Inside the Real Downton Abbey

With TV’s Downton Abbey filmed at her spectacular Highclere Castle home, Fiona Carnarvon, the eighth countess of Carnarvon, lives in the world’s most recognised stately pile – and shares it with a ghost or two.

When was Highclere built?
The first recorded building was in 749, but my husband’s family acquired the property in 1679. It’s been altered many times, but the last big redesign was in the 19th century. It’s now regarded as one of Britain’s most important Victorian castles.

How big is it?
Somewhere between 200 and 300 rooms – nobody seems to know exactly. There are also 1000 acres [400ha] of parkland and 5000 acres [2000ha] of farm and woodland.


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