Oct 17th: 'Real Downton Abbey' Tour & Champagne Reception

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The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon are delighted to take you on tours and share the stories of their home, the Real Downton Abbey. Enjoy the Champagne and Canapes and help raise funds and awareness for The Rosemary Appeal.

During the filming of Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle was temporarily converted into a convalescence home. This story has its basis in fact: Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon, transformed the Castle into a 'Military Home Hospital' during the First World War. Lady Carnarvon is thrilled that Dr Clarkson (the actor David Robb) from the Downton cast is joining us for the evening at the Real Downton Abbey!

Surgery made significant advances during those four years given the level of injuries. There were no antibiotics and therefore the success of any hospital depended on the level of care, of the cleanliness, of the encouragement and confidence given to the patients by the nurses.


Wounded soldiers at Highclere Castle counted themselves as fortunate: Almina was regarded as a “Florence Nightingale”. Arundel Bedroom was turned into an operating theatre, used by the best surgeons with Almina as Head Nurse. The soldiers recovered on fresh linen sheets and were propped up on plump down pillows so they could gaze out over the beautiful Highclere Park. Silver service dinners were followed by a game of cards in the library or even a glass of whisky from the butler.

However, whilst medicine has moved on, there is still such a need for the latest life- saving equipment, which depends upon money.  Like her predecessor, the current Countess of Carnarvon is a keen supporter of hospitals.  The Rosemary Appeal is raising money for the local Hospital in order to provide day care, chemotherapy, renal dialysis, IV therapies and a CT Scanner. At the moment local people who are challenged by cancer diagnoses, who need chemotherapy for example or dialysis have to drive for perhaps an hour and back again. Click HERE for more information.

The Rosemary Appeal has raised £3million already to build and offer these services and need a further £1.5 million.  Every £1 helps, it is literally another brick and therefore Lady Carnarvon thought Highclere would hold an evening to help a little on the journey.

Please join us in aid of a good cause and enjoy Champagne, Canapes and Tours of the Castle and The Egyptian Exhibition. Lady Carnarvon is delighted to welcome you and give each guest a signed copy of the book “Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey".

Guests will be welcomed into The Saloon at the very heart of the Castle. The Library, The Drawing Room, The Music Room, The Smoking Room and The Gallery Bedrooms will also be open for guests to enjoy.

Highclere guides will be on hand in the Main State Rooms to answer any questions regarding the history of the building, artwork and furniture, as well as behind the scenes at Downton Abbey, from the North Library where Matthew (married to Lady Mary) stood up and walked again to the Drawing Room which was used for military beds in Downton Abbey.  

Walk up the famous staircase to see the Gallery and bedrooms, and guests will also have an opportunity to visit The Egyptian Exhibition, which is housed in the Castle cellars. It tells the story of the discovery of Tutankhamun by the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter.




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