Highclere Castle Guide

Highclere Castle, Berkshire
Highclere Castle - © Martin John Bishop

Highclere Castle has a history dating back to the 17th century and has been the family home of the Herbert's for several generations. The castle offers visitors with an interesting heritage attraction in the county of Berkshire, there is plenty to see and do here from exploring the history of the castle to taking a stroll in the gardens to seeing the Egyptian Exhibition. In addition to being a tourist attraction the castle is also an events and functions venue hosting a number of events throughout the year.


Highclere Castle is located in Newbury, Berkshire, it is the current home of the Duke and Countess of Carnarvon. The castle is a popular attraction and each summer is opened to the public where they can view the castle, gardens and the range of exhibitions. The castle is set among scenic parkland and is regarded as one of the most attractive Victorian castles in the UK. The location makes for a tranquil and peaceful setting, there are some stunning views around the castle of the wonderful English countryside.

The current castle is located at the site of an earlier house, previous to that it is thought there as a medieval palace here. William of Wykeham the Bishop of Winchester and his associated household stayed at the site during their journeys from Winchester Cathedral and two Colleges. It was after the Reformation period in the 16th century that Highclere was passed on to private owners.

In 1679 it was bought by Sir Robert Sawyer and he passed on his estate to his daughter, her marriage to the 8th Earl of Pembroke brought Highclere to the Herbert family. In the 18th century there were a number of improvements and additions made here including the formal gardens and improvements to the landscaped park. It was in the 19th century that the mansion was transformed in to a grand building that stands today.

The State Rooms form the cornerstone of the house and were designed by Thomas Allom in a gothic style famous for their ornate decoration.

The Library is said to resemble a gentleman's club in London characterised with an atmosphere of comfort and masculinity in a grand style. The library came to be used by the 4th Earl as a room where he would relax, talk with friends and important issues of the day in peace.

The State Dining Room was given a redecoration by the 7th Countess of Carnarvon who brought in yellow silks that has helped to show the grand nature of the rooms and opulence. The furniture of the room was on the whole specially designed for the room with the grand dining table as the centrepiece in the room.

The Egyptian Exhibition is one of the highlights at the castle, it is housed in part of the old cellars in Highclere Castle and contains the fascinating private exhibition of a number of historic Egyptian finds that were accumulated over the years from a number of excavations by the 5th Earl and Howard Carter ranging from between 1907 and 1913. There is also a gallery of photographs that shows visitors the discovery back in 1922 of the Tomb of Tutankhamun.

The 5th Earl of Carnarvon was fascinated with Egypt and discoveries with relics of the past and had been advised to spend winters abroad in warm weather due to health problems.

How to Get There

The house can be accessed by both car and public transport:

By Car:

The Castle is located approx 68 miles from central London. From central London take the A4 then the M4 until junction 13, then exit on to the A34 and follow the brown tourist signs up to the castle.

From the M3 motorway exit at junction 8 and take the A303 towards Andover. Drive on the A303 until the junction with the A34, take the A34 towards Newbury, drive along the A34 until you see the brown tourist signs and follow those to the castle.

For those using Satellite Navigation systems the postcode is RG20 9RN.

By Train:

Newbury Station is located approx 5 miles away, there are services to Newbury Station from London Paddington. The journey time is approx one hour. From the station visitors can get a taxi to the castle.

Contact Details

Highclere Castle
Highclere Park
RG20 9RN
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)1635 253210

Visitors Information Line (24 hours): +44 (0)1635 253204

Fax: +44 (0)1635 255315

email: theoffice@highclerecastle.co.uk

Website: Highclere Castle

Facilities & Information

Opening Times:

The Castle, Grounds, Gardens and Egyptian Exhibition are open from Sunday to Thursday from July until start of September.

From 11.00 until 16.30 (last admission at 15.30)

PLEASE NOTE: Closed on Fridays & Saturdays

Further Information:

Admission Prices:

Castle & Egyptian Exhibition:

Adults: £14 approx, Children: £9 approx, Concessions: £12.50 approx, Family Ticket: £40 approx

Castle Only:

Adults: £8 approx, Children: £5 approx, Family Ticket: £22 approx

Grounds & Gardens Only:

Adults: £3 approx, Children: £1 approx


There are refreshments and snacks available including famous cream teas.

There is a gift shop for souvenirs and mementos.


View Larger Map

For Local Search and Directions see: Highclere Castle Map

Tips & Other Considerations

There may be some variations on the opening hours depending on the time of year and other factors. It is recommended visitors double check before going to ensure the attraction you wish to see is open and avoid disappointment.

Remain alert, vigilant and aware of your belongings at all times. Ensure valuables such as your wallet/purse are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to the Castle ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Check for traffic updates before starting your trip.

If you are travelling by public transport, check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time.

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