A trip to Highclere Castle

A trip to Highclere Castle

1 Jun 2021



The easing of lockdown means that we can at last look forward to resuming our outings programme.  Most of you will have ‘seen’ Highclere Castle by watching Downton Abbey, but a visit reveals so much more.  The present-day castle is a reconstruction, designed by Sir Charles Barry in 1842, of the earlier 17th C structure. The tour extends not only to the more formal ‘upstairs’ rooms but also to the ‘downstairs’ accommodation and facilities.  There are extensive gardens around the castle and a large estate designed by Capability Brown.  So why not enjoy your newly-acquired freedom by spending a day out with Arts Society friends at a world-renowned venue, taken there in a comfortable coach?


Because some of you may still feel a bit cautious about venturing out with others, it is very difficult to speculate how many will want to come – and the cost per person in part depends on that calculation.  In addition, we still cannot be entirely sure what Government rules – if any – will still be in place regarding social distancing, coach capacity and so on. Nevertheless, we have decided to make a charge of £42 per person, which includes the cost of the coach and a gratuity for the driver, and  also the £14 per person charge for the visit to the house and gardens.  There is an extensive Egyptian Exhibition derived from the 5th Earl’s discovery, with Howard Carter, of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922; this costs an additional £7 which, if you wish to see it, you can pay at the reception area on arrival. The castle visit is free-flow, which means that we do not have our own guides but there are room stewards to provide information and answer questions. Also, coffee on arrival and lunch are not included but there is a tea room where you can buy refreshments.


We shall need to operate a ‘first come, first served’ system just in case we are over-subscribed or we have to observe number restrictions.  It is therefore important that you let me know as soon as possible if you want to come. Please use the booking form attached to register  your interest (there is also a copy on the Society’s website), and either email or post it to me (details on the form) by 9 June at the latest. That is because we have to give the numbers to Highclere, and pay for the entrance fees, by 13 June to secure the booking.  Applications will be recorded by date of receipt by me.  Payment is by cheque or BACS (see details on the form).  I will let you know whether your application is successful , also giving details of the plan for the day, as soon as I have received all the forms and the Government’s decision on the next phase of easing lockdown restrictions on 21 June is known. BACS payments will be refunded to you if we cannot accommodate you, and I will hold cheques until I know how many   we can take to Highclere.


Just one further point.  My term of office as Outings Organiser ends at this year’s AGM in October.  If you might be interested in helping the Society by volunteering to take on this role, please do get in touch with me.  It is a really enjoyable task finding venues and planning these great days out. The programme for 2022 has already had to be planned, so there is plenty of time for you to get your feet under the table – and I will happily give you the support you need to take over.  Please do think seriously about this  - outings do not happen spontaneously and need someone at the helm to make sure that they take place safely and provide an enjoyable and fun day out for everyone!


I look forward to hearing from you!


Richard Oswald

Outings Organiser


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