Newbury is always reinventing itself. From ancient wool hub to grain-trading hotbed, the town has morphed its way through the centuries – and it’s still doing it in 2020. Between grand houses and endless listed buildings, now you’ll find up-and-coming indie restaurants, a market that champions emerging designer-makers and buzzy pubs serving a young crowd. And then there’s the star attraction for fans of a certain period drama: a nineteenth-century country house with a thoroughly modern-day following.
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A perfect day in Newbury
Highclere Castle is just a 15-minute drive from the centre of town. Whether or not you’ve binge-watched ‘Downton Abbey’, this extravagant country house – home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon – is well worth a nosy. Visit in winter to swerve the crowds of megafans on a special guided tour.
There’s no actual vineyard at this glossy hotel. Instead, everything, from the decor to the spa treatments, revolves around the contents of its impressive 30,000-bottle wine cellar. Relax with a red-grape body massage, sit down to a boozy, seven-course tasting menu with paired wines, then slink back to your vino-tinted room – some are decked out in deep burgundy tones, others are champagne-hued. We’ll pray to the god of wine that you don’t have to go to work the next day. From £215 a night.