Filming at the castle
In many households throughout the county, Christmas is synonymous with Downton Abbey – indeed, fans were left speechless by the death of Matthew Crawley in the Christmas Special in 2012, then fast-forward a few years to 2015, and the grand finale of the show was watched by almost 11 million people in the UK on Christmas Day.
This Christmas, we can rest easy that we won’t have long to wait for another dose of the action. Over the past weeks, filming has been underway for the Downton movie, and Highclere Castle in Berkshire is once more the location of the on-screen family home.
The film’s producer, Gareth Neame, has said: “When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie.”
Thankfully, the stellar cast from the television series has been reunited to star in the movie, due to be released in the UK on 13 September 2019, from the upstairs characters such as Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern and Michelle Dockery, as well as Jim Carter and Phyllis Logan from below stairs, plus there are new cast members Imelda Staunton and Geraldine James.
But it is the setting and home of the Crawleys that plays as big a role as any. The Countess of Carnarvon, the real-life countess of the castle, has said: “We are delighted to welcome Downton back to Highclere again. Julian and the wonderful cast and crew of Downton were so much a part of our lives and it is special to develop the next role with them.”
If you’d like to see Highclere
Castle in all its finery this Christmas, the Carnarvons are opening their home again for Songs for Peace, a fundraising event on 9 December for Doctors without Borders.
Grab a hot drink and a croissant in the tearoom before gathering in the courtyard for carols at 11am, then enjoy a castle and exhibition tour, and don’t miss the stunning festive decorations; a Christmas special in itself. highclerecastle.co.uk,
MAKE A WEEKEND OF IT
Stay at the refurbished Carnarvon Arms – a modern day country inn next door to the castle. Their festive menu includes turkey with all the trimmings; pressed pork belly with sprouts, chestnuts and cider gravy; or try the delicious roasted winter vegetable and feta strudel. thecarnarvonarmshotel.com, 01635 278 222
Lady Mary and son