Last Sunday was the first time I got to spend Mothering Sunday with my mum in 28 years.  Isn’t it crazy?

To make it special I had booked a tour of Highclere Castle in Berkshire – the home of ‘Downton Abbey – for the two of us; mom is a huge Downton fan, she watches every episode in Italian first and then in English to learn the language.  Move over Maggie Smith…

You’re not allowed to take photos inside the home but let me tell you… if you get the chance to visit (and you need to book well in advance) … do go.  It’s absolutely fabulous, the guides are knowledgeable and the house full of gorgeous furniture and decor.

Fun fact: Downton Abbey was not the first show to be filmed here, others include: “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves”, “Eyes Wide Shut”, “The Secret Garden”, “Jeeves and Wooster” and parts of “Inspector Morse”.

The parking is at the end of a beautiful meandering drive and when you finally see the house it’s like WOW!  Sadly there was no Mr Carson welcoming by the door…


After the interior tour we were free to wonder in the magnificent garden designed by Capability Brown (the famous landscape architect, love his ‘name’… his real name was actually Lancelot which is just as extraordinary, don’t you think?).  Before he got the job the garden was in a French style with grids of flower beds and no trees,  he got rid of all that and returned it to an almost natural English landscape except it was one that had been carefully planned.  Clever man, it’s beautiful.

The house too got this final look in the 1840s, before that went through a lot of transformations…


and you can see on the back it’s still very much like an Elizabethan manor.  The Bath stone cladding and the tower were very  much a later addition.


Such a ‘familiar’ view… don’t you think?


After we popped in the Yew Tree for a delicious lunch.


Such a lovely day, which was made even more special by the thoughtful cards and gifts from my boys…


Apparently I’m ‘soupa’.  Are you?  And No 3 even wrote a poem for me:

“Roses are red, violets are blue, I love all your food but especially your stew”



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