“The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end that’s all there is.” – Carson, Downton Abbey
Postcards from Jiles
Sunday, 26 May 2019
Golly! Today was by far the most brilliant touristy day I’ve ever experienced. It was actually one of the best days of my life. I can’t believe how overwhelmed with emotion I was to visit the location of a show we so cherish and is so beloved around the world. Miles said it was like being part of this brilliant show but with modern dress.
Downton Abbey was the first show we binged when Miles retired — sometimes until 5 in the morning on our boat at the foot of King Street! Highclere Castle is the setting of the fictitious Downton Abbey. And it was really special and symbolic to visit the estate on our first major vacation in retirement.
Our day of touring had an impressive itinerary. Long before we were in London, Miles made arrangements for us to visit Highclere through Wilson’s of London Exclusive Tours. And, golly, am I glad he did! Miles worked with Oliver Wilson and the experience was amazing! They’ve been around for 50 years and specialize in VIP tours of London, Great Britain, and Paris. First class — all the way!
At 9 o’clock this morning our driver and fellow Downtonite (that’s the word I’ve just made-up for Downtown Abbey fans — you’ll see it a lot in future weeks with upcoming articles), Roy, picked us up in a Mercedes sedan. He drove us first to the Swan Inn — that’s where Lady Mary and Lady Edith rescued Lady Syble from eloping with Branson. We had a bit of a bathroom break and an instagram session.
After the Swan Inn, Roy then took us to a few more locations then we were off to the Village of Bampton — or as Downtonite’s would know it, the Village of Downton.
We saw sites there so familiar from the show. Had our necessary photoshoot courtesy of our photographer, Roy! lol. And went to their library for a bit of souvenir shopping (helpful hint: helpful hint bring cash incase the credit card machine is down).
After Bampton, Roy took us to the Carnarvon Arms for lunch. While driving he suggested we get roasts because it was Sunday. Roy said to get roasts. So we got roasts. So delicious!
After luncheon (see how I said luncheon versus lunch because that’s what they say on Downton — lol) we were just five minutes away from the castle. Just as we were turning the corner to have a view of the house Roy turned on the theme song.
Down down down down down down down dooowwwnnn ring ring ring ring ring ring ring ring. Tears filled my eyes. I really don’t mean to sound this dramatic, but it was such a special moment. Magical!
The house is absolutely majestic yet welcoming. The inside was smaller and more intimate then I imagined. Cozy. Homey. They really do some tricky filming to make spaces appear bigger. “Cheats”, as Roy calls them.
Honestly, I cannot do justice to the totality of this day in a postcard. The emotions experienced today were just lovely. We’ve got so much more to say about Highclere, the filming, the entertaining, the food. Expect a few posts on our Downton Day in the U.K. when we get back across the pond.
Golly, what a great day playing tourist. We had a magnificent time! Just brilliant!
Pip Pip. Cheerio!
xxx – Jenjen & Miles
p.p.s. “Pip pip” is a British colloquialism for goodbye originating in the early 20th century and mimicking the double honk you’d here on a motorcar? Wonder if Branson knows that? Or Roy?
p.p.s. If you’re not already, be sure to follow our adventures on Instagram!