Door 2 Tour

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Monday - Friday 9am to 5pm

Highclere Castle – The Real Downton Abbey & Their Neighbours

UK & Ireland
  • Duration: 5 days
  • Board Basis: Half Board
  • Tour Ref: D2TJUS9056

Holiday Summary

  • Travel Type: Coach

5 days

Heritage 2021

PRICE FROM ? £625 per person
Plan My Trip

Itinerary

Description

Many of Britain’s elegant manor houses and country estates are dotted through the rural landscapes of the Home Counties. Like giant treasure chests brimming with fine art collections, these mansions tell the tales of years gone by. We delve into the fascinating society stories of these magnificent places, including Highclere Castle, setting of the much-loved Downton Abbey TV series and feature film. We also experience the fascinating Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village and stunning Loseley Park house and gardens on this glorious getaway.

Itinerary

Excursion One – Highclere Castle & Bombay Sapphire Distillery
Today we visit world-famous Highclere Castle, residence of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and filming location for the much loved Downton Abbey television series and feature film. Just the memories of Maggie Smith playing the role of the Dowager Countess with her dry, withering put-downs may have us reaching for a stiff drink, and we’re in luck! The new Highclere Castle Gin is available in the gift shop. Meticulously developed with botanicals grown on the Highclere estate, the tastes of lavender, lime flower and orange peel form this special beverage, which was created to celebrate the beauty of a bygone era.

From here, we make our way to the nearby Bombay Sapphire Distillery, where we enjoy a hosted tour to find out more about the artistry behind every drop of this iconic drink. Bombay Sapphire's heritage began in 1761 when distiller Thomas Dakin purchased his first site in England and the popularity of a good old G&T continued to surge throughout the British Empire during Queen Victoria's reign. We discover more about the popular brand’s heritage before we enjoy a complimentary drink in the on-site Mill Bar.

Excursion Two – Loseley Park & Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village
The morning is spent at Loseley Park, where we enjoy a guided tour of the house and gardens. This 16th-century manor house is nestled within thousands of acres of rolling countryside, and the colourful patchwork of gardens is divided into stunning areas including a walled garden, a rose garden, a white garden and a vegetable garden. The house itself was built in the reign of Elizabeth I and has been home to the More-Molyneux family for over 500 years. Brimming with art collections and elegant interiors, the Great Hall contains intricate panelling from Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace, a collection of royal and family portraits and even a minstrel’s gallery.


Our next visit takes us to Watts GalleryArtists’ Village, a Grade II listed building intended to provide ‘art for all’ and finished shortly before the Victorian-era artist George Frederic Watts’ death. After a major restoration, the gallery walls are now hung with a large selection of Watts’ prolific work. We also have time to visit the Arts and Crafts chapel designed by Watts’ wife Mary, and the great studio house, Limnerslease. 

Excursion Three – Winkworth Arboretum & Hatchlands Park
We start the day with a lovely morning stroll. Set in 90 acres of parkland in the rolling Surrey Hills, Winkworth Arboretum offers us the perfect chance to stretch our legs. Celebrating the colours of each changing season, it was created in the early 20th century by Dr Wilfred Fox, a local doctor with a passion for preserving the wooded hillside near his home. These days it has accumulated a significant collection of over 1,000 different species of trees and shrubs.

Afterwards, we head to Hatchlands Park, a classic red-brick country house perched on the edge of the Surrey Hills. Built in the 1750s, it’s crammed with fine Adams ceiling decorations and tenant Alec Cobbe’s superb assortment of paintings, sculptures and fine furniture as well as Europe’s largest collection of keyboard instruments. Outside, the informal grounds include a parterre garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll.

Itinerary

Excursion One – Highclere Castle & Bombay Sapphire Distillery
Today we visit world-famous Highclere Castle, residence of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and filming location for the much loved Downton Abbey television series and feature film. Just the memories of Maggie Smith playing the role of the Dowager Countess with her dry, withering put-downs may have us reaching for a stiff drink, and we’re in luck! The new Highclere Castle Gin is available in the gift shop. Meticulously developed with botanicals grown on the Highclere estate, the tastes of lavender, lime flower and orange peel form this special beverage, which was created to celebrate the beauty of a bygone era.

From here, we make our way to the nearby Bombay Sapphire Distillery, where we enjoy a hosted tour to find out more about the artistry behind every drop of this iconic drink. Bombay Sapphire's heritage began in 1761 when distiller Thomas Dakin purchased his first site in England and the popularity of a good old G&T continued to surge throughout the British Empire during Queen Victoria's reign. We discover more about the popular brand’s heritage before we enjoy a complimentary drink in the on-site Mill Bar.

Excursion Two – Loseley Park & Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village
The morning is spent at Loseley Park, where we enjoy a guided tour of the house and gardens. This 16th-century manor house is nestled within thousands of acres of rolling countryside, and the colourful patchwork of gardens is divided into stunning areas including a walled garden, a rose garden, a white garden and a vegetable garden. The house itself was built in the reign of Elizabeth I and has been home to the More-Molyneux family for over 500 years. Brimming with art collections and elegant interiors, the Great Hall contains intricate panelling from Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace, a collection of royal and family portraits and even a minstrel’s gallery.


Our next visit takes us to Watts GalleryArtists’ Village, a Grade II listed building intended to provide ‘art for all’ and finished shortly before the Victorian-era artist George Frederic Watts’ death. After a major restoration, the gallery walls are now hung with a large selection of Watts’ prolific work. We also have time to visit the Arts and Crafts chapel designed by Watts’ wife Mary, and the great studio house, Limnerslease. 

Excursion Three – Winkworth Arboretum & Hatchlands Park
We start the day with a lovely morning stroll. Set in 90 acres of parkland in the rolling Surrey Hills, Winkworth Arboretum offers us the perfect chance to stretch our legs. Celebrating the colours of each changing season, it was created in the early 20th century by Dr Wilfred Fox, a local doctor with a passion for preserving the wooded hillside near his home. These days it has accumulated a significant collection of over 1,000 different species of trees and shrubs.

Afterwards, we head to Hatchlands Park, a classic red-brick country house perched on the edge of the Surrey Hills. Built in the 1750s, it’s crammed with fine Adams ceiling decorations and tenant Alec Cobbe’s superb assortment of paintings, sculptures and fine furniture as well as Europe’s largest collection of keyboard instruments. Outside, the informal grounds include a parterre garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll.

Self Drive Bullets

  • 4 nights at the 4-star Hampshire Court Hotel, Basingstoke with dinner & breakfast
  • Porterage
  • Welcome drink
  • After dinner tea and coffee at the hotel
  • Coach transfers to and from your excursions
  • Visits to Highclere Castle, Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Loseley Park, Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, Winkworth Arboretum & Hatchlands Park
  • Guided tours of Bombay Sapphire Distillery & Loseley Park
  • Themed evening talk by a guest speaker
  • Accompanied by a knowledgeable Tour Manager throughout

Coach Bullets

  • Return coach travel
  • 4 nights at the 4-star Hampshire Court Hotel, Basingstoke with dinner & breakfast
  • Porterage
  • Welcome drink
  • After dinner tea and coffee at the hotel
  • Coach transfers to and from your excursions
  • Visits to Highclere Castle, Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Loseley Park, Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, Winkworth Arboretum & Hatchlands Park
  • Guided tours of Bombay Sapphire Distillery & Loseley Park
  • Themed evening talk by a guest speaker
  • Accompanied by a knowledgeable Tour Manager throughout

Search Bullets

  • 4 nights at the 4-star Hampshire Court Hotel, Basingstoke with dinner & breakfast
  • Coach transfers to and from your excursions
  • Visits to Highclere Castle, Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Loseley Park, Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, Winkworth Arboretum & Hatchlands Park
  • Guided tours of Bombay Sapphire Distillery & Loseley Park
  • Themed evening talk by a guest speaker
  • Accompanied by a knowledgeable Tour Manager throughout

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Accommodation

4-star Hampshire Court Hotel

Situated on the edge of Basingstoke, the 4-star Hampshire Court Hoteloffers modern, thoughtfully-designed bedrooms, a restaurant, brasserie bar, outdoor courtyard area and a health & leisure club with two indoor pools.

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