The BBC series Downton Abbey emboldened the already exceptional reputation of Highclere Castle, but there is still so much more to uncover. Fiona, 8th Countess of Carnarvon, has recently released a new book, titled Seasons at Highclere, exploring the rich and enticing history of Highclere Castle. Lady Carnarvon details the day-to-day running of the house firsthand while revealing how each blossoming season gives Highclere a new look and feel.
The stunning book looks back at Highclere Castle’s Anxo-Saxon roots through a staggering 800 years.
From being a medieval Bishop’s palace to an illustrious Victorian and subsequently Edwardian grounds and gardens.
The building’s eclectic history leads all the way up to being portrayed as the fictional Downton Abbey in six seasons of TV, a 2019 film, and a final, upcoming film, Downton Abbey 2.
Included in Lady Carnarvon’s tome is not just the intoxicating history of the building, but also some seasonal excitements.
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Lady Carnarvon’s Seasons at Highclere also includes a range of “seasonal recipes, stories from the table and grounds of Highclere,” and much more.
Lady Carnarvon said: “Having spent months of research in the archives as well as walking the ancient chalk downlands, the history of the gardens and landscape and their impact on the culinary life of the Castle began to unfold for me.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this book, from discovering hidden gems to gaining a deeper knowledge of the natural landscape and the ancient origins of farming here at Highclere, before bringing the stories back inside into the dining room with both family recipes and some of the Highclere chef’s beautiful dishes.”
The Grade I listed country house was originally built in 1679, but was largely renovated in the 1840s.
The 5,000-acre estate, which resides in Hampshire, England, had its park designed by Capability Brown in the 18th Century – the same man responsible for the gardens at Warwick Castle, Blenheim Palace, Badminton House, etc.
The stunning Highclere Castle also boasts an Egyptian exhibition, which is open to the public for self-guided tours during the summer months.
Lady Carnarvon is the wife of George, 8th Earl of Carnarvon. She is an alumna of St Andrews University and a former auditor for Coopers & Lybrand accountants.
In the 1990s she started her own clothing brand and now lives with her husband, son, eight dogs, and livestock at Highclere Castle.
She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, and Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey.
Lady Carnarvon’s new book Seasons at Highclere is out now.