August 24, 2018
Even if you have never been to Northumberland before, it’s likely that you have heard of or seen the iconic Alnwick castle on the big or small screen, probably without even knowing it! But its attraction is so much more than just that of a film location, this week, we take some time to explore Northumberland’s ancient iconic landmark and find out about some of the things to do and enjoy there on your next trip.
Situated in the medieval market town of Alnwick, on the south bank of the river Aln, the castle first began as a simple Norman stronghold, as far back as 1096AD and has been added to and changed ever since. On your visit, you’ll first be struck by the size and splendour of the castle’s aspect, and the sheer scale of the fortress and grounds. The Artisan’s Courtyard lets you step straight on to 14th Century Medieval life, with living exhibitions – actors and performers, costumes and a chance to try medieval crafts and traditional games. There’s even the Dragon’s Quest for the bravest of youngsters!
The Castle also boasts an impressive array of historical artefacts in three museums, focussing on Alnwick’s military history and the lives of the soldiers who lived and died in the castle and surrounding areas, defending their country, from mediaeval times right up to the 20th Century.
The State Rooms truly offer visitors of all ages a chance to experience the opulent splendour of the castle’s interiors; its gilded ceilings, sumptuous furniture and elegant finery were added during a grand renovation in the 19th century. The library which holds nearly 15000 books should not be missed and the art-lovers will be delighted by the huge collection of paintings and ceramics.
Alnwick has featured in many films and television series, the most famous as Hogwarts Castle in the first two Harry Potter movies. Film buffs will recognise the Outer Bailey as the setting where Harry and his housemates took their first broomstick flying lesson, while it was the Inner Bailey into which Ron and Harry crashed their flying car! And even better – participate in the magic by taking a 25 minute Broomstick Flying lesson with Alnwick’s flying professors! Alnwick also featured in BBCs internationally loved Downton Abbey, and many more, while both Kevin Costner and Russel Crowe have played Robin Hood within its grounds!
Alnwick Castle is easy to get to, less than a mile off the A1 and well signposted. You can park just a short walk away for only £3 for the whole day, or if you’re lucky you might find a spot in the free on street parking not far from the entrance. There are great links from public transport too and discounts for car-free visitors. Save 10% on tickets by booking online over 24hours ahead at https://www.alnwickcastle.com/opening-times-and-ticket-prices and the best thing is, that you pay once and your ticket becomes a pass for unlimited visits for a year!