Life inside the real Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle. Credit: Tony Harris/PA Pics
Highclere Castle. Credit: Tony Harris/PA Pics

Listen to audio extracts from our exclusive chat with Lady Carnarvon, mistress of Highclere Castle – setting of everyone’s favourite period drama, Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed. The real Downton Abbey
Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed. Credit: Adrian Sherratt/Alamy

Relive the moment that we went through the doors of Highclere for an intimate chat with the countess of the castle, Lady Carnarvon, who shared some family secrets and also her own thoughts on the programme that has helped reverse the fortunes of the house: Downton Abbey.

Lady Almina, Highclere Castle
Lady Almina
Lady Catherine, Highclere Castle
Lady Catherine

Highclere has been home to some illustrious figures and fascinating characters, such as Lady Almina, the ambitious heiress who became mistress of Highclere in 1895, and who despite her reputation as a socialite opened the castle up as a hospital during the First World War, receiving the wounded and helping their recovery by employing the finest nurses and surgeons. Or Lady Catherine (subject of Lady Carnarvon’s most recent book), the young, glamorous Anglo-American who married the 6th earl, not to mention her husband’s father, who discovered the Tomb of Tutankhamun...

Listen to the audio clip below to see what Lady Carnarvon thinks about rumours that plot lines and characters in Downton Abbey are inspired by real events in the house’s history…

Listen to all our exclusive audio extracts from our interview with Lady Carnarvon.

Read all about our favourite Downton Abbey locations