffee and walnut cake were not for me!
We were treated to a flyover by a Spitfire.
And then walked around the castle, admiring the amazing architecture.
Harvey’s turn to see something he was interested in. Wearing a flak jacket he put on some camouflage paint.
Had his arm put in plaster,
Handled a rifle,
And then we came across the Downton cast and costumes. Woo Hoo!
I had a hug from Branson the chauffeur – what a twinkly eyed charmer he was,
Then headed off to the auction of Downton props which the delightful Mr Carson ran. He was brilliant. And we were in the second row so had a really good view.
Ably assisted by his Nobleness, the Earl of Grantham, who was in dress down mode!
And Mrs Hughes, Mrs Crawley, Daisy and Mrs Patmore.
It was great fun. We entered in to the spirit of the auction and bought one of the huge vases of flowers.
There was still more to see on the way out.
We spotted the current Earl of Carnarvon giving an interview.
Had a quick peek inside a Chinook before it flew off. Really interesting seeing such things so close.
And finally dragged ourselves away. Farewell Highclere Castle, we had a brilliant day.
Back home I finished eating what I had started earlier; overnight pumpkin oats with a blood orange and grapes added to it. It was good to eat something fresh and juicy.
Today was brilliant. Highclere Castle opens a few times a year. If you are interested in going, click the link at the top of this post and book tickets for the next opening which is in December. They don’t normally have all the military displays and Downton cast there but I think it would still be worth a trip.