Historic Alnwick Castle and Gardens
It was a gorgeous, sunny September day when we visited Alnick Castle and gardens. Some might say that we were lucky. Yes, we were. But not because of the fine weather, but because the location is such a gem to visit.
Home of the Dukes of Northumberland since 1309 (as well as home to the current Duke and Duchess and their family), Alnwick Castle (pronounced 'ah-NICK') is an imposing (some describe it as 'forboding') and impressive as you approach it, and is one of the finest medieval castles in England. Located above the city of Alnwick, the castle provided important border defence for centures (it is believed that the Romans also had a settlement here) and now provides the visitor with an idlyllic, romantic venue full of historical and visual interest.
Several rooms are on view inside the castle, featuring fabulous works of art, fine period design and other displays that tell stories about the interests of the Dukes of Northumberland through the ages. The stone towers in the inner and outer bailey are home to fascinating and informative museums. When we visited, a live display of falconry and other birds (such as owls, which we found out from the trainer and particularly dim!). There are always activities for children and families (the castle served as the location of the quidditch match in the first Harry Potter film), making it a truly special place to visit for people of all ages. Check the website for current special events.
A short walk from the castle is the Alnwick Gardens. Jane Percy, the current duchess, began renovating the derelict gardens in 1997. In my opinion, the woman is a genius. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, with fabulous fountains, stunning architecture and, of course, a variety of plants of all kinds. The magnificent rose garden and the poison garden are of particular interest, as is the fascinating cascading fountain. Activities for children ('Know and Grow') and the opportunity to purchase many of the plants on display (sadly, those of us in N. America can only dream of doing this...) are just two of countless reasons to visit this magical place.
Both sites feature a good selection of places to eat and cottages are available to rent at the castle.
Please check the website for opening times and prices during your planned visit.
There is much more to say about Alnwick Castle and Gardens than can possibly fit here. It's a magical adventure that should not be missed!
NE66 1NQ England
Tel: 01665 510777
24 Hour Information: 01665 511100
Alnwick is approximately 45 mintues from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne; off the A1. Castle and Gardens are 309 miles north of London. Trains from London leave from King's Cross. There are so many to choose from...however, I'll have to choose the fun and educational hawking demonstration that also included other birds of prey, including owls. It was partially interactive, which meant we could approach and touch some of the birds (mostly the owls).