July 25, 2019
Welcome to the second installment of the London Chronicles! I started the London Chronicles to share some of my favorite experiences from our time abroad last year with you! If you missed my first post you can check it out here. It’s the one where I saw the ENTIRE Royal family…including my girl, Kate, and the new American newlywed, Meghan.
For today’s post, I’m going to share about the time I got to visit THE Downton Abbey (aka: Highclere Castle). My sweet friend, Michelle, surprised me with tickets for my birthday and it was easily one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever received!
Highclere Castle is about an hour and twenty minute drive from central London. To this day it is still a working HOME. Yep, someone actually lives there! Clint and I actually visited several castles in England and Scotland and often times they are still occupied. Typically, these “homes” are passed down to family through the years and they have very detailed records of their bloodline dating hundreds of years! The homes are also often kept, as much as possible, in their original condition…much of the furniture and decor usually hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. It’s surreal to be touring these old, historical castles and occasionally see a TV in the corner of a room and recent photographs of the current homeowner’s family. Can you imagine growing up in an ancient castle? How fun is that?!
You’ll also notice that the grass is super dead in these photos. The UK is known for it’s beautiful, green countryside so I was sad that we didn’t get to see Highclere with the lush greenery. This was due to a “heatwave” we had last year reaching temps typically never higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit 😉 As lifelong Texans, we found that pretty amusing and enjoyed our cooler-than-Texas summer. Sleeping without air conditioning was no joke though! Typically, AC isn’t needed over there so most homes, including our flat, didn’t have it. I think by the time summer rolled around we had purchased three fans and slept with all of them simultaneously! If I remember correctly, we also went 50+ days last summer without rain which is extremely unusual for England and also played a big factor in the brown grass.
I was so thankful we got to visit Highclere when we did because shortly after our visit they closed the home to film the upcoming Downton Abbey movie!
There’s only been a few times in my life where I got to finally see something with my own eyes and couldn’t believe I was actually there. I remember seeing the Colosseum in Rome for the first time and how it took my breath away. I kept saying to myself all day that day…”I’m in Rome. ROME!” I had the same experience when I went to Paris for the first time. Every time I saw the Eiffel Tower unexpectedly from a random street corner my heart felt like it might burst from joy. It might sound silly but I experienced that same thing when we visited Highclere. I know that Highclere can’t really compare to the popularity or historical importance of the Colosseum or the Eiffel Tower but I NEVER in my wildest dreams thought I would ever get to visit the “Downtown Abbey” home.
I think one of my favorite blessings of getting to live in London was all of the “extra” things we got to experience that we never would have if we had only ever just visited London.
When God gives you the little extra cherries on top in life, you can’t help but feel so loved.
Pictures weren’t allowed inside so enjoy this mix of iPhone and DSLR photos from the grounds of Highclere Castle!
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